Nature study continues throughout all the school years for Mason’s students, and indeed, it should continue beyond. As adults we should still be taking an interested, curious notice of the natural world around us.
For a good idea of what sorts of things older students can do for nature study, you should visit this blog.
The post linked above contains ‘a list of Special Studies from the chapters in Furneaux’s “A Nature Study Guide” which CM mentions as a reference book for outdoor work.’ You want to read the whole thing, but here are just a few examples:
Gradual transition of bud-scales into leaves.
Simple experiments to demonstrate the manner in which the sap flows.
Germination of various seeds under different conditions as to moisture, food, heat and light. Records kept Plants reared from seeds, in a good soil, for continuous observation. Records of life-history.
The growth of bulbs and corms.
The growth of potato plants from the tubers under varying conditions. Make records.
Spring flowers (chiefly outdoor studies):
Habitats and habits.
Cultivation of flowers in the school garden.
Rearing of caterpillars or other insect grubs for the study of their metamorphoses.
Observations of aquatic creatures in the school aquarium:
Development of frogs’ eggs.
Various aquatic larvae.
Water snails. Small fishes.
Marine life as seen in the rock-pools.
Studies of Earth, Air and Sky.
Daily path of the sun: rising, setting, altitude at mid-day.
Lengthening day and increasing warmth.
Spring winds and showers. Droughts and dust.
Planets visible at the time. Appearances and movements.
Stars. Their apparent motions. Conspicuous constellations.
The flowers and weeds of the garden:
The struggle for existence.
How plants are protected – thorns, spines, prickles, etc.
Forms and arrangement of leaves. Leaf mosaics. Functions of leaves.
Storage of food in rootstocks, tubers, bulbs, etc.
Calendar of summer flowers. Records of observations on the habitats, habits, flowering, fruiting, etc….
The jetsam of the seashore.
Various human activities in town and country.
Weather charts: how made, and their use.
The rocks and soils of the neighbourhood:
Building and paving stones. Their properties.
Other mineral products of the neighbourhood.
Disposition of rock-beds in the locality.
The forces moulding the land:
Streams and their action.
Action of the sea on the land.
The atmosphere as a denuding agent.
Clay, chalk, coral, and other interesting rock-formations.
The magnetic compass: its principle and use:
How to find the geographical North by means of the compass, the pole star, and the sun.
The northern constellations of stars always visible:
Their apparent daily motion.
The Milky Way. The universe.
So they are getting more involved in record keeping, studying habitats, ecosystems, biomes, noting more in depth observations of seasonal changes. Their studies include biology, botany, earth sciences, astronomy, and more.
As a help in school discipline (from Comstock)
The Value of I Do Not Know (from Comstock)
Nature study is first hand observation, not watching a movie.=)