The Formation Process of Nature-Study in U.S. and Its Implication for Science Education

미국 Nature-Study 형성 과정과 과학교육에의 시사점

  • Received : 2013.11.13
  • Accepted : 2013.12.18
  • Published : 2014.02.20


This study purposes to historical approach the formation process of Nature-Study, and to re-evaluate its definition and direction at present. The idea of Nature-Study originated from Campanella, Ratke and Comenius, who emphasized real things. The idea developed through Object Lessons of Sheldon, the Natural History of Agassiz, and Progressivism of Parker. They acted as the main contributors who evolved the idea of Nature-Study and its core fields that involve: 'studying with real things' in Object Lessons which brought the methodical aspects to the idea, 'studying with nature' from Natural History that enhanced the content characteristics and 'learner-centered education' from Progressivism, which impacted the philosophical aspects. Straight (a fellow student of Agassiz) was a teacher for Sheldon Oswego normal school and Parker's Cook County normal school, who synthesized the fields together and paved the way for the formation of Nature-Study. Jackman of Cook Country normal school established Nature-Study as a school curriculum and Bailey and Comstock of Cornell University formed the American Nature-Study Society and as a result, Nature-Study started to gain popularity. However, many educators increasingly rejected Nature-Study as a unifying topic, and preferred the use of textbooks rather than firsthand experiences. This hindered the nature-study movement and it declined since the 1920s. But today, the Nature-study idea can play a huge role in developing science education, inclusive education centered nature, self-initiated retrieval, sympathy with nature and character building of students.


Nature-Study;Object Lessons;Natural History;Progressivism;Inclusive education


  1. Chung, B. H. Korea Assoc. Sci. Educ. 1994, 14(3), 379-392.
  2. Seoul National University Education Research Institute. Dictionary of Pedagogical Terms; Haoudongseul: Chun cheon, 1995.
  3. Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2009-41. Elementary School Curriculum Commentary; Daehan Textbook Publishing: Seoul, 2009.
  4. Lorsbach, A.; Jinks, J. The Journal of Natural History Education and Experience 2013, 7, 7-15.
  5. Jung, S. M. The Korean Society for History of Education. 1981, 3, 11-31.
  6. Jackman, W. S. Nature Study for the Common Schools; H. Holt & Co.: New York, 1891.
  7. Armitage, K. C. The Nature Study Movement: The Forgotten Popularizer of America's Conservation Ethic; University Press of Kansas: Lawrence, 2009.
  8. Azelvandre, J. P. Forging the Bonds of Sympathy: Spirituality, Individualism and Empiricism in the Ecological Thought of Liberty Hyde Bailey and Its Implications for Environmental Education. Ph. D. Dissertation, New York University, New York, 2001.
  9. Doris, E. E. The Practice of Nature-Study: What Reformers Imagined and What Teachers Did. Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, 2002.
  10. Eick, C. J. Journal of Science Teacher Education 2012, 23(7), 789-803.
  11. Knapp, C. E.; Woodhouse, J. L. Thresholds in Education, 2006, 32(3), 20-25.
  12. Kohlstedt, S. G. Teaching Children Science: Hands-on Nature Study in North America, 1890-1930; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2010.
  13. McComas, W. F. Science Teacher, 2008, 75(2), 24-28.
  14. Strauch-Nelson, W. Art Education 2012, 65(3), 33-38.
  15. Tolley, K. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. 1994, 12-29.
  16. Bailey, L. H. The Nature-Study Idea-An Interpretation of the New School Movement To Put the Child in Sympathy with Nature, 4th ed., Revised; The Macmillan Company: New York, 1920.
  17. Chung, B. H. National Science Foundation 2004, 1-31.
  18. Lim, M. B. Campanella's Utopia Ideology; Samsung Public: Seoul, 1987.
  19. Oh, T. J. The Korean Society For History of Education 1996, 18, 195-212.
  20. Boyd. W. The History of Western Education, 7th and Englarged ed.; Lee, H. W.; et al., Translator; Kyoyookbook: Kyounggi, 2008.
  21. Kim, J. H. The Life And Idea of Pestalozzi; Bakyoung Co.: Seoul, 2008.
  22. Krusi, H. Pestalozzi: His Life, Work, and Influence; Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co.: Cincinnati, New York, 1875.
  23. Gladstone, J. H. Teachers Manuals no. 6-object Teaching; E. L. Kellogg & Co.: New York and Chicago, 1888.
  24. Monroe, W. S. History of the Pestalozzian Movement in the United States; C. W. Bardeen: Syracuse, 1907.
  25. Meyer, A. E. The Development of Education in the Twentieth Century; Choi, J. W., Translator; Inmun Public Co.: Daegu, 1984.
  26. Sheldon, E. A. Autobiography of Edward Austin Sheldon; Ives-Butler: New York, 1911.
  27. Calkins, N. A. Primary Object Lessons, 40th ed.; American Book Company: New York, 1898.
  28. Jordan, D. S. The Days of a Man; World Book Co.: New York, 1922.
  29. Comstock, A. B. Handbook of Nature-Study; Comstock Publishing Company: Ithaca, 1912.
  30. Kohlstedt, S. G. Isis 2005, 96(3), 324-352.
  31. Cermin, L. A. The Transformation of The School: Progressivism in American Education, 1876-1957; Vintage Books: New York, 1964.
  32. Patridge, L. E. The Quincy Methods Illustrated Pen Photographs from the Quincy Schools; E. L. Kellogg and Co.: New York, 1885.
  33. Parker, F. W. The Elementary School Teacher and Course of Study 1902, 2, 752-780.
  34. Bright, O. T. The Elementary School Teacher 1907, 7(8), 433-438.
  35. Jackman, W. S. Number Work in Nature Study, Part 1; Press of La Monte-O'Donnell Co.: Chicago, 1893.
  36. Jackman, W. S. Field Work in Nature Study: A Hand-Book for Teachers and Pupils; Published by the author: Chicago,1894.
  37. Jackman, W. S. Nature Study for Grammar Grades; A Manual for Teachers and Pupils below the High School in the Study of Nature; The Macmillan Company: New York and London, 1899.
  38. Tufts, J. H. The Elementary School Teacher 1907, 7, 443-446.
  39. Bailey, L. H. Cornell Nature-Study Bulletin 1899, 1, 3-4.
  40. Bailey, L. H. The Nature-Study Idea: Being an Interpretation of the New School Movement To Put the Child in Sympathy with Nature; Doubleday, Page & Company: New York, 1903.
  41. Bigelow, M. A. Science, New Series 1908, 27(689), 433-434.
  42. Bigelow, E. F. The Spirit of Nature Study: A Book of Social Suggestion and Sympathy for All Who Love or Teach Nature; A. S. Barnes & Company: New York, 1907.
  43. The Minister of Education, Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study; The Ryerson Press: Toronto, 1915.
  44. Wylie, C. D. Archives of Natural History, 2012, 39(1), 59-76.
  45. Boyden, A. C. Nature Study By Months: For Elementary Grades; New England Publishing Co.: Boston and Chicago,1898.
  46. Jordan, D. S. Science 1896, 4(84), 149-156.

Cited by

  1. A Case Study on Application of the NABI Program to Realize the 'Practice Centered Mechanism of Manifesting Character' vol.36, pp.6, 2016,
  2. Development and Application of NABI(NAture-study Based Ideas) Program for 'Science Education through Nature' vol.35, pp.6, 2015,
  3. A Study on Educational Methods of Nature-Study for Science Education through Nature vol.59, pp.1, 2015,
  4. Directions for Character Education in Science Education and a Theoretical Approach of Nature-Study in Terms of Character Education vol.36, pp.4, 2016,


Supported by : 한국연구재단