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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/834

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the lever into equal parts, adjusting weights, little or more work with metal, according to taste and time—the wood may be finished in oil, varnish, or paint.
2. A good lesson in form can be given upon it.
3. It affords an excellent exercise in drawing.
4. There can be performed a series of simple experiments involving no mathematics. These may be made the basis of a series of simple language-lessons, the children observing the experiments and describing what is done and the results.
All this prepares the way for experiments involving arithmetical processes and leading to the law of the lever's action. I can imagine no better way of teaching ratio and proportion than through the results obtained from this series of experiment. The stimulus, interest, definiteness of thought coming from this method would more than compensate for the extra time.
5. The story of Archimedes and the discovery of the principle of the lever would interest a class of almost any age. Nothing could be better to cultivate language and develop the historical sense than the reproduction of such stories in oral and written speech.

This illustrates the uses to which I would put every piece of apparatus in our exhibit.

There is another very important item. The forms in which arithmetical quantities are actually put in commerce and science should be forms in which they come before the children in the schools. They should learn the ordinary business forms and operations, and should get a sense of the values of industrial products, in connection with their regular work in school.

These can be taught incidentally in connection with such language lessons as I have indicated—punctuation, forms of address, and nearly all the mechanism of writing, as ordinarily treated in works upon elements of composition and rhetoric.

During the last year, in my own teaching, I have had the reproductions of lessons in physics, geology, and natural history, put in forms of letters, advertisements, etc. The novelty added to the interest, while the many changes in the form of reproduction changed the point of view, stimulated thought, and caused the work, as a whole, to make a deeper impression.

The special value to the pupils of our schools, of the work involved in such an industrial course as we have indicated, would be:

1. The cultivation of observation and judgment, the discipline of hand and eye, obtained in this way, would not be second to that obtained in any other way.

2. The course in mathematics, together with the course in language and geography, could be made the means of acquainting them with those natural products and forces which underlie all industries and all arts.