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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




This study was used in elementary science at the Rio Linda Union School, Sacramento Country, California as an orientation course in the seventh and eighth grades to transform school science from a mysterious abstraction into an understandable, enjoyable and useful field of knowledge that is indispensable to a child's understanding of his environment. This is of value to the child especially during his out-of-school activities, which is so well brought out by McBee:........the purpose of child study of nature is to put the child into intimate and essential contact with things of his external world, thereby developing a keen and personal interest in natural objects and phenomena of the world about him, broadening his horizons and developing his perceptions.1

These interests and activities of his immediate environment should develop, in time, in furthering science interests, appreciations and knowledges. As stated by McBee: The wider implications of nature study are concerned with opening the mind of pupils by direct observation to a knowledge and love of the common things in environment, with increasing their joy of living.1

Statement of the Problem. The problem of the study was: .The development of a better understanding by the child of his natural environmental resources in the rural elementary schools of Sacramento County.

Due to the grouping of the grades seven and eight under one teacher in most of the rural schools,3 the study covered only these two grades. The writer believes, through his experiences with younger students on conducted Saturday hikes, that rural schools of one-teacher size could also follow the general procedure with successful results.1

This study will not present a method of teaching nor a course of study, but will attempt to give a set of guiding procedures, information and findings which the writer hopes will be of some value and inspiration to teachers in developing a better understanding by the child of his natural environmental resource.

Importance of the Problem. The writer has sensed the need of a better understanding of their environment by children, through close contacts with them, and realizes that they know very little or see very little of their immediate environment except as they are directed to it.



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