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FIRST YEAR OF SCIENCE
JOHN C. HESSLER, Ph. D.
PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY, THE JAMES MILLIKIN UNIVERSITY.
IN THE HYDE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, CHICAGO
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BENJ. H. SANBORN & CO.
JOHN C. HESSLER
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The Lakeside Press
M. N. W
The chief interest in Secondary School science, which for a long time was concentrated upon the later years of the course, has recently been shifted to the work of the first year. The leading reason for this is the conviction, which is rapidly becoming general, that the first science of the High School should be fundamental to the entire field of science and should not be any one of the special sciences. It is hard to see how Physiography, Physiology, and Biology, the usual subjects of the early High School years, can be taught satisfactorily unless the pupil has previously acquired the elementary physical and chemical conceptions which underlie Physiography, Physiology, and Biology. A proof that this need is felt is the fact that many teachers of first-year science, no matter what their subjects may be called, find themselves obliged, even now, to give a large part of their class time to the presentation of fundamental physical and chemical ideas.
The problem involved in the proper preparation of pupils for the study of Physiography and the biological sciences cannot be solved by the transfer of Physics and Chemistry, as formal subjects, to the first year of the Hig School curriculum. The cause lies both in the difficulty of the subjects themselves and also in the high development which these sciences have reached in Secondary Schools. For Physics and Chemistry are now taught in Secondary Schools in a way and with an
equipment far in advance even of College instruction in these subjects a generation ago. Work of this character requires a certain maturity on the part of the pupil, as well as some knowledge of other High School subjects, and it cannot be maintained unless Physics and Chemistry are kept in the later years of the course.
While Physics and Chemistry as such ought not to be put into the early years of the High School, yet instruction in the simpler principles of these sciences can be given in a first-year General Science course. The most important part of this course will be introductory notions of physical and chemical phenomena, but the course should include much more than this. The problems of modern conveniences and of their relation to scientific discovery, the soil as the basis of agriculture, plants and animals and their ascent from simpler forms to those that are more complex, all can find a place in such a course. sanitation, the application of science to community life.
When we assign to General Science the scope suggested in the foregoing paragraph, the need of it in the first year of the High School course is self-evident. This is true even if we confine ourselves to the staple High School curriculum of a decade ago. But when we remember that this curriculum has been immeasurably enlarged by the introduction of short courses, business courses, domestic science courses, agricultural courses, and of vocational guidance in all courses, the demand for adequate first-year science instruction becomes imperative, and the argument for its introduction overwhelming.
The question that remains is: “Can such a General Science course be given to large, first-year High School classes,
with their varied needs, without special teachers particularly prepared for this subject and without expensive equipment for laboratory work?” The answer is certainly “Yes.” To give the answer in expanded form is the purpose of this book.
The "First Year of Science" is written to meet the need of General Science instruction. It consists of three parts: the text proper, the laboratory manual, and the Teacher's Handbook. The text and laboratory manual may be had either bound together or in separate volumes. If the writer were asked to characterize the book in a phrase or two, he would say that it is intended to stimulate uncommon thinking about common things, to produce a scientific attitude toward everyday problems, to give scientific knowledge to as large a body of our people as possible in order that modern inventions may be the tools and not merely the toys of the men and women into whose hands they are placed.
The text proper consists of descriptive matter, of exercises, and of chapter summaries. There are twenty chapters. As the Table of Contents shows, about half of these consist of elementary Physics and Chemistry. The chapters on Physics contain no formulas and only a few simple calculations; there are no symbols or equations in the chapters on Chemistry. The author's plan is to give only the primary notions of matter, force, and chemical action. These are needed for all subsequent work in pure or applied science, as well as for that general knowledge of common things which every person ought to carry away from a High School course.
In the latter half of the text are chapters on “Water,