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Physical Science in Schools

Nature volume 13, pages 430431 | Download Citation



PROF. ROSCOE has taken the right view when he says that science teaching in schools will remain unsatisfactory as long as it does not receive the same, range and time as the subjects which at the present time preponderate so greatly. Granting the necessity of devoting more time to science, it follows, almost as a matter of course, that science teaching ought to begin at an earlier age than now. For else, where is the time to come from? The other alternative—to add a couple of years to the time required to pass through the present curriculum of a public school—would be accepted by very few parents. But there is no need for this alternative. The teaching of the elements of physical and chemical knowledge is most beneficially begun in early years. Some of the foremost thinkers of the scientific world assert and support this view, as may be gathered, for instance, from the Sixth Report of the Royal Commission on Science Teaching. I would mention, in addition to this, that Liebig strenuously advocated (“Chemische Briefe,” Leipz. und Heidelb., 1865, 5oth letter) the teaching of such elementary chemistry in village schools as bears upon the constitution of air, water, the ash of plants, and explains the process of combustion. The great German philosopher would hardly have done so, without being sure that the pupils will profit by the teaching. The average age of such a pupil is, I believe, twelve years, and he receives, as far as I am aware, no preparatory instruction in algebra or geometry.

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  1. University College School, London

    • R. GERSTL


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