Seeing Things for Themselves: Jacqueline Palmer, Natural History Educator 1948-1960

Dawn L. SandersDownload PDF | Volume 10, 2016

This paper draws attention to the work of the natural history educator Jacqueline Palmer from the years 1948 to 1960. Palmer considered the whole aim of museum collections to be the encouragement of people “to go out and see things for themselves,” thus connecting dead specimens with living organisms. The overall intention of this article is to relate elements of her professional story to those of modern natural history educators. [full article]

What Early 20th Century Nature Study Can Teach Us

Anthony Lorsbach and Jerry JinksDownload PDF | Volume 7, 2013

Students are becoming more and more disconnected from nature, a phenomenon labeled “nature-deficit disorder” or “ecophobia.” Some relate the problem to overly conceptual science curricula and argue for science programs to be based, in part, upon local natural history. Such a curriculum, called nature study, was developed at the beginning of the 20th century for similar reasons. Nature study developed in response to the industrialization of American society and became the foundation for science teaching in elementary schools. Nature study proponents believed nature could be studied locally to discover scientific truths, develop within children affection for nature, bring joy to children growing up in an industrialized world, and develop a sense of conservation. Early 20th century nature study educators provide arguments for the study of natural history that sound remarkably contemporary and provide pedagogical practices that can be scrutinized and adapted to the needs of today’s classrooms. [full article]

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