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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/567

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557
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

some years the attempt to get an exact estimate of normal variation in different animals, of the production of abnormal variations and of the laws of inheritance. Professor Davenport is himself breeding mice extensively and thus securing data. Of the courses offered two deserve special mention. One is the course for teachers of zoölogy in high schools, a chief feature of which is the study of living animals. The other is a course on 'Variation and Inheritance,' which gives advanced students a chance to study the most important question of biology and by the most exact methods. The Cold Spring laboratory has been growing very rapidly of late and seems likely to continue to grow. In general the evolution of the summer laboratory is of interest. An enthusiast or a modest association gathers a few sympathetic workers at some favorable locality. The informality and personal contact are inspiring and the place becomes famous for good work. Then come numbers and with numbers a rapid complication of the social life of the school. The eminent leader is replaced by a dozen different instructors; one no longer knows every one else; organization becomes complex and what was at first a sort of scientific family may turn into a formal institution. The summer laboratory should not become a big summer college at the cost of its single-mindedness.

 

While special laboratories are open for work in biology, and the universities are extending their sessions through the summer, the common schools are also beginning to realize that they must adapt themselves to an urban civilization. Country schools should adjourn in the summer for obvious reasons, but in the city nothing is gained by turning the children from the schools into the streets. The vacation or play schools now in session in New York City are in every way to be commended. The only drawback is that they cannot hold half of those who wish to attend. Set free from the traditional curriculum the children learn more in the five weeks of 'play school' in the summer, than in twice that period of 'work school' in the winter. Swimming, open-air gymnastics, team games, chess, visits to parks, piers, museums and libraries, excursions in barges and into the country, sketching, whittling, cooking, sewing and the rest do not lose their educational value because the children like them. Such exercises will do a good deal toward curing the indigestion caused by being fed for five years on the three R's, and toward correcting the anti-social atmosphere of the ordinary school-room. Among the commonplaces of modern psychology are: It is not what a person knows but what he does that counts; the way to learn is to act; progress follows from the pleasure of partial success; an individual only exists in his relations with others. Such maxims seem to be as clearly kept in view by the New York Department of Education in the summer as they are forgotten in the winter. The committee on the New York Play Schools consists of Messrs. Seth T. Stewart, John L. N. Hunt and A. P. Marble, to whom and to the teachers who have carried out their plans much honor is due. The report for 1899 is an educational document of importance. Copies can probably be obtained from the Department of Education of the City of New York.

 

The Paris Exposition and its congresses may be regarded as a great summer school. The applications of science exhibited for amusement, for instruction and for the advantage of commerce and manufactures are bewildering in their multiplicity. It is interesting to note that the group 'Education' heads the catalogue of the Exposition. In the exhibits representing higher instruction, the United States received nine grand prizes and nine gold medals, ranking second to France. On the motion of a French juror, three Americans were mentioned as worthy of special distinction: Prof. H. A. Rowland, Johns Hopkins University; Prof. Nicholas