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First Lessons in Practical Biology

Nature volume 110, pages 601602 (04 November 1922) | Download Citation



MR. SHANN's endeavour to provide a course of biology suitable for lower fifth forms, and within the means of the average school, is not entirely satisfying. Rightly he relies on plants for the experimental work, and on both plants and animals, employing them in alternate chapters, for the observational. But experiments on plant physiology are not reached until chapters 16 and 17; and by that time the preceding lessons have incidentally given the very information which the experiments should surely be intended to enable the pupils to discover for themselves. There are good chapters on variation and heredity, soils, insect pests, and other topics of general biological interest; but neither with plants nor with animals does the author make the best use of his material as a means of education and of training the powers of observation and reasoning. If he disapproves of the heuristic method, he should at any rate indicate the evidence on which conclusions as to homologies are based, and not be content with mere statements.

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