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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 85

Grade 2, or Advanced Bionomic Course

Grade 2, or Advanced Bionomic Course.

I am glad to see that the principle of going over the ground repeatedly in an expansive progression, is adopted in your draft, where the words "revision" and "extension" frequently occur. It is particularly in the second Period that this principle would receive its application. The 468 hours of Science teaching which its three years would command, and which I will assume to be again pretty evenly divided between two contemporaneous Courses, would add but few new branches of knowledge to those previously taken up, but these would be so altered as to give them for the second time the attraction of novelty. Many interpolations would be made, a less juvenile tone would prevail, and thanks to the foundation already acquired, a more scientific management of the subjects would be adopted.

Of the three years assigned to the Advanced Bionomic Course, the first will be occupied with Mechanical and Chemical Physics. Whilst time should be saved whenever possible by passing rapidly over easy things which the Pupils may be found to have sufficiently retained, some portions of Mechanical Physics should receive con- page 27 siderable accession; as for instance a fuller account of various methods of the applying and transmitting Power, and of the most useful forms of compound Machinery. Electricity and Magnetism, omitted or very briefly mentioned in the previous Period, would now be duly treated of; the necessity for a certain knowledge of chemical substances and affinities being no longer an impediment The Polarization of Light and Spectrum Analysis, might similarly be introduced, though the fuller development of such high class subjects might be reserved for the third Period.

The Chemistry of the second Period, occupying its 2nd year, though still elementary, and decidedly rather utilitarian than theoretical, would distinguish itself from that of the first Period by two prominent diiferences:—lstly. The Pupils having acquired a certain knowledge of the appearance and properties of the chief Elementary Bodies, and some idea of the regularity of the laws of Synthesis, or in other words, having certain distinct chemical images and positive facts in their minds, will now find it comparatively easy to understand the doctrine of Equivalents, and the use of Symbolic Notations. To explain these according to the newest approved system will be the first duty of the Teacher in beginning this second Chemical Course. He must however not over-rate the ability of his young hearers to take in what is perfectly familiar to himself, nor expect them to feel as much interest in formulas inscribed on a black board, as in experiments.

2ndly. There will not be as before the awkward necessity for either postponing the account of the processes by which the early chemicals are obtained, or naming articles not yet come to.

3rdly. The Teacher will similarly be able to go much more freely into the uses of chemical substances when describing them, and accordingly it is proposed that the applications of Chemistry to Domestic and Industrial page 28 Technology should be largely included. But in order to accomplish this, the fact that Science teaching at School is necessarily confined within narrow limits of time, must never be forgotten, and among the vast multitude of products which claim mention in a complete treatise of Chemistry, only those should occupy the memory of the pupils, which have a practical importance, or serve to illustrate some useful point of theory.

The third year of the second Period will be occupied with Physiology, and with the valuable guidance which that Science, supported by Chemistry and Natural History affords us in the form of Hygiene and Domestic Economy.—Thanks to the now considerably expanded Chemical Knowledge, it would become possible to include the results of the most recent researches as to the functions of the Blood in the production of warmth, in the manifestation of strength, in supplying plastic materials, or in eliminating effete ones from the system.

In most sciences the differences of tuition at different ages, depend almost entirely on the development of the ability to understand. In treating of Physiology, knowledge that might be unquestionably useful, must frequently be postponed from motives of propriety, which require strict attention and judicious management.

[P.S. 1885. I may refer to the "Synopsis" of the proposed development of the Parkes Museum for a care-fully classified enumeration of the subjects comprised in Hygienic Science. Its preparation was courteously entrusted to me, in consequence of the experience I had acquired in forming an educational collection of a similar purpose under the title of the Economic Museum of Twickenham.]