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Lessons on Soil   By: (1872-1965)

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First Page:

LESSONS ON SOIL

BY

E. J. RUSSELL, D.Sc. (Lond.)

GOLDSMITH COMPANY'S SOIL CHEMIST, ROTHAMSTED EXPERIMENTAL STATION

Cambridge:

at the University Press

1911

PREFACE

The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press propose to issue a Nature Study Series of which this is the first volume.

We count ourselves fortunate in securing Dr E. J. Russell as author and Soil as subject. The subject is fundamental, for, just as the soil lies beneath the plant and animal life we see, so is a knowledge of the soil necessary for all understanding of flora and fauna. The real complexity of the apparently simple element "Earth," and the variety of methods required for exploring it, are typical of the problems which the tout ensemble of the outdoor world presents to the naturalist.

Dr E. J. Russell has not only acquired a first rate and first hand knowledge of his subject at Wye and at Rothamsted; his own researches have recently extended our knowledge of the micro organisms in the soil and their influence on fertility. Further, what is very much to our purpose, he has himself had practical experience in teaching at an elementary school in Wye and at a secondary school in Harpenden.

Just at the present moment, County Councils are trying to push rural education and to awaken the intelligence of country children by interesting them in their surroundings. It is, therefore, a favourable opportunity to offer these pages as a concrete suggestion in model lessons and object lessons, showing exactly what can be done under existing conditions.

{vi}

The book is intended to help children to study nature; there is no attempt to substitute book study for nature study. Hence, whilst there are passages of continuous reading, it is not a mere "reader." Many teachers, myself among them, have felt the difficulty of organising practical work for large classes. Dr Russell has written so that, whilst nominally showing the pupil how to learn, he is secretly scattering hints for the teacher who is learning how to teach.

Abundant and varied practical exercises have been suggested, and careful instructions have been given so that the book shall seem intelligible even in the absence of a teacher. The proposed practical work is not only what might be done by eager boys and girls on half holidays, but what can be done by every scholar in the course of ordinary school work. The pictorial illustrations are intended as aids to observation, not as substitutes. Drawing is one form of practical exercise, and the preparation of corresponding illustrations in the scholars' notebooks from the apparatus used in the classroom and the fields around the school may afford exercises in artistic work with pen, brush or camera.

Sufficient directions are given for the supply of necessary materials and apparatus. The apparatus proposed is of the simplest character.

It is suggested that the book will be found most useful in the higher standards of elementary schools, in preparatory schools and in the lower forms of secondary schools, that is, where the ages of scholars average from 12 to 14.

HUGH RICHARDSON

YORK, 7 January 1911

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CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I. WHAT IS THE SOIL MADE OF? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 II. MORE ABOUT THE CLAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 III. WHAT LIME DOES TO CLAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 IV. SOME EXPERIMENTS WITH THE SAND . . . . . . . . . . . 22 V. THE PART THAT BURNS AWAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 VI. THE PLANT FOOD IN THE SOIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 VII. THE DWELLERS IN THE SOIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 VIII. THE SOIL AND THE PLANT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 IX. CULTIVATION AND TILLAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 X. THE SOIL AND THE COUNTRYSIDE . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 XI. HOW SOIL HAS BEEN MADE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . ... Continue reading book >>




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