Norman Allison Calkins.

Manual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education online

. (page 14 of 35)
Online LibraryNorman Allison CalkinsManual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education → online text (page 14 of 35)
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children have become sufficiently familiar with
their own bodies to be able to point out and name the
principal parts, and to tell the use of each organ of sense,
they will be ready for the lessons on animals, and pre-
pared to observe the different parts of animals, to compare
them with parts of their own bodies, and notice resem-
blances and differences in the structure and uses of these

The first lessons should not be formal in character, but
rather consist of familiar conversations, with abundant op-
portunities for personal observation by the child. As far
as practicable, let the pupil see the object first, and then
hear about it. The spontaneous questions by the child
that follow his seeing what is it? what is it for? why
does it do so ? will it hurt me ? furnish abundant oppor-
tunities for instruction, and guide the parent or teacher as
to the kind of information that is most appropriate for the
young learner during his first lessons.

"When the child enters school he has already acquired
some knowledge concerning domestic animals, and other
familiar ones, through home experiences. The teacher's
first aim must be to ascertain the character and extent of
this information, and then to follow with appropriate les-
sons connected with and based upon this knowledge. The
following series of exercises will suggest some of the meth-
ods which teachers may pursue during successive steps in
these early lessons.



First Series of Exercises. To ascertain what animals
the children are most familiar with, request them to tell what an-
imals they have seen. When several names have been given, se-
lect one animal named, and ask a child, Where did you see it ?
Then ask another where he saw it ; repeating the question to sev-
eral members of the class.

What can it do? is another question that may invite answers
from several pupils. This may be followed by other questions;
as, How does it move? What does it eat? Where does it live?
What is it good for ? The same or similar questions may be
asked about different familiar animals. The pupils should be en-
couraged to make new observations of each animal that forms a
subject of this exercise, and to talk about them at a subsequent

To farther stimulate them in observation, tell the children some
simple story about the animal ; or, if the exercise be about a cat,
ask the children to look at the opening in the cat's eyes when the
sun shines, and to look at it at night, or when there is not much
light in the room, and to tell their teacher the next day what they
saw. They may be requested also to look at the feet of a duck
or goose, and the feet of a hen, and afterward tell how they dif^
fer. Lead them to tell what the cat does when it is happy; what
it does when it is mad. Thus in various ways the teacher may
stimulate and lead the children to find out many interesting and
useful facts about animals.

Do not tell the pupils that which they can discover. The
teacher may choose the object, lead the pupils to it, then leave
them to see it, handle it, and learn from it by the exercise of
their own senses.

These exercises may be made a part of the lessons in reading
and spelling, by teaching the pupils the names of the animals
talked about; and to read some of the simple statements as to
what they can do, how move, what they eat, etc.

Second Series of Exercises. Place before the pupils
pictures of several of the animals about which conversations have
already been held ; as cat, dog, cow, sheep, goat, horse, etc. Let


the pupils name these animals as the teacher points at the pict-
ures. Let the pupils, singly, point out and name these animals.
Let them point out and name the principal parts of each ; as,
head, neck, body, legs, feet, tail, back, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc.

Select a single picture as that of a cat. Let the pupils point
out and name the principal parts ; as, head, neck, body, tail, legs,
feet, claws, ears, eyes, teeth, feelers, tongue.

Select the picture of a familiar bird as hen, duck, turkey,
robin and let the pupils point out and name the principal parts ;
as head, neck, body, tail, legs, wings, beak, eyes, feet, etc. Pro-
ceed in the same way with pictures of the dog, the horse, the
cow, sheep, goat, pig, etc.

Third Series of Exercises. Place the pictures of fa-
miliar animals as cow, horse, and sheep before the pupils, and
request them to tell what each is good for. One pupil might
say the cow gives us milk ; another, the sheep gives us wool ;
another, the horse can draw us in a wagon, etc.

Then a single picture may be selected, and the pupils requested
to tell all they can about that. If it be the picture of a cow, the
pupils might say, " We get milk from the cow ; we make butter
from the milk; we can make cheese from the milk. Leather
for shoes and boots is made from the skin of a cow. The flesh
of the cow is called beef. We eat beef." Do not try to make
the pupils tell things which they cannot learn by observation, nor
such as they would not be likely to have learned by talking about
the subject.

Proceed in a similar manner with other familiar animals, and
thus lead the pupils to consider their uses i. e., to answer one
of their own questions What is it for ? In this way they may
become able to mention, somewhat as follows, many


The Horse is useful for riding, for drawing loads, carts, wagons,
sleighs, carriages, cars, ploughing, etc.

The Sheep is useful in supplying wool for clothing, flesh for food,
and skin for soft leather.

The Goat is useful in supplying milk for food, and skin for leather.


The Dog is useful to guard the house and barn, to hunt, to kill
rats, etc.

Hens and Turkeys supply eggs and flesh for food.

Ducks and Geese supply eggs and flesh for food, and feathers
for pillows, beds, etc.

Fourth Series of Exercises. Lead the pupils to talk
about the movements of animals.

First they may tell what they have noticed concerning the
movements of the animals named for the lesson.

Second then lead them to observe the different movements of
animals more carefully.

In conducting this exercise, the teacher should not tell the pupils
what the movements are, but request them to find out, if they do
not already know, and to tell about them during the next day's
lesson, which should include a review of the lesson on the pre-
vious day.

As suggestions to the teacher relative to the facts which the
pupils might notice and mention concerning these movements,
the following list of appropriate animals, with their movements,
is given :

The Cat can walk, run, jump, and climb.

The Dog can walk, trot, run, leap, and jump.

The Horse can walk, trot, run, canter or gallop, and pace.

The Hen can walk, run, and fly.

The Goose can walk, run, fly, and swim.

The Sparrow can hop and fly.

The Robin can run, walk, and fly.

The Turkey can walk, run, and fly.

The Fish can swim.

The Bee can creep and fly.

The Toad can walk and leap.

The Mouse can walk, run, aud climb.

The Squirrel can walk, run, climb, and jump.

The Monkey can walk, jump, climb, and swing.

Use these exercises as reading-lessons from the blackboard;
also as lessons in spelling and writing on slates.



[.Intended for children from eight to ten years of age.]

the children have acquired a good variety of
facts by their own observation of familiar animals, and
the ability to give sufficient attention to a single object
to consider more than one of its characteristics at the same
lesson, they will be prepared for a second series of lessons,
during which they may be led to observe more minutely
the peculiarities of each object.

During this second stage lessons may be given that will
afford exercise for the child's imagination, and thus give
pleasure through a faculty that is very active in early
life. In giving this series of lessons, the teacher should
use a few interesting facts about each animal in such a
manner as to lead the pupils to observe and learn other
facts about it.

Some lessons may be commenced by first requiring the
pupils to tell all they know about the animal ; then the
teacher may ask a few questions about special habits of
the animal that will^ stimulate the pupils to try to find
answers by their own observations ; as, What does it do ?
How does it get its food ? What does it eat ? How does
it move ? Would it like to have you pat it ? etc.

Sometimes the lesson may be commenced by comparing
the habits of animals with some appropriate occupation ;
adding a few interesting facts about them, and telling the
children how t*hey may see the same things, and many
others equally interesting.

Throughout all the lessons in this stage the constant aim


of the teacher should ~be to cause the pupils to see carefully,
observe patiently, and learn for themselves.

This series may include lessons on a few animals that
the children see only in museums, menageries, zoological
gardens, or become somewhat acquainted with by means
of pictures.

Some simple classification of animals in groups, by their
similar habits, modes of life, etc., may be made in this
stage, to give children an idea of kinds or classes of ani-

The following lessons are not intended to be copied by
the teacher, and taught to the children ; but they are de-
signed to furnish sufficient information for bringing the
lessons before the class, and to suggest methods for con-
ducting them. Each teacher should endeavor to make
the lessons her own, and to adapt them to the pupils in
her class. Concerning some of the animals only the
most important facts and characteristics are given, and
the teacher is expected to arrange these in an appropriate
form for a lesson, with such additional information as she
can supply.

After a lesson has been given and reviewed, the pupils
should be required to write on their slates, or on paper,
the most important facts contained in the lesson. By
proper management on the part of the teacher, the pu-
pils may be led to the writing of compositions in a way
that will be interesting to them.


The teacher may introduce the lesson in a way that will gain
the attention of the pupils; and this can be secured by furnishing
them a little exercise for their imagination, somewhat as follows :

Children, I am going to talk with you about a small animal
which all of you have seen. It is fond of staying in the kitchen,
and of lying in a warm place. It likes to be noticed, and even


caressed by those "who are kind to it. I think some of you have
taken this animal in your arms, and felt of its soft fur.

Having thus prepared the class for the lesson, the teacher may
proceed somewhat as follows :

Teacher. All who think they can tell the name of this animal may
raise a hand ? What is its name ?

Children. A cat.

T. Very good. Here is the picture of a cat. "What do you think
it is doing ? What do you see on each side of its mouth ?

C. Whiskers.

T. That which you call the cat's whiskers are its feelers. When
the cat puts its head in a hole it can tell by these feelers whether
the hole is large enough to allow its body to go through.

The cat does not like to lie down in a dirty place. It is more
careful about keeping out of the dirt than some children are when
they are at play. The cat does not like to have her face dirty. How
does she keep her face clean ?

C. She washes it with her paws. She licks her paws, makes them
clean, then rubs them on her face, then licks them again.

T. Puss carries a brush, and smooths her fur with it. I think
some of you have seen her use it. Do you know what this brush is ?

C. I think it is her tongue, for I have seen her lick her fur ; and
her tongue is rough, something like a brush.

T. You are right ; the top of her tongue is covered with horny
points; which slant backward toward her throat. With this rough
tongue she can make her hair smooth.

Did you know that cats can see in the dark ? They have curtains
in their eyes of a yellowish-green color. When the sun shines very
brightly they draw these curtains together, so as to leave only a nar-
row opening between them, and let in a little light. When too much
light goes into the eye it has a blinding effect, and prevents the cat
from seeing well. At night this curtain is pulled back to make a
wide opening, to let in enough light to enable the cat to see. By
this means the cat can see to hunt its prey at night.

Did you ever look in a cat's eyes when the
sun shines brightly on her, and notice how the
curtains are drawn nearly together, leaving
only a narrow opening? I will try to make
a picture on the blackboard to show how the
cat's eye looks when these curtains are drawn

together. EYE IN SUNLIGHT.



Did you ever look at a cat's eye at night,
when the curtains were pulled so far back that
the opening in the pupil of the eye was like a
large round spot, or circle ? The opening be-
tween the curtains of the cat's eye is the pupil.
The cat sees through the pupils of its eyes as
you see through the small circular pupils in
your eyes. Have you a cat ? What is the color of your cat ?

You must look at your cat's eyes when you go home, and see if
you can find the curtains ; and then watch, as you take the cat near
a bright light, to see them draw together; then take the cat where
there is but a little light, and watch the curtains as they move back
to let in more light.

If you let the cat lick your hand, you can feel the brush with which
she smooths her fur.

Did you ever see the cat's pin-cushions ? She carries them on her
feet, and keeps in them several curved pins, with sharp points. See
if you can count the pins in each cushion ? What does she do with
them ?

The cat walks on her cushions. They are so soft that she can
walk without making a noise ; and the mice do not hear her as
she creeps up near their holes to watcli for them to come out, where
she can reach them with her paws.

What does the cat do when she is happy?

Children. She purrs.

Teacher. How does the cat show that she is angry?

C. She wags her tail, and makes a noise.

T. How does the cat tell you that she is hungry ?

C. She mews.

T. How does she tell you that she wants you to open the door for
her to come in or to go out ?

How many of you will look at a cat at home, and try to find all
the things that we have talked about the feelers, the brush, the cush-
ions, the crooked pins f

Some day we will talk more about the cat, and tell you something
about her great uncles and cousins that live far away.

When giving the lessons in this stage, two or three exercises
should be had about each animal, so as to give the pupils time
for observing what may be found that has been talked about, and
the teacher an opportunity of correcting mistakes which they may
have made. One or two days may elapse between the exercises.


It is important that the pupils be encouraged to tell what they
observe, so far as it relates to the points of the lesson, and allowed
opportunity to report their observations. When able to write, oc-
casionally change the manner by which the pupils report what they
have seen, and let them write what they would say instead of tell-
ing it.


The dog may be made the subject of a lesson, and treated some-
what like the cat. The attention of the children may be directed
to the characteristics of the dog somewhat as follows :

There is an animal, which usually lives about the house, that chil-
dren sometimes use for a horse to ride ; sometimes they harness him
to their little w r agon, and let him draw it around the yard. Some
of these animals are so kind to children, and so good-natured, that
they will allow little boys to pull their tails and ears, or sit on them
and roll them over. I think you have seen one of these animals that
was happy to go with you when you took a walk in the fields or in
the woods. He is always happy with children who are kind to him
and do not tease him. What is the name of this animal ?

The dog is a faithful companion of man. He protects his person
from strangers ; guards his house and other property at night ; assists
his master in hunting wild game ; helps him to care for and drive
his cattle and sheep ; sometimes he brings his master's daily paper
to him ; sometimes he takes a basket to market for meat or groceries ;
sometimes he saves the life of a child that falls into deep water from
drowning ; and in a great many ways he serves those who are kind
to him. His affectionate disposition strongly attaches him to his mas-
ter, and he will follow him wherever he is allowed to go. He is the
companion and friend of man in all parts of the world. A dog has
a very keen scent. He can track his master along a crowded street,
and can follow an animal for many miles by the scent along its track
without getting within sight of it. This fact makes the dog valuable
for hunting deer, foxes, and other animals. His sight and hearing are
also very keen.

What kind of dogs have you seen ? You may tell me their names.
Look at the dogs in this picture,* and see how many kinds you can
point out.

Now direct the pupils' attention to the long head of this animal ;

* Show Prang's picture of dogs, or some other one that represents several
kinds of dogs.


its long ears ; its smooth tongue ; strong, pointed teeth ; its blunt
nails ; to its habit of extending the tongue when heated or tired by
running ; to the tricks which he may be taught to perform ; and to
his general intelligence. Encourage the children to tell what their
dogs can do.

Teacher. What does the dog do to show that he is happy ? How
does he tell you that he is hungry ? How does the dog show you
that he is angry ?


The goat being an animal with which children generally are
familiar, the teacher can obtain many facts concerning it from
them, and then direct their attention to its structure, habits,
uses, etc.

They may be led to compare the size of its body and the shape
of its head with those of the sheep, and to notice that its slender
legs, and its feet with parted hoofs, are like those of the sheep ;
but that it differs from the sheep in being covered with hair, and
in having a tuft of hair, or beard, under its chin.

It eats grass, hay, grain, and vegetables like the sheep, but it
will eat also many other things, as twigs, leaves, bark, old paper,
and sometimes rags.

Goats like to live on hills and among rocks. They are sure-
footed, and can climb the sides of steep, rocky hills where a sheep
could not go. Wild goats live in herds on the mountains of Eu-
rope and Asia.

This animal belongs to the cud-chewing family. It is often
kept about horse-stables, and frequently a horse and a goat be-
come great friends to each other. It is said that goats are the
only animals that will boldly face a fire.

The Cashmere goat of Asia is celebrated for its fine gray wool,
which grows under its long, silky hair. Only a small quantity of
wool about three ounces is obtained from a single goat. Ex-
pensive Cashmere shawls are made of this wool.

The milk of the goat is used for food ; its skin for morocco
leather. The skin of the young kid is used for kid gloves. Boys
sometimes harness goats to their little wagons, and thus make the
goat draw them about.



In a warm summer evening, after the birds and fowls have all
gone to roost, we sometimes see a little creature flying about so
swiftly that we can hardly follow it with our eyes. It seldom
makes a noise ; its wings do not rustle like those of birds ; it has
no feathers. Did you ever see one of these little animals ? What is
its name ? Why do you suppose it flies about in this manner ?

You have seen swallows fly about in the daytime, sometimes near
the ground, sometimes close to the surface of a pond of water, and
sometimes higher in the air. The swallows were catching flies and
small insects for food as they flew about.

When the swallow goes to his nest for the night, the Ixtt comes
out to catch flies and mosquitoes for his food. Thus you see the bat
is a useful animal, and you need not fear it. It does not wish to
hurt us ; it only wants to catch the flies and other insects which
annoy us. Do not fear the bat, but watch the next one that you
see, and feel glad that it catches so many flies for its supper.

Bats take a drink of water after eating, but they do not stop to
drink ; they fly near the surface of the water, and take a sip without

Look at this picture of bats.* Some are flying, some are hanging
up by their hind feet, ready to sleep. This is the way they hang in
the daytime when they sleep. They fly about at night, and sleep in
the daytime. They sleep in some dark hole in a tree, or in a dark
place among rocks. They hang themselves up by their hind feet,
and fold their wings around the body as you see in the picture.
They sleep all winter without eating.

The head is shaped somewhat like that of a mouse, but its nose is
much shorter. Its eyes are very bright. It has long ears, and hears
very quickly the least noise. The mouth contains small, sharp teeth,
somewhat like the cat's teeth in shape. It will bite if you take it in
your hand.

Its wings are very curious. They are made of thin skin, without
any feathers. It has a pair of hooks on each wing. When it alights
for a moment, it can hold itself up by these hooks. The body is cov-
ered with a soft, thick fur like that of a mouse. Some are gray, and
some are brown. Did you ever see a brown bat ? Were you afraid
of it?

* Prantfs Natural History Series contains an excellent picture of bats in
each of these positions.


The cry of the bat is very weak not so loud as that of a mouse.
Did you ever hear a bat squeak or cry ? It is said that they are very
cleanly ; that they comb their fur carefully, and part it with their

Bats and swallows are useful in catching flies and other insects,
and thus prevent them from becoming too numerous and trouble-


Did you ever see that very little animal with bright eyes, soft
fur, and long tail, which creeps slyly out of a little hole in the cor-
ner, looks around, and then runs quickly across the room ? What
is the name of it ?

Its teeth are sharp and strong, and made for gnawing holes. It
has four very small feet, and can run without making a noise. Its
tail is long, but very small, and has no hair on it. It has large ears
and bright eyes, so that it can hear the least noise and see the least
movement. It is a very timid animal, and runs away when it hears
a noise ; but it creeps softly back again when all is quiet. Of what
is this animal afraid ?

It comes out of its hole to get crumbs of bread and cake. It is
very fond of cheese also. Sometimes it gnaws holes in a box or
closet to get at something inside. When it has had enough food it
goes back to its house, or nest, which is made soft and warm inside,
so that the little mice may not get cold.

Do you like to have mice in your house ? What do you do to get
rid of them ? What can you tell about mice ? Look at this picture,
and tell me what you see in it.*

Children. What a funny mouse, with such a long, long tail !

Teacher. That is called a jumping mouse; it is somewhat like a
kangaroo its hind legs are so much longer than its front ones.
This mouse does not run like other mice, but it jumps, making long
leaps, as you see in this picture.*

The large mouse in the lower left-hand corner of the picture is a
meadow mouse. Its tail is much shorter than that of the jumping
mouse, and it is also shorter than the tail of the house mouse.

The larger picture on the right-hand side is that of a rat. The
rat and mouse belong to the same family, but they do not often live
in the same house.

Can you tell something about mice and rats ?

* Prang 1 s Natural History Series.



Most children can tell something about rabbits of their long
ears, pink eyes ; that their hind legs are longer than their front
legs ; that they move by jumps, instead of walking, as cats and
dogs do ; that they dig holes in the ground to live in ; that these
holes are called burrows ; that some children have pet rabbits.

After all the facts which the pupils can state about rabbits

Online LibraryNorman Allison CalkinsManual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education → online text (page 14 of 35)