National Geographic : 1894 Jan 31
Study of Plants. 139 pands easily, as does its physical home when given opportunity to do so naturally. To learn to see, the child must make pur posive efforts in looking. He must be made to look for the purpose of discovering characteristics. Characteristics are not impressed easily. The young mind does not learn to see until it has looked many times and looked discriminatingly. Phenomena well adapted to the beginning of this kind of training are found in plants and animals. Fortunately these are geographic phenomena, a knowledge of which will be valuable in the future prosecution of geographic knowledge. A study of the forms of leaves, the colors of leaves, the parts of leaves, the growth of leaves, involving comparisons and leading to con clusions, will strengthen the mind systematically and develop its power to see. A study of buds, their forms, their positions and their development, will train the mind systematically, but on a slightly different line from that resulting from the study of leaves. There is in the study of buds a beginning of the study of cause and effect, but so simple, so easily understood, that the most childlike mind, if properly directed, can master it. Correspondingly it may be said of other parts of the study of plants; then may it be said of plants in their entirety. By simple steps, each of which is taken many times, the child advances to the knowledge of the forms of plant life and many of the sequen tial changes of the same. The child's mind during this study is strengthened, his breadth of seeing and thinking is enlarged, for it has involved his knowledge of the phenomena of cold and warm weather, of wet and dry weather, of sunshine and cloud, of springtime and summer, of fall and winter; and his experi ences, because of other relations of life than those of his school, have been made to form a part of his knowledge as one compact interrelated entirety, and to do office in that training which gives him power to see and strength to discover cause and effect. The work here indicated is possible in the school-room; fortu nately also it is the most profitable work that can be done for the accomplishment of those mechanical results which the school is expected to secure. In a corresponding way the study of ani mals is equally profitable. It is a little more difficult because the phenomena are not so easily secured for study, a little more difficult again because the phenomena are not so easily under stood as those of plants. The child has been prepared for this more difficult work, however, by his study of plants.
1894 Feb 14
1893 Jul 10