Notes of Lessons: Biology, Class IV

Notes of Lessons: Biology, Class IV

[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.]

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

By Lillian Lees
The Parents’ Review, 1904, pp. 67-68

The Classification of Animal Life


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.

Apparatus Required

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 pedicellariæ 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 “epidermis,” epi = upon, derma = skin, 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: