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Animals are decidedly more attractive to children than plants, and the interest increases as we approach the higher orders, probably from their closer affinity to man. Specimens of many of the smaller kinds, such as insects and molluscs, can be easily obtained to form the subjects for lessons; and for the larger species, pictures may be used, taking care to commence with those which the children are likely to have seen, and always directing them to observe the animals themselves as they have opportunity. It is easy to lead even little children to distinguish between vertebrate and invertebrate animals. The perfect development of the vertebrated form may be pointed out in the human frame, and the invertebrate (or the absence of a skull and back bone) in the common garden snail, or in insects. By exhibiting at the same time such specimens as a snail, a fly or beetle, and a common star-fish, and comparing them, a very distinct idea of the three subdivisions of the invertebrated animals may be imparted. In the vertebrated animals the distinctions are more easily made; from the fact that the children are likely to have seen living specimens of the principal orders. A lesson should be given on each of the great classes, explaining their general structure and habits; and then more detailed lessons on the orders, and finally lessons on particular animals. Sometimes it is well to contrast two species, by which the peculiarities of both are better brought out, as in the following lesson : See, children, what I have to-day for us to talk about. I will pass them round for you to examine more closely by and by; but at present you must be contented to see them from my hand. Look at this butterfly ; count its wings—there are four of them. Here is another insect—the common blue-bottle fly; count its wings also; it has only two. Are the wings of both insects alike in appearance ? No; those of the butterfly are downy looking, because they are covered with little scales, while the wings of the fly are thin and transparent. Which has the longest wings? The butterfly; and see how beautifully marked they are. Both insects have the body divided into three parts. I will point to them—the head—the chest—the abdomen. The butterfly has two long horns, or antennæ, and two large eyes—not like our eyes (which are simple) but as if many thousand eyes were pressed close together, so that the insect may see in every direction without turning its head. If you try to catch a fly, it is sure to see your hand coming, from whatever direction you try to approach it. Count the feet of the fly; it has six-so have most other insects. Look at the front part of the butterfly's head, and you will see a fine thread coiled up: this is the trunk, or tube, by which it gathers food. You may see also a trunk on the mouth of the fly, by which it sucks up food and moisture. These insects were not always like what they are
At first they were eggs—then caterpillars, or grubs. You may have seen in the garden the caterpillars on the leaves; they eat a great deal, and grow very fast, changing their skins several times. At last they seek out some hidden spot, and seem to die; then they appear to be wrapped up in a curious little case or skin.
After some time this case bursts open, and the insect comes out quite changed. It is no longer a caterpillar, with many short feet, crawling and eating greedily, but a light beautiful creature, with pretty wings and six jointed legs, as you see now! longer devours leaves, but lives on honey, which it sucks out of the cups of flowers with its long trunk, and it flies about in the sunshine. It will soon lay its eggs on the same kind of plant which it once lived on itself, and then it will die !
Fishes.-What is this a picture of ? A fish. What fish? A herring. Can you tell me what fishes are covered with ? Scales. The scales grow from the skin in the same manner as the hairy covering of land animals. Have fishes any feet? No; but where the feet should be, they have fins, to assist them in swimming. What kind of a tail has a fish? Generally flat and broad; it is by bending the body, and pressing the tail against the water, that they move forwards. Look at the form of the fish—its head tapers to a point—the body swells in the middle, and tapers or grows less towards the tail, and the head seems to join the body without a neck. How do fishes breathe ? Not as we do, by taking pure air into the lungs, but by taking water into their mouths, and passing it out through their gills, which are the lungs of fishes; but it is not water, after all, that keeps the fish alive; for if there were not air mixed with the water, the fish would die, so that it is the air which is in the water that they breathe. All fishes have a skull and back bone, a brain, and nerves to feel with. They have eyes, but no eye-lids--ears, which are inside their heads, and they have the senses of smell, taste, and touch. The blood of fishes is cold. Fish are produced from small
You have seen the hard roe of the herring; this is the spawn. You know that fish live and move about in the water; but I want you to think how they move. When we walk about, we rest our weight upon the ground, and move along by steps. Birds, when at rest, perch on trees or on the ground to support the weight of their bodies, and they fly by beating their wings on the air, thus supporting and moving themselves; but if a bird closes his wings, he falls to the ground, for he is heavier than the air. Now let us turn to the fish. If you drop a stone into the water, it sinks. Why? It is heavier than the water. If you place a piece of wood on the water, it floats. Why? It is lighter than the water; but a fish neither rises nor sinks; it is about the same weight as the water, so that it can stay still where it likes, and has
only to move forwards, and does not require to support its own weight. God has made the fish so, because water is more dense than air, and it requires much more strength to move through it. What do fishes eat? Some eat such vegetables as grow in the water, and others eat small animals or other fishes. What a multitude of fishes of various form and size the great ocean contains, and how many different kinds of food they require! Yet all are fed and have enough! Who feeds and supports them? Reptiles.—Did
any of you, children, ever see a frog or a lizard? They are cold-blooded like the fishes, and are called reptiles. There are four kinds of reptiles—serpents, lizards, tortoises, and frogs. Look at this picture of a frog; it is sitting up, and resting its two forefeet on the ground. It moves along by leaps or jumps, and feeds on little insects, catching them with its slimy tongue. It lives sometimes on land, and sometimes in the water, and for this reason is called amphibious. Reptiles, like fishes, are produced from eggs.
Look next at the picture of the lizard. He is an active, pretty little animal, with a long tapering tail. You may see him in sunny weather running about on the dry stony banks; but do not try to catch him by the tail, or perhaps it may break off in your
hand! Some lizards are very large; one kind, the crocodile, is as much as thirty feet in length ! Can you show me how long that is?
Here is the picture of a serpent. He has a long thin body, and no legs. How does he move? By bending his body in a waved form, and so crawling along ; sometimes he climbs trees by winding himself round the branches. Serpents are produced from eggs, and they are cold blooded. What do they eat?
They eat animal food; some catch young birds, or suck birds' eggs. The serpents of hot countries are often very large, and feed on large animals. Some kinds could kill a man or a deer.
Look at this picture of a tortoise. He is not like the other reptiles; his body is enclosed in a horny shell, out of which he puts his head, feet, and tail. He walks slowly, moving himself along on his toes. Has he a back bone? Yes; but it is spread out with the ribs and breast bone to form the shell. The tortoise is very strong, and can move with a man on his back! He lives very long, much longer than a man. Some of them are very large, and so heavy that it would take six or eight men to lift one of them ! The turtle (which is like a tortoise) lives much in the sea, and is caught and used by men for food. Reptiles are most common in hot countries, and there the largest kinds are found.
Birds.—Birds have not cold blood, like reptiles, but warm like ourselves. They are produced from eggs, and
you know that they breathe air. Do you see this picture? What bird is it intended to represent ? A sparrow. You have often seen sparrows.
Name the parts to which I point. The beak the wings—the feet. The bodies of birds are kept warm by their feathers, which also serve to make them lighter for flying; and those on the wing form a sail or fan to catch the air, and support the weight of the bird. What a wonderful thing a bird's wing is! So light and yet so strong! All the skill of man could not make it. It is God's work. How swiftly and smoothly birds skim through the air! Sometimes high out of sight, like the lark; and sometimes low near the ground, like the swallow before rain. We are tired by a walk of a few miles, and want to rest; but some birds can fly thousands of miles without resting or stopping. Once a year birds lose their old feathers, and get new ones; this is called moulting. When walking out in the fields, some of you may have seen a bird's nest; how neatly it is made! Birds build nests to hold their
young. With what does the bird make its nest? With its bill, which serves it as a hand. Some birds (like the