Norman Allison Calkins.

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

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and of the countries of the world.

On this left-hand circle you may see two large portions of land
represented, which are joined together by a very narrow strip of
land. Who will find these two bodies of land, and the place where
they are joined, on this globe ?

The two countries here represented, are called North America, and
South America. We live in the one called North America. The
strip of land which unites these countries is called an isthmus. Of
what is an isthmus made ? Is it narrow ? What is at eacli end of


an isthmus ? What is on each side of an isthmus ? Can a person
walk on an isthmus ? What is an isthmus ?

An isthmus is a strip of land that joins two larger poi'tions of land

Point to an isthmus on this map of the world. Did you ever see
a real isthmus ?

Proceed in a similar manner to teach such forms of land and
water as may be distinguished on both globe and maps.

How Locations of Countries may be Learned.
When the pupils have learned to point out on the map and
globe the principal forms of land and water that may be distin-
guished on the globe, proceed with the location of the principal
divisions or countries of the world, at the same time associating
them with such people, animals, or productions found in them, as
may be most familiar to the children. These lessons may be
given somewhat as follows :

Yesterday we found the countries called North America, and
South America, on the map and on the globe. To-day I wish you
to find other countries on the map, and on the globe. On the left-
hand circle of this large map you may see represented large bodies
of land, and of water. You will notice that portions of the map
representing land are of different colors. Each color is intended to
show how much belongs to one country. Now James may come
and find on the globe the country which I now point at on the

Bight. This country is called Africa. It is the home of the
negro race. Most of the people living in Africa are negroes.

William may now find the home of the negro race on this globe ;
and Henry may point to it on the map.

Please to notice the country which I now point out on the map.
This is the home of the elephant, and of the Chinese ; the country is
called Asia.

Mary may find this country on the globe, and Lucy may point to
it on the map.

Would you like to have me show you where fire -crackers are
made ? I will point to the place, and you must tell me what coun-
try it is in.


That is right, but that part of Asia where fire - crackers are


made is called China. That is where the Chinese live ; and the place
where our tea is raised. Now tell me the name of something that
you have seen which came from Asia.

Now look at the country which I point out on the map. Is it as
large as Asia ? This country is called Europe. This country is the
home of the Germans, the French, the English, the Irish, the Scotch,
the Italian, the Swede, the Dutch, etc.

Who will find Europe on the globe ?

Did you ever see any one who has lived in Europe ?

George says he can find another large portion of land represented
on the map; let him try it. "Well done. That country is called
Australia. It is the home of the kangaroo. Now George may find
the home of the kangaroo on this globe.

I am now going to point to the representation of the country
where the camel, and the giraffe, and the hippopotamus, and the
gorilla, and the ostrich are found, and you must tell the name of the


Very good. Lions are found in Africa ; and the zebra also. Egypt
is in Africa ; this is the place where the pyramids were built. The
obelisk in the New York Central Park was brought from Egypt.

I will point to the country where pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and
nutmegs grow, and you may tell its name.


The country that I am now pointing at is the home of the llama,
and the place where cocoa-nuts, Brazil-nuts, and india-rubber are
found. What is the name of this country ?

" South America."

The largest river in the world is in South America. This is the
Amazon river.

Who can find on the map the country where we live ? What is
the name of it ?

This is the home of the Indian, and the hison, and the hear, and
the turkey; and far to the north the white bear lives. The country
there is very cold all the time. No large trees grow there.

The weather is very cold in the northern parts of Europe and of
Asia ; and it is also very cold far to the south of Africa, and of
South America.

In the northern parts of South America, of Africa, of Australia,
and in the southern parts of Asia, and of North America, the weather
is very warm all of the time.

In the warm countries there are many large trees, and beautiful
flowers, and birds with fine plumage.


Review these lessons on the locations of countries by calling
upon pupils to point them out on the map, and on the globe.
Let two pupils point out the same country, one on the map, the
other on the globe ; and require each to name something that
can be found in the country.

Let pupils write on their slates all they can remember about
a country, after the lesson has been given and reviewed.


THE practice of training pupils to sketch an outline of
the boundaries of countries, states, etc., and to represent
the chief features of each, as a part of the lesson on that
country, is too much neglected in teaching geography.
And this neglect leads to the leaving out of the methods
of teaching this subject one of the most valuable means
of success in learning it. Teaching a pupil to represent
his knowledge by something done with the hand, is of
greater importance than teaching him to remember some-
thing to say about it. He may learn to repeat the words
without understanding what they are about ; but he can-
not learn to represent the form of that which he does not

A venerable teacher from whom I received many valu-
able lessons, used to say, " You know it when you can
show it." This saying is specially appropriate to the
student of geography. He knows the form and features
of a country when he can show them by drawing.

The common question-and-answer method of recitations
in geography js painfully familiar in too many schools.
The pupils submit to it as one of the tiresome ordeals in-
cident to school life. Compare a class of pupils taught


by this routine method, with one taught to sketch each
feature of the country, the boundaries, locations of moun-
tains, rivers, lakes, towns, and chief productions, and man-
ufactures. Observe the listlessness of one class and the
thoughtful attention and active interest exhibited by the
other, and there can no longer remain a doubt as to which
is the better way of teaching.

Accurately drawn maps are not necessary for this plan
of teaching. They must possess sufficient resemblance to
the true form for any pupil to recognize readily the coun-
try represented. With this degree, of accuracy attained,
rapidity of execution becomes chief in importance, when
this sketching process is employed as a method of recita-
tion, or review of lessons.

If you have neglected to use map sketching in teaching
geography because you do not know how to draw a map
accurately, do not allow this excuse to still prevent you
from beginning. A little skill and patience on your part
will enable you to lead your pupils to do the needed work
in drawing ; while your inability to draw well will pre-
vent you from doing that which ought to be done by the
pupils. Your effort should be to teach them to do for
themselves. If you knew that you could draw maps well,
you might try to do too much of the work, and thus
prevent your pupils from attaining the best results from
these lessons. By trying to teach map drawing, you will
learn as well as your pupils.

How to Commence Map Drawing. First read care-
fully what is said in the lessons on " Place and Direction " about
representing the position of things on the table and in the class-
room ; and especially the lessons on Boundaries a,nd Maps. Then
give your pupils similar exercises, and when you find that your
pupils can draw maps of the school -room, of the play-ground,
and give the relative location of the streets and buildings in the


vicinity, they are ready to proceed with the drawing of maps to
represent states, etc.

Suspend before the class a map of the United States, or of a
group of states containing the one selected to be drawn. If the
State of Pennsylvania be chosen, proceed somewhat as follows :
Bequest the pupils to observe the general shape of the state, and
to notice which way it is longer ; whether the boundary lines are
straight, or crooked ; which sides are straight, and which are ir-
regular ; also notice about how many times the width of the state
could be contained in its length.

Let each pupil take a slate and draw a line nearly across it, about
two inches below the top, to represent the northern boundary of
the state. Then let each pupil draw a line nearly across his slate,
far enough below the first line to represent the southern boundary
of the state. Next let each draw a line on the left side of the slate,
meeting the other two lines, to represent the western boundary. In
doing this lead them to represent the north-western corner of the
state properly. Now call their attention to the irregular form of the
eastern boundary. Request the pupils to make two dots to repre-
sent the two most easterly points in this boundary, and three dots
to locate the most westerly points in it. Then direct the pupils
to draw a line so as to pass through all five of these dots.

The slates may be compared, and the one best drawn selected.
Bequest the pupil who drew that to represent the boundaries of the
state on the blackboard. Then select some of the slates containing
poorly drawn maps, and let the pupils compare them with the out-
line on the blackboard, and point out the defects.

This exercise will be quite enough for the first lesson ; and the
class will have learned enough of the shape of the state to be able
to represent it much better, and in one -half the time, at the next

For the second lesson commence with the boundaries again, and
request one pupil to draw them on the blackboard, while the others
use their slates. Having finished the boundaries, request the pupils
to tell you what was done after drawing the boundaries of the

"The position of the objects in the room were represented next."

Very well. Now we must represent the position of some objects
in the State of Pennsylvania, within its boundaries. If you could
look down upon the whole state, as you can look on the floor of this
room, you would see chains of mountains in some parts, rivers in


others, coal mines, and iron mines, and oil wells, and cities, and rail-
roads, in other places. You may represent the chains of mbuutains
first; but, before doing this, look on the map and notice where the
mountains are, and in which directions they extend.

The mountains that extend from about the middle of the eastern
boundary toward the south-west, nearly to the middle of the south-
ern boundary, are those of the Blue Ridge. Locate these first.

Next observe the position of the Alleghany range, and locate
this. Then represent the other prominent mountains of the state.

Now let the class notice where the largest rivers are, and which
way they flow, and then represent the Susquehanna, its east and
west branches, the Juniata, the Alleghany, Monongahela, and the
beginning of the Ohio. Next represent the part of Lake Erie that
touches the state on the north-west.

Then select six of the principal cities, and locate each on the
map. Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, and

In the north-western part indicate the region of oil wells; east
of the centre of the state, represent the region of coal mines ; and
indicate the iron mines in the south-eastern and south-western

Tell the pupils to remember that the State of Pennsylvania fur-
nishes iron for our stoves, coal for our fires, and oil for our lamps.

They may next notice through what cities the principal railroads
pass, and represent these by dotted lines.

The pupils may be requested to draw the same state again from
observing the map; and then let them draw it from memory.
Observing the following order :

1. Boundaries.

2. Mountains.

3. Rivers.

4. Cities.

5. Productions.

6. Railroads, etc.

Select another state with regular boundary lines, as Kansas,
Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, and let the pupils proceed
in a manner similar to the plan used for Pennsylvania.

Drawing from Dictation. When the pupils have learned to
draw maps of several states, request them to draw from dictation.
Teacher. Draw a map of Connecticut, length of northern boun-
dary about four inches. Draw northern boundary, eastern boun-
dary, western boundary, southern boundary, giving an outline of
Long Island Sound. Represent the Connecticut River, the Hou-


satonic River, the Thames. Locate Hartford, New Haven, Bridge-
port, Norwich, Waterbury, arid two principal railroads.

When the pupils are able to thus represent a state readily from
dictation, let them try to draw a state in five minutes ; then in
four minutes ; then to see how much they can draw in three min-
utes. This exercise will lead to a great saving of time in the
recitations of geography, and secure a permanent knowledge of
the characteristics of the several states.

Do not allow your pupils to waste time in tracing
maps. Train them first to observe the general shape,
then the relative size of its parts, and form of boundary
lines, then to represent what they notice, with pencil or

An excellent review exercise may be had by requesting
pupils to draw boundaries of a state ; to write names of
the states which touch it on the north, on the east, on
the south, on the west ; to locate its capital ; three of its
principal towns. This work should be performed rapidly.

It will be found valuable in this connection to drill
the pupils in locating chief commercial cities, in such a
way as to represent the general direction and relative dis-
tance of one from the other, as New York, Boston, Phil-
adelphia, Buffalo, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, San
Francisco; or Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton,
Toledo ; or New York, Albany, Syracuse, Eochester, Buf-
falo ; or Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee.

Map drawing may be extended to the continents, and
to all the principal countries. Valuable suggestions to
aid in this work may be found in the principal text-books
on geography.



"THINGS before words," should be an ever-present
motto with the primary teacher. The remembrance of
this is of especial importance in developing ideas of
weighty knowledge of which can be obtained only from
objects, and through the appropriate sense. Lifting must
teach the child differences in the weight of things. No
idea of this property of objects can be communicated to
the mind of the child by \vords alone. The pupil must
teach himself this subject by his own experiences, or
forever remain in ignorance of it.

What, then, is the teacher's function with this subject
of instruction ? It is to provide suitable materials, and
the opportunity whereby the child can get the necessary
experience with things that have weight ; and then to
guide the pupil in the use of the materials so that he
may secure the best results in the least time. The teacher
must instruct the child by directing him how to use the
objects provided in teaching himself. Here, emphatically,
that which the child does, teaches him.

For suitable materials to develop ideas of weight, pro-
vide balls and cubes of the same size but of different ma-
terials, as cork, wood, yarn, rubber, glass, iron, lead ; also
cubes and balls made of the same materials, but of differ-
ent sizes ; also large objects that are light, and small ob-
jects that are heavy ; small bags of feathers, wool, cotton,
bran, beans, shot ; four tin boxes of the same size, contain-
ing respectively one ounce, two ounces, four ounces, and


eight ounces of shot; two equal phials, one containing
quicksilver, the other water ; also four one-ounce weights,
two two-ounce weights, twQ four-ounce weights, two eight-
ounce weights, one pound weight, and a pair of common
counter scales.

The following steps are intended to suggest the order of
proceeding, and the general plan of instruction appropriate to
this subject.

First Step. The first ideas of weight must be gained by ob-
serving differences in the weight of objects.

Second Step. Next in the order of progress comes the com-
parison of iveights to distinguish those that are similar.

Third Step. Pupils to learn by lifting and weighing to dis-
tinguish given weights.



First Exercise. Let the pupils lift many objects without
regard to size or shape, and notice that they differ in weight.

Second Exercise. Let the pupils lift objects of the same
material which differ much in size and in weight.

Third Exercise. Let them lift objects of equal size and
same shape, but of different materials, and observe that they differ
in weight.

Fourth Exercise. Let them lift objects, as tin boxes, of
same shape and size, but differing in weight, and thus learn to dis-
tinguish differences.



First Exercise. Let the pupils lift objects, without regard
to size or shape, and find two or more of the same weight.

Second Exercise. Let them lift large and small objects,
and find two that differ in size which are alike in weight.

Third Exercise. Let the pupils hold one object, and lift
others to find those that are lighter and those that are heavier than
the one held.

Fourth Exercise. Let the pupils take a basin of water, and
find what objects will sink in it and what objects will swim. Teach
them that objects which are heavier than water sink, while those
which are lighter than water swim.


First Exercise. Let the pupils take a given weight, as four
ounces, or half a pound, or one pound, and compare the weight of
other objects with it by lifting; then let them try these on the
scales to see if the weight of each is the same.

Second Exercise. Let them lift an object, judge of its
weight, then weigh it to test the correctness of the judgment.

Third Exercise. Let the pupils take a quarter-pound weight,
place it on the scale, and then find how many ounce weights will
equal it in weight. Let them take a half-pound weight, and in the
same way find how many ounce weights will equal it. Proceed in
the same manner to find how many ounces equal a pound weight.

Several lessons should be given under each of the preceding
exercises, which will supply the pupils with enough personal ex-
perience to develop clearly the special ideas intended to be taught
by each of the three steps. The pupils should also be encouraged
to make similar experiments at home, and then tell in school what
they have learned concerning the given step. At the end of the
exercises for the Third Step, the pupils will be prepared to learn
readily and understandingly the tables of weights.



Teacher. If you should go to the grocery store to buy coffee, tea,
sugar, and flour, what would you say, in telling how much you
wanted to get ?

Pupil. I would tell the clerk to give me a pound of coffee, and
half a pound of tea. Then, if I wanted some flour and sugar, I
would tell him to give me ten pounds of flour and seven pounds of

T. "What would the clerk do to find how much he must give you
of each article ?

P. He would weigh them on the scales. He has half-pound
weights, pound weights, two -pound weights, five -pound weights,
and other large weights, and he could use these to find how much
to give me of each article.

T. Suppose the grocer had no scales and no weights, and did not
know how to weigh, how could he give you what you asked for ?

P. He could not do it. He must have scales and weights, and
know how to weigh, or he could not keep a grocery store.

T. Now you may name all the articles that you can think of that
the grocer sells by weight.


THE pupils having learned by experience with the scale and
weights that 16 ounces make one pound, 8 ounces, one half
pound, 4 ounces one quarter of a pound, the following table may
be written on the blackboard and copied by the pupils on their
slates, then memorized, so that they can repeat it in order, or
answer any question as to how much of one weight it takes to
make another weight.


16 ounces make one pound. Sign : oz. for ounce.

8 " " one half pound. " Ib. for pound.

4 " " one quarter of a pound.

100 pounds make one hundred-weight. " cwt. for 100 pounds.

20 hundred-weight make one ton.
2000 pounds make one ton.


For pupils who are advanced beyond the simple rules of arith-
metic, the following tables are given :


7000 grains make one pound. Sign : Ib. for pound.

60 pounds one bushel of wheat. " bush, for bushel.

barrel of flour. bbl. for barrel.

" " beef or pork.

" " salt,
old ton, or gross weight ton.


200 "
280 "
2240 "
100 " quintal of fish.

144 " avoirdupois equal 175 Ibs. troy.
192 ounces " " 175 02. "

1 ounce " " 437ij grains.^

1 " troy " 480~ "

1 grain " " 1 grain avoirdupois.

1 pound " " 5760 grains.


Explain the use of this weight. Compare" the grains, ounces,
and pounds with those of common weight. Let the pupils see
that the common pound is heavier than the troy pound, by 1240
grains ; and that the ounce of troy is heavier than the ounce in
common, or avoirdupois weight, by 42j grains.

24 grains make one pennyweight. Sign : dwt. for pennyweight.
20 pennyweights make one ounce. " oz. for ounce.

12 ounces make one pound. " Ib. for pound.

5760 grains " " "
480 " " " ounce.


Explain its use for mixing medicines. Lead the pupils to
notice that the pound, ounce, and grain are the same as in troy
weight; that the only difference between the troy and apothe-
caries' weight consists in the subdivisions of the ounce into
drachms and scruples.

20 grains make one scruple. Sign : 9.

3 scruples " " drachm. " 3.

8 drachms " " ounce. " f.

12 ounces " " pound.
480 grains " " ounce.
5760 " " " pound.



In tins weight the grain is equal to % of a troy grain ; and the
diamond grain is divided into sixteen parts :

16 parts make one grain.
4 grains " " carat.
1 carat equals 3J- grains troy.

Some idea of the rate at which the value of diamonds in-
creases as the weight increases may be understood from the fol-
lowing statement : If a rough diamond weighing one carat is
worth $9, a cut diamond weighing one carat is worth $36 ; and
a cut diamond weighing two carats would be worth four times
$36, or $144; one weighing three carats, nine times $36, or $324.
To get an idea of the relative value of diamonds of equal purity
and different weight, multiply the price of one carat by the square
of the weight in carats.

An Assay Carat means one-twenty-fourth part ; 20-carat gold
contains 20 parts of pure gold and 4 parts alloy; 18-carat gold
contains 18 parts of pure gold and 6 parts alloy.


THE teacher may give interesting exercises by showing the
pupils what objects are lighter than water, which are heavier than
water, and how many times heavier; and thus develop more fully
ideas as to heavy and light objects.

Fill a glass jar with water, and place it on a table before the
class. Put in the water a cork cut in the shape of a cube, also
pieces of poplar, pine, maple, and oak wood cut in the same shape
and size. Let the pupils notice which sink lowest in the water.
Try a piece of ice in the same way, and they will see that about
YTJ of it will remain above the water. Also, place in the water
objects that are heavier than water, and let the pupils observe
that some sink slowly, that others sink quickly.

Online LibraryNorman Allison CalkinsManual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education → online text (page 5 of 35)