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Soils--Analysis; Education--Research--Laboratories; Science--Study and teaching


This paper describes the organization of a laboratory course in Soil Chemical Analysis. Students select and pursue small research problems to gain experience in the soil analyses that are discussed in lecture and required in the laboratory. Involvement of the class in an actual research problem proved challenging to both the instructor and the class. The data obtained often supplemented current departmental research. Individual projects were found to be easier to supervise than team problems. This paper reports results of a team project examining parameters of a pot experiment. Shape of the pot, methods of watering, methods of fertilizing, and some chemical changes in the potted soil were studied. Two plant species - oats and soybeans - were used. Subirrigated pots gave the greatest yield of dry matter, but reducing conditions were produced that might not be desirable in some experiments. Addition of fertilizer at four-day intervals rather than by mixing it with the soil at the outset improved utilization of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium but did not increase dry matter yield appreciably.

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