Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/774

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754
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

neously with this flash the sky was traversed by another, which also appears ramified in even a more complicated manner than its companion. The second figure represents in all its beauty a flash with many extensive and divergent ramifications.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from La Nature.

 
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METHODS OF INSTRUCTION IN MINERALOGY.[1]
By M. E. WADSWORTH, Ph. D.,
OF THE MUSEUM OF COMPARATIVE ZOOLOGY, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.

IN the present discussions concerning the relative merits of classical and scientific studies as factors in education, one point seems to be often lost sight of: the difference between instruction given for the purpose of disciplining the mind and that given for the purpose of imparting information. The former appears to be the chief function of our public schools, academies, seminaries, and colleges; the latter the principal object of technological and professional schools and graduate or university courses proper.

It would seem, then, that it is necessary for any one, seeking to replace any disciplinary study by something else, to show that the proposed new study will afford an equivalent amount in kind. In other words, if the scientist can not show that the studies he proposes to introduce into our colleges and high-schools possess, beyond the information given, a power of disciplining the mind, in certain valuable directions, equal to any other studies, his case had better be abandoned. Realizing this, it is proposed to show how instruction in mineralogy can be and has been given in such a way as to cultivate and develop faculties of the greatest value and use to any man, what-ever may be his walk in life. Of necessity, personal experience must be referred to in this case, which is the excuse for the seeming egotism of this article.

It is intended, first, to show how this was accomplished in the elementary course in mineralogy in Harvard College, as given several years ago. This course extended throughout the college year, requiring of the students attendance upon three lectures a week, or their equivalents, and, in addition, at least six hours of laboratory work. Since it (like nearly all the courses in Harvard) was an elective, it was taken only by a limited number of students.

At the time of my acquaintance with it, as a pupil, the first two and a half months were devoted to crystallography, while determinative mineralogy occupied the rest of the year. The crystallography was taught by means of crystal models, with illustrations taken from natural crystals, and embraced certain of the mathematical princi-

  1. Abstract of a paper read before the Society of Naturalists of Eastern United States, New York, December 27, 1883.