Geographical Nature Studies ~ Free eBook

There are several different facets to the study of geography. There are maps and globes, landforms and environments, and people and cultures. Geographical Nature Studies by Frank Owen Payne takes the approach of combining nature study with home (or observational) geography.

Written in the late 1800s, this free eBook is aimed at the first three years of instruction with the intention of pointing out relationships between things encountered in the student’s environment:

The various lessons are adapted to the comprehension of the youngest pupils, and are calculated not only to cultivate habits of accurate observation, but to stimulate a desire for more knowledge and broader views of the world about us. They lead directly up to the point where the more formal study of geography from a text-book begins. The form and construction of these lessons is such that they may be used both as reading exercises and also for topical recitations.

With this in mind the student learns the connection between the sheep in the pasture and wool clothing, or grains of wheat and bread, or the silkworm and silk clothing.

At the same time, the appropriate terms are used for geographical features by observing, for example:

  • The slope of a valley.
  • Plants and the temperature of air at different times of day.
  • Months, seasons, and flowers.
  • The types of plants that grow in valleys versus those that grow in bogs.
  • Where various types of wildlife prefer to live and why.
  • The work that a stream does.
  • The voyage of a pebble.

And so the list goes on in a very interesting way. Illustrations are included. Poems are used to illustrate various concepts.

A highlight are the questions at the end of each chapter. In some cases the student is asked to “tell the story in his own words.” Ah! Narration baked in.

In the preface to Home Geography, C. C. Long, states:

Geography may be divided into the geography of the home and the geography of the world at large. A knowledge of the home must be obtained by direct observation; of the rest of the world, through the imagination assisted by information. Ideas acquired by direct observation form a basis for imagining those things which are distant and unknown.

The first work, then, in geographical instruction, is to study that small part of the earth’s surface lying just at our doors. All around are illustrations of lake and river, upland and lowland, slope and valley. These forms must be actually observed by the pupil, mental pictures obtained, in order that he may be enabled to build up in his mind other mental pictures of similar unseen forms. The hill that he climbs each day may, by an appeal to his imagination, represent to him the lofty Andes or the Alps. From the meadow, or the bit of level land near the door, may be developed a notion of plain and prairie. The little stream that flows past the schoolhouse door, or even one formed by the sudden shower, may speak to him of the Mississippi, the Amazon, or the Rhine. Similarly, the idea of sea or ocean may be deduced from that of pond or lake. Thus, after the pupil has acquired elementary ideas by actual perception, the imagination can use them in constructing, on a larger scale, mental pictures of similar objects outside the bounds of his own experience and observation.

Geographical Nature Studies accomplishes this goal very well. And it’s free!

Free eBook

Additional Resources
6 Ways to Incorporate Geography

6 Ways to Incorporate Geography
Tips and resources for introducing a topic when it is more relevant.

The Reading List: Geography
Home Geography by Long mentioned above is one selection.

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