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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/104

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

rections from the school as a center, a considerable stock of miscellaneous information regarding the surrounding region will eventually be acquired by the pupils. Before they are ready to pass outward to a yet more extensive geographical survey, it will be desirable for them to pursue a similar course to that which they followed before quitting the consideration of the parish. They wall be asked to arrange in summary form the information they have gathered, so as to compile a geographical description of another definite area of ground. In the United Kingdom, and generally in English-speaking countries, the next area after the parish for purposes of this kind is the county. And what now remains to be accomplished is to do for the native county what has already been done for the native parish.

The teacher is now in a position to consider the most important step that his scholars have yet taken in their geographical training. They have now to realize the relation borne by their own surroundings to the whole country. As before, this step must be taken deliberately upon a map, which ought to be a large, clearly engraved wall map of the country, not overloaded with details. The first use of such a general map of the country probably requires a greater mental effort on the part of young learners than we usually suspect. It affords, however, according to the method of instruction here advocated, another and excellent opportunity of training the sense of proportion in geography. The faculty of readily appreciating the relation between the map and the area it represents; of recognizing the actual value of the distances expressed upon the map; of realizing from the engraved lines of water-course what must be the general disposition of the ground, should be sedulously cultivated from the very commencement of the employment of general maps of countries.

When the broad features of the country and the meaning of the more frequent geographical terms have been mastered by an attentive examination of the wall-map, there remains only the final step in the elementary stage of tuition, which is to pass outward from the country and realize its position upon the surface of the earth. I have alluded to the way in which the idea of the shape of the earth is to be impressed upon the minds of the learners. It is at the present stage of their training that this can most conveniently be accomplished. They have gradually had their ideas of geographical space extended from their own immediate surroundings, and are now prepared to realize the conception of the size and form of the whole planet. The simpler kinds of proof of the globular shape of the earth will be given, and the lesson will be illustrated from the school globe, which must now be brought into constant use. Having grasped the notion that they are living on a huge ball, the scholars will next be asked to find out upon the globe the position of their own country. Some little time should be spent in comparing the representation of the country there with that shown on the large wall-map already used. The out-