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As the framing of good thought questions requires skill in the professor and as one professor might have difficulty in inventing and properly wording many of these questions, cooperation is necessary. If the science professors in the many Catholic colleges would each try to think out questions, the results might be combined into valuable handbooks for the various sciences.

The paper of Rev. Wm. F. Rigge, S. J., on "What Catholics Have Done for Astronomy," was well received. A recommendation was made that this paper be printed and circulated widely. The matter was referred to the Committee on Publication of the Executive Board.

The officers of the Science Section for the coming year are: Committee-Rev. D. J. McHugh, C. M., chairman, DePaul University, Chicago; Rev. C. J. Anderson, O. C. C., secretary, St. Cyril's College, Chicago; Rev. C. P. O'Neill, O. S. A., St. Rita's College, Chicago; Rev. A. Bocian, C. R., St. Stanislaus College, Chicago; Mr. Paul Muehlmann, S. J., Loyola University, Chicago.





Mental power is the chief aim of secular education. Giving a student mental and moral power-man-power-is the aim of Catholic education.

Among the agencies designed to aid in realizing this end, none has secured such scant consideration and sympathy from Catholic college faculties as laboratory work in the sciences-principally physics and chemistry.

It is a platitude to say that no educational results are to be hoped for, without mental exertion both on the part of the teacher and on the part of the pupil. And yet in what branch of study, designed to foster educational results, is a student impelled more persistently to mental exertion; in which are the sense-activities stimulated more easily; in which is the matter itself so absorbingly interesting; as in laboratory study?

The realization that beneficial results may be achieved by laboratory work because it demands mental and physical exertion on the part of teacher and student has, no doubt, inspired the selection of the word "laboratory" to designate its classroom. Whatever may be the intrinsic merit of laboratory work, the fact remains that its value as an educational agent has been either overlooked or ignored, else, how is it to be explained that studies of this kind have been made so little of by the Catholic college? Is the solution of this difficulty to be found in the fact that the courses in most of our colleges lead to the A. B. degree, for which, it is maintained, laboratory study is not of greatest utility? Yet to claim that laboratory work is not of service in aug

menting the broad cultural effect of the A. B. degree is a pedagogical fallacy.

The unfavorable attitude of teachers to laboratory work may be traced to the professional equipment of the teachers themselves. Most of our teachers of science being priests or in via to the priesthood, are men having the A. B. degree. Their course of training along purely classical lines, as outlined at the present day in college and seminary curricula, affords little time and meagre equipment for laboratory study.

To the unfavorable stand of college authorities and the lack of professional training of our science teachers we must add the mental attitude of the students themselves, as a factor tending to stunt the educational effect of laboratory work.

It is of experience that many take up this kind of work with the grotesque notion that it is something pyrotechnical, associated with noise of explosions and showers of broken glass. It will be interesting to be sure; it will afford ample opportunity to indulge that most wasteful insanity of mixing a little of everything together and watching what will happen; but best of all it will afford a welcome relief from the mental grind entailed by the study of the classics.

It is the purpose of this paper to consider the constituents of laboratory study and draw your attention to their educational value, hoping thereby to emphasize the usefulness of laboratory work and gain for it the prominence and importance it deserves. As stated at the beginning of this paper, education aims at giving a student power. Now laboratory work to have educational worth must develop power-mental and moral.

That it develops mental power there can be no doubt. Scientific thinking is always based on an immediate and direct knowledge of facts, and laboratory work, if correctly conducted, is designed to foster just such kind of thinking-the attitude of the scientific mind. By a scientific mind is meant one that tends to deal with questions objectively, to judge things on their own merits. An investigation of the nature of laboratory work will make this clear, that only after patient research can laboratory work develop the attitude of the scientific mind and give a student the power to think scientifically.

The chief constituents of laboratory work are two-the experiments and the notebook. The experiment consists of three parts.

First. The student manipulates guided by specific directions. Second. The student observes.

Third. The student is forced to use his reasoning powers on what has been observed.

To put it in another way. The student puts a question to nat ure, nature responds to the question. The student interprets the answer.

The notebook is the personal expression of the activity of the mind and the senses, that has been going on during the experiment, and of the conclusions arrived at.

Manipulating, observing, thinking that is laboratory work. The better to get at its educational content, let us scrutinize these three parts of an experiment in detail.

The student manipulates guided either by personal directions of the instructor, or, since in a large class it is impossible for. him to guide every thought and motion of a student, by a laboratory manual. The significant point of this part of an experiment is, that the student does something, he asks nature a question. Now in order that he may be sure that his question is clearly understood and that he may receive an equaily clear response, his doing cannot be carried on in a haphazard way. It must be conditioned in such a manner that ambiguity is impossible. These conditions under which the experiment is carried out are known as the "procedure."

Since this part of the experiment furnishes the matter for observation and subsequent mental scrutiny it is of importance: First, that the purpose of the experiment-in chemistry, saybe clearly stated.

Second. The apparatus should be described with such detail as may enable the student to construct it with facility. The best description is to have a model of the apparatus at hand. This saves a student's time, because he has a much better eye-memory than an ear-memory for such matters. Moreover, the functions

of the various parts should be explained, especially if they have not been used before.

Third. The materials used should be described with detail, calling attention to their properties and cautioning the student about any danger there may be in handling them.

If necessary, mention should also be made of the exact quantities to be used, and of the physical condition which substances must be in, etc. To prevent waste of material in chemical experiments and a loss of time, students must be warned against taking too large quantities, and this warning must be given time and again.

Then the procedure should be explained as precisely as possible. If a laboratory manual is used, this may be readily done by reading the manipulations over with the class and making necessary comments as the matter or manner may require.

One point in connection with laboratory procedure is, to my mind, of pedagogical significance. I believe that laboratory work would be more beneficial to a student if he were forced so to master the procedure of an experiment, as to know the successive manipulations by memory. Then the continuity of his subsequent observations would not be disjointed by the query what to do next.

Thus far we have been considering the preparation of the matter for observation which is the second part of an experiment. Here the student receives the answer to the queries he has put to nature. Although in observation the mind is passive as regards any initiative of its own, it is, nevertheless, in a receptive mood to what is going on. The student to get the good out of his laboratory work must here record as accurately and as conscientiously as he can the phenomena faking place. All his senses must be on the alert because he is being answered by nature through the medium of his senses. And in order that none of nature's responses may be lost, the psychological fact that the mind is more active when it inquires, than when it passively observes should be taken advantage of, by focusing the student's attention on points liable to escape notice, by means of questions. And here it is well to note that jotting down memoranda of observations should be insisted upon, otherwise points of im

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