The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Notes of Lessons.

Volume 15, Number 1, 1904, pg. 67

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children's regular studies in the P.U.S. (Parents' Review School), of some passage in one or other of their school books.--ED.]


Group: Natural Science. Class IV. Average Age: 10. Time: 40 mins.

By Lillian Lees.



I. To interest the girls in the study of comparative anatomy and the classification of animal life.
II. To show the use of the microscope, X-ray photography and ordinary photography in scientific research.
III. To inspire them with a desire to study zoology on their own account; both in books and from life.


I. Specimens of the star-fish and sea-urchin
II. Microscope, slides showing tube feet, spines.
III. Model of star-fish, sewn along rays to resemble a sea-urchin.
IV. Blackboard for diagrams.
V. X-ray photographs, shewing position of grooves in which the tube feet are inserted; position of eyes, digestive arrangement, etc.


Step I.--Introduce the subject by showing the girls specimens (if possible, alive) of a star-fish and sea-urchin, also specimens of dried star-fish and a sea-urchin without its spines, and talk a little about the different groups or families into which animal-life is divided, showing them that the study of animal classification and comparative anatomy is even more fascinating than that of plants, and that one can set about it in very much the same way.

Step II.--With the help of the natural objects, diagrams, X-ray photos and the microscope, show the mechanism of the star-fish; describing the action of the tube feet, and showing the position of the madreporic plate, the mouth, eyes, etc.

Step III.--By means of a model of a star-fish (in which the rays are sewn together along the edges to form a flattened ball) and also by examining the shell of the sea-urchin, draw from the girls the connection between the two animals. Let them show on the shell of the sea-urchin the lines of holes for tube feet, the position of the mouth, eyes, etc.

Step IV.--By means of diagrams, describe the childhood of the two creatures, the girls, of course, noticing this connection.

Step V.--Let the girls compare the outer covering of the two creatures, drawing diagrams of the pedicellariae and the spines, and letting them tell the probable use of these appendages. Tell the girls that it is from this peculiar skin that this family is named (for by this time they will see that they are related), and that you want them to try to find out the name of the family for themselves. Tell them that the meaning of the word "sea-urchin" is derived from the French word oursin--hedgehog, also that the Greek word for hedgehog is echinos. Ask them the meaning of the word "epidermist," epi = upon, derma = skins, and from this perhaps they will be able to come to something like the name "Echinodermata." Interest them in comparative anatomy by comparing the joint (ball and socket) of the spine of a sea-urchin, with our thigh-joint; and the growth of the shell of same with the skull of a baby's head.

Step VI--Let the girls classify the Echinodermata, or rather the two specimens of it which have been taken, comparing them thus:


Body stellate.   Body globular (traces
  of stellate formation.)
Skin horny.   Skin spiny.
Pedicellariae present.   Pedicellariae present.
Movement by tube feet.   Movement by tube feet.
Eyes present.   Eyes present.
Mouth ventral.   Mouth ventral.
Madreporic plate dorsal.   Madreporic plate dorsal.


Subject: Arithmetic.

Group: Mathematics. Class II. Average Age: 9 1/2 yrs. Time: 30 min.

By Hilda M. Fountain.



I. To assist the cultivation of the pupils' mental habits of attention, promptness, and accuracy.
II. To exercise their reasoning powers.
III. To make use of what they have previously learnt of reduction of fractions to the lowest common denominator and to lowest terms in teaching the new rules for the addition and subtraction of fractions.
IV. To get the pupils to arrive at the rules by the investigation of examples.
V. To help the pupils to realize the fractions they deal with by means of concrete examples.


Step I.--Give each child two strips of paper of the same size, each divided into a number of equal parts, 6 and 4. Draw from the pupils that in one case the whole is divided into 6 parts, and that each part is the fraction 1/6 of the whole, in the other the whole is divided into four equal parts and each part is 1/4 of the whole.

Step II.--Ask the children to add fractions:

    1/6 + 2/6, 3/6 + 3/6, 3/6 + 1/6 - 2/6, 1/4 + 2/4, 3/4 + 1/4 - 2/4,

illustrating with the bits of paper. Then give other examples with various denominators to be worked mentally, these also giving exercise in addition and subtraction.

    1/7 + 4/7 - 3/7, 8/11-3/11 + 2/11, 5/17 - 3/17 + 13/17, 18/25 + 9/25 - 1/25.

Step III.--Draw from the children that these fractions are all sevenths, or all elevenths, or all seventeenths, i.e., they all have the same name because the denominators are the same. Ask for the Latin word for name, nomen, nominis, to shew the connection. Hence elicit the rule that things of the same name can be added together. Give examples of quantities which cannot be added together. Five shillings and six cows cannot be added together; get the reason from the children. The things have different names and the six and five added together do not make eleven of any kind of thing.

Step IV.--Tell the children to add a halfpenny and a farthing together. Ans.: Three farthings. Draw from them that they say three farthings, because they know that a half-penny is equal to two farthings. Write on the blackboard:

    1/2 + 1/4 = 2/4 + 1/4 = 3/4

Ask what change we have made in the half-penny by writing it down as 2/4. We have called it two farthings and given it the same name and denominator as the one farthing. And then we have added the numerators (2 + 1) for the numerator of the answer. Get the children to give the rule: reduce fractions to their lowest common denominator before adding or subtracting them.

Step V.--Give exercises on addition and subtraction of fractions to be worked mentally.

    1/2 + 1/3, 1/2 - 1/5, 4/5 + 1/2, 6/15 - 2/5

Give examples of concrete quantities: What is the difference between 2/3 of a foot and 1/4 of a foot? How much is 2/3 and 3/8 of a day? What is the different between 3/6 of a year and 3/4 of a year? Let the children notice that in these cases the denominator is the number of inches in a foot, hours in a day, or months in a year.

Step VI.--Give examples of abstract fractions involving addition and subtraction to be worked on the board, the teacher working the first.

    3 3/7 + 3/4 5/14 = 3 12 + 21 - 10 / 28 = 3 33-10 / 28 = 3 23/28

    5/6 + 8/9 - 3/7

    5/9 - 1/4 + 2/3

Let the children find the lowest common denominator and see that they express the answer in the lowest terms.

Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, March 2020