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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE EXERCISES                             159

How TO INITIATE THE CHEJ> INTO THE EXERCISES
WITH THE SENSE MATERIAL, CONTRASTS, IDENTITIES, GRADATIONS

One ought to begin with very few contrasting stimuli, for
which purpose is collected a number of objects similar in
Icind but showing gradation, growing finer and less perceptible.
For example, when it is a matter of recognizing tactile differences,
we begin with only two surfaces, one perfectly smooth and the
other very rough; if we are experimenting with the weight of
things, first will be presented tablets which are the lightest of
the series and afterwards the heaviest; for sounds, the two
extremes of the graduated series are offered; for colours,
the brightest and most highly contrasting tints like red and
yellow are chosen; for shapes, a circle and a triangle, and
so on.

In order to make the differences still clearer, it is well to
mix together with the greatest contrasts the identities (in con-
trast to the great differences), offering a double series of
objects; in a mixture of pairs, in which all are mixed in con-
fusion, would be sought similar things two by two—two sounds
equally loud and two equally faint, two things having the same
yellow colour and two of an identical red. The exercise of
searching for similarities among contrasts marks the differences
strongly, by making them prominent.

The final exercise, that of gradation, consists in placing in
graded order a system of similar objects mixed up confusedly;
for example, a series of cubes of the same colour but of different
dimensions, the difference being systematically graduated (for
example, having a difference of 1 cm. in the length of the sides).
Of a similar character will be the presentation of a series of yellow
objects, the shades of which will grow gradually paler, from dark
to light; or a series of rectangles having one pair of equal sides
fixed, and the other decreasing systematically, Such objects must
be arranged side by side in the positions which they should occupy
in a graduated series.