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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE TECHNIQUE OF LESSONS                 207

The same plan is followed with the graduated systems of
prisms, rods and cubes. The prisms are thick or thin in one set,
and high and low in another and of equal length. The rods are
long and short and of equal thickness. The cubes are large and
small and differ in all three dimensions.

Form. The teacher, after the child has shown that he can
with certainty identify the shapes of the flat insets, begins thelessons
in nomenclature with the two contrasted forms, the square and
the circle, following the usual method. She will not teach all the
names relating to the geometrical figures but only some of the
principal ones, such as the square, circle, rectangle, triangle, oval,
pointing out specially that there are narrow, long, rectangles whilst
others are wide and short, and that the squares have equal sides
and can only be large and small. This is pretty easily shown with
the insets; no matter in what direction the square piece is turned,
it always enters its hole. Instead of that, the rectangle, if placed
across the hole, will not fit into it. The child works away very
cheerfully at this exercise, for which he arranges in the frame a.
square and a series of rectangles having the longer side equal to
the side of the square, and the other side gradually decreasing in
the five successive pieces.

By similar procedure there is demonstrated the difference be-
tween the oval, the ellipse and the circle. The circle can be
embedded in its socket, however it may be turned round; the ellipse
does not enter when placed crosswise, but, provided that it is placed
lengthwise it can be reversed as regards its ends; the oval, on the
other hand, not only will not enter when placed across, but its
ends are not interchangeable, and it must be placed with the wide
curve towards the wide part of the cavity, and the narrow towards
the narrow part. The circles, large and small, enter their beds
when turned all ways. I advise teaching the difference between
the oval and the ellipse at a much later stage, and not to all the
children, but to those who show themselves particularly interested
in form either by their frequent choice of the game or by their
requests. (I would prefer that such a difference should be