Subject: Introductory Lesson on the Elementary Classification of Plants according to their Natural Orders • Group: Natural Science • Class: II and III • Average Age: 10 • Time: 20 to 25 minutes
By Lillian Lees
The Parents’ Review, 1902, p. 738
(1) To give a direct object and interest to the children in their Nature walks.
(2) To teach elementary classification of plants without dissection.
(3) To teach the children to recognize the two families, Cruciferæ and Papilionaceæ, simply by examination of the petals and stamens.
(4) To give a dainty idea about the sub-order Papilionaceæ, by likening the corolla to a butterfly, and quoting the following lines of Keats’:—
“Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight,
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers, catching at all things,
To bind them all about with fairy rings.”
(5) To incite the children to go on and find out about other orders by a similar process, and to educate themselves along this line.
Step I.—Introduce subject by talking about the characteristic features of human races and families.
Step II.—Tell the children that they are going to learn to recognize two families of flowers. Give them specimens of Cruciferæ and Papilionaceæ; with the help of diagrams on the board, help them to name the first order, giving them (Sylva and Harold already knowing a little Latin) the derivation of the name. Work out the same idea with regard to the second order, but give them the initial idea of its likeness to a butterfly by showing them a picture of a sweet pea. Quote Keats’ lines above mentioned.
Step III.—Draw the petals of the Papilionaceæ on the board, if possible drawing from children their names.
Step IV.—Flowers to be examined again carefully, and children to say what they notice as to the peculiarity of the stamens.
Step V.—If time permits, contrast any small Crucifer with Rue-leafed Saxifrage, and let the children point out the difference between the flowers of the two plants, and say which belongs to the Cruciferæ family and why.