Notes of Lessons: Biology, Class Ia and Ib

Notes of Lessons: Biology, Class Ia and Ib

[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 Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Subject: Winter Sleep and Spring Awakening • Group: Science • Classes Ia and Ib • Age: 6-8 • Time: 20 minutes

By E. J. Carter
The Parents’ Review, 1904, pp. 387-388


I. To increase the children’s interest in tree life and plant life.

II. To show them what a beautiful provision is made for the trees in the winter.

III. To show them how much we depend on the sun as the agent by which vegetation is revived in the spring.


Step I.—Ask the children what they have noticed about the trees in their walks or in their own gardens (leafless, but with little buds), and how long the buds they see have been there.

Step II.—Tell them that winter is like night to the tree, that the tree takes its rest during winter, before going to rest it makes preparation for the morning (Spring). What does it do? It puts out buds, wrapped up in a thick covering which will burst and let them out when the right time comes.

Step III.—Show them specimens of the buds on different trees—chestnut, oak, ash, sycamore, beech, hazel, willow. Let them notice which show signs of awakening and which are still asleep.

Step IV.—Ask them why the tree needs such a long sleep. It has been working all through the spring and summer into the autumn, day and night; it does not sleep at night as we do. (How do we know this? We find buds have opened out during the night). After such a long day it needs a long night. Get them to compare spring to our morning, summer to mid-day, autumn to evening, and winter to night.

Step V.—Speak of the awakening of plants. Let the children say what flowers they have seen out. Snowdrops, crocuses, primroses, violets? Tell them the difference between these and trees. The flowers and leaves die, the root only lives. The future plant sleeps in the root. Show them bulbs and springing flowers, and let them find out that “spring” is so named because of the springing up of life everywhere. Describe how the bulbs are taken care of through the winter, and when they begin to peep above the ground, the snow comes down to cover them and keep them warm.

Step VI.—Ask them the cause of this awakening. What is the power that calls them to life? The sun. He brings light and heat, and the buds respond to his genial influence. Compare the winter sun with the summer sun. He rises earlier, stays a longer time, is brighter and hotter than in winter. We begin to feel the difference ourselves now; the plants and flowers feel it still more. They are very sensitive to light and heat.