I love reading old nature study books on Google Books. They are so different than the nature books we read today and most of what I read is aimed at teachers so the slant is a little different as well. Here is a quote I just knew would make the blog at some point and today is the day.
"But true science work does not stop with mere seeing, hearing, or feeling; it not only furnishes a mental picture as a basis for reasoning, but it includes an interpretation of what has been received through the senses. A child and a goat may see the same thing, with the advantage of vision on the side of the goat; but the latter has no power to interpret what he sees, and is, therefore, essentially non-scientific."Here are the hints given in this book on how to make true observations happen in nature study (or really any science-related subject).
Nature Study for the Common Schools, 1894
Nature Study and Direct Observation
1. Have a reason clearly in mind for giving every lesson: How does this lesson (or challenge or activity) relate to what the child already knows? Strive for relationships.
2. Have a reason clearly in mind for the way in which the lesson is presented: How does this lesson allow for personal learning styles? Can you present the lesson (or challenge) in a way that grabs the attention of the child and their way of thinking?
3. Plan only for such work as the pupils can do for themselves, or, at least, take the leading part in doing: Don't lecture with many words, don't do the narrating, let the child lead the challenge.
4. Place the child directly in contact with nature under normal conditions: This is the ideal way for children to learn about nature so seek to make opportunities for this to happen as much as possible.
5. Begin with something which is really a part of the pupil's experience: Let them narrate back what they discover without telling them too much. Look back through past nature journal entries or photos to remind the child of what you have already learned.
6. Accept, as good, only such results as indicate honesty of purpose and growth of mind: Allow for the child to experience and then relate exactly what they learned from any activity. Do not require a "right" answer.
7. Be faithful, and bide your time: Sometimes children are not interested in the topic under study, but over time they may develop an interest if you allow for multiple exposures.
You may also be interested in reading another entry:
Taking Time to Notice