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ple: should you like to dine upon chesnuts? Many of the Italian towns and villages are built on the hills; why is this? Because the valleys are often unhealthy, and the people who remain in them get fever and die.
The Turks.—The people who live in Turkey are very different in their habits from the other people of Europe.
Why is this? One great cause is that they are of a different religion, they are not Christians but Mahomedans ; another cause is that they came from Asia, and took possession of the part of Europe they now live in. The Turks build their houses of wood, in the eastern fashion; outside you only see high walls without windows, but inside there is a large open court, with rooms round it, and a covered terrace or verandah with a long sofa by the wall; here the men sit and talk and smoke, or drink coffee. The dinner is brought in on a tray and placed on a low stool, and they sit cross-legged on the ground to eat it. One part of a Turkish house is kept quite private; no strangers can go in ; it is in this part that the women live. Ă Turk dresses in a long loose pelisse, large loose trousers, and wears a turban on his head; the women wear veils, and will not let strangers see their faces. Near every Turkish town there is a great burial ground, with many tombs; often the burial grounds are larger than the cities; the Turks call them “ cities of silence;" they are planted with trees and pretty flowers, and the Turkish women often go to pray near the tombs of their relations, and to train and weed the flowers round them.
We give the foregoing merely to indicate the kind of lesson attractive to children. The teacher must seek for such information as will enable him to bring vividly before the minds of his pupils the peculiarities and general appearance of each country and its inhabitants.
A child gathering wild flowers or chasing butterflies is only indulging that instinctive love for animated nature, which, when well directed, leads to the study of natural history. We do not mean the natural history of books alone, but the actual observation of nature. The excellent training which this study affords both to the moral and reasoning faculties, and the pleasure it gives to children, plead strongly for its introduction into every school. We invite teachers to make the experiment, as the amount of labour required to make themselves sufficiently acquainted with the subject is not great, and is more than repaid by the interest it affords. Materials for lessons are always near at hand; an insect, a flower, or a shell is sufficient to attract the attention of the class; and in the hands of an intelligent teacher will furnish abundant matter for instruction. There is no need for going out of the way to seek for these things; the children themselves, if encouraged, will soon furnish them, and in this way a school cabinet may soon be formed. By thus leading the pupils to become acquainted with the natural history of their own neighbourhood, a surer foundation is laid than if we commenced by relating to them mere travellers' wonders of things they never saw. We have had in the Model School constant contributions varying with the seasons ; flowers and other parts of plants, curious insects, shells, and other spoils of the sea-minerals and fossils; all collected by the children themselves.
Some time ago, for instance, a little boy, walking with his mother, found a chrysalis suspended to a nettle leaf; he was impatient until he had placed it in the teacher's hands; its brilliant metallic lustre and curious form soon attracted the attention of the other children, and afforded an excellent opportunity for a lesson on the changes of insects. The chrysalis was then placed in a glass-case, and the greatest curiosity began to be manifested as to the coming forth of the butterfly; at last, one morning just as school had assembled, the little observers had the pleasure of seeing the perfect insect emerge, and take its
first flight! Dublin being a sea-port, we sometimes get contributions from the children of things from other countries. One little child obtained for us (through his uncle, a sailor in a West India ship), a piece of sugarcane; another very poor boy brought us a fine specimen of Indian corn and some pods of cotton, sent home by his brother, who had emigrated to America. Two children, who had been in East Indies with the mother, brought some silk-cotton and part of an elephant's tooth, and we have had branches of coral, foreign shells, and various other interesting specimens contributed in the same manner. A sweet little boy, four years old, the son of a sailor, obtained a promise from his father when about to depart on a voyage to the coast of Africa, that he would bring him a parrot for the school. For a long time he talked of, and anticipated its arrival, and the children of the school were equally anxious on the subject; but month after month passed and it never came, and news at last arrived of the poor father's death, of fever. We mention these instances merely to shew to teachers the interest which children
may be made to take in this study, and we need scarcely add, that the examination of the works of God is one great means by which children
may acquire ideas of His infinite wisdom and perfections.
Mere miscellaneous information, given without order, is not useful. Some plan must be followed, and a broad and simple classification should be adopted and taught from the commencement.
The children may first learn to distinguish between animal and vegetable life; this distinction may be clearly marked by the fact that plants, unlike animals, have no sensation, and by explaining the different modes in which plants and animals are nourished.
The first lesson on plants should be confined to imparting a general notion of their structure. A common weed in the hands of the teacher is sufficient for illus
tration. Let him point out to the class the roots, stem, leaves and flowers, and then proceed to explain the uses of those parts; as the roots to supply nourishment to the other organs, and to keep the plant in its proper position—the stem to produce and support the leaves—the leaf-stalk to support the leaf_the leaves to prepare the sap, by exposing it to the air (as the lungs prepare the blood in the bodies of animals)— the flower to prepare the fruit and seed—and the seeds to produce new plants. The next step is to draw attention to the structure of the several parts; the leaf is perhaps the best to commence with. Choose some simple leaf, as the poplar, and show its structure ; point out the stalk, the blade, and the veins, and explain how the sap circulates through the leaves, and returns to form the other parts of the plant: next exhibit several leaves (or what is better, small branches with leaves), and point out their differences. The first division of leaves is into straight or parallel veined, as in grasses—and net veined, as in the cherry. The teacher may choose, for illustration, to shew varieties of form, such leaves as the oak, rose, willow, chesnut, fir, carrot, parsley, shepherd's-purse, &c., and for the difference of texture, the laurel, mallow, houseleek, &c. The varieties of roots should also be exhibited to the class; the fibrous, as in grasses-creeping roots, as in mint and couch grasstuberous, as in the potato-bulbous, as in the tulip and onion—and branching, as the roots of trees. In this manner the general nature of the several parts of plants should be taught, and then the distinctions of the great divisions of the vegetable kingdom. Let us take, as an example, a lesson on the order violacece or violets. Teacher exhibits a complete plant of the pansy. What plant do I hold in
pansy Do you know any other name for it? Yes, it is sometimes called hearts
What are those little white threads at the lower part? They are the roots. Yes, and next is the soft green stem with the leaves; what shaped leaves are they? Long notched leaves. Look at the stem again, is it round ? No, it has edges or angles. Look now at the slender stalk on which the flower is placed; where does it grow from? From the place where the leaf joins the stem. Yes, flowers grow from the axil between the leaf and the stem. Look now at the blossom or flower, it grows in a little cup, which has five divisions like small leaves, which are called sepals ; then the large coloured leaves of the flower are called petals. Let us count them; there are five. Are they all of the same size? No; the two upper ones are the largest. Are they all alike in colour? No; the upper petals are deep purple; the lower ones pale yellow, streaked with purple veins; and in the middle of the flower is a little spot of green, and on the lower leaf some darker yellow. Let us now pull off the purple and yellow petals, (or crown of the flower) and the green sepals, or cup. What do you see now?-five thin pale yellow parts; these are the stamens, and serve to make the seed fruitful. We will now remove the stamens: what is left? It is called the pistil; it has a round body below, then a bent part like a neck, and at the top a little round head. The seeds are in the lower part, called the ovary; the part like a neck is the style, and the head is the stigma. When the seeds are ripe, the little pod, which contains them, opens (dividing into three parts) for them to fall out. Then they are shaken out by the wind, and fall into the ground to become new pansy roots. Repeat again the names of all the parts of the plant. What other flower have you seen resembling the pansy? The violet. What time of the year does the violet bloom ? Where is it found? Are all violets alike? No; the dog violet has no smell, and the sweet violet has. Are pansies ever found wild ? Yes, sometimes in corn fields.