Biology in the second plane of development
When we begin the work of biology in the elementary, we must consider the new characteristics that are now operating within the child. The tendencies remain the same, but there are new characteristics which support the work of the tendencies.
-The child still explores, but now uses imagination, which is aided by the reasoning mind.
-This elementary age child is interested in the how and the why. Not just in names and facts anymore. She’s not interested in the fact that the leaf is green – she wants to know WHY the leaf is green. She observes that a fish is dead and wants to know WHY the fish is dead.
-We have to know that we are working with a different kind of child in the elementary class; this means whenever we present plants and animals, or the parts of plants and animals, we must relate the function to the part. In other words, we don’t just give anatomy, we give physiology. The child comes to understand that it is the function that explains the reason for the behavior of the plant or animal.
From such experiences we provide in biology, it becomes apparent to the child that the behavior of the plant or animal is directly related to the function it must perform in order to survive.
NOTE: the Biology classification material appear to be out-dated. In one manner of speaking, yes they are. But the system used has important benefits for the child who, in any other elementary setting, is not likely to get this depth of classification elsewhere - it is based on observable characteristics, it gets the children's brains organized, and provides the keys to moving on to any other system of classification.
Note 2: the system of classification used is simple and easy to use. It is consistent. New methods of classification come out almost every day, each of which provides excellent insights into the complexity of life. So we provide a KEY - and the children will be able to utilize any other system available. Perhaps explore these other options in upper elementary, middle school and high school.