Course: Nature Observations and Experiments with Jean-Henri Fabre
Not just observation, but interference with nature, in order to learn
The habit of wonder is so important for the formation of the young (and older!) mind. Wonder is a desire to know the ‘why’ of things in nature – especially about things that seem contradictory or even the opposite of what we would expect. Practicing that habit of wonder should begin with things around us - in the home, in the yard, in the field. In the words of a famous naturalist, "We should know first and best the things closest to us." That is, there is a real order in science. For example, one should not skip the study of plants, animals, and even minerals around him, and proceed directly to astronomy.
This course is a very good introduction for the high school student's beginning of science of things around him - namely, insects. Why start with insects? After all, the scientific world is immense and reality is complex. Well, for one, insects are plentiful, and fairly easy and safe to study. We also have the wonderful works of Henri Fabre, the French entymologist (a scientist who studies insects). He was not only a master of careful scientific approach and study, but was also clearly a believer in design in nature. Fabre studied insects directly in their environment, taking careful note of their living powers and instincts. He severely chastises those naturalists who simply capture and take the insects to the laboratory to dissect them, limiting their studies to material (physical) causes. Fabre's sense of wonder goes so much deeper than theirs. He wanted to know the insect's powers, its instincts, along with its amazing capabilities and almost comical limits.
In this course, besides following Fabre's own very interesting studies, the student is expected to design and implement his own nature study experiment on the insect of his choice. This experience usually opens the eyes of the average student to the complexity and mystery of nature, and the countless questions that wonder naturally provokes in the mind.
This course is an excellent means to enlarge the student's mind, and should not be missed!
Course Length (in weeks):