Notes of Lessons: Biology, Class Ib

Notes of Lessons: Biology, Class 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.]

Group: Natural Science • Class Ib • Age: 9 • Time: 20 minutes

By D. Smyth
The Parents’ Review, 1903, pp. 145-147



I. To teach the children something about the common garden spider, and so give them an added interest in their walks out of doors.

II. To arouse a feeling of wonder and reverence for insect life.

III. To increase the powers of attention, observation and narration.


Step I.—Let the children look carefully at a spider, and ask them to describe its appearance and everything they notice about it.

Step II.—Make a diagram of the spider on the board enlarged, so that the children may get a clear idea of the shape and position of the spinnerets, breathing holes, eyes, fangs, etc., which would be difficult to see distinctly on the living spider, and point out these parts, giving the name for each, and telling them the use of each part.

Step III.—Now ask the children to think of the spiders’ webs they have seen, and how wonderfully they are made. From what the children have already been told, they will know that the web comes out of her body through the spinnerets. Then draw a diagram of the five spinnerets with the threads coming out, and while drawing it explain that it does not come out of one hole, as might be expected, but that there are 100 holes in each spinneret. As there are five spinnerets the children will be able to tell you that there are 500 holes altogether. Out of each hole a line comes, and one thread of a spider’s web is made up of 500 lines, as in the diagram.

Step IV.—Show how the spider begins her web, by means of a drawing on the board of a suitable place for a web; a branch of a tree and a post or bush; and explain how the spider begins her web, and all her proceedings, at the same time drawing in the web. She begins at (a) and goes on to (b), then from (b) to (c), and explain that these four lines take longer to construct than all the other part, and are the most irksome.

Step V.—Explain how the spider catches her prey. After finishing the web she carries a line (f) with her, which is attached to the middle of the web, and hides under some leaf. Directly an insect gets into the web she feels a pull and immediately darts out. The children will most likely be able to tell how she kills her prey, from the information they have already had about her poison fangs. Tell them what the spider does when her prey is too strong to kill in this way; she weaves a covering of silk round him, till he can struggle no more.

Step VI.—Tell them that in the autumn the spider lays her eggs. She spins a cocoon scarcely half an inch across and lays in it from six to eight hundred eggs and then leaves it.

Step VII.—Summarize. Go over the points you wish them to remember.

Step VIII.—Recapitulation.