Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study
by Ontario Ministry of Education
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COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1915, BY THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION FOR ONTARIO Second Printing, 1918 Third Printing, 1923 Fourth Printing, 1924

Transcriber's note: Minor typos have been corrected. Italics are indicated by subscripts (_) and bold words are indicated by tildes (~).





The Aims of Nature Study; General Methods 13 Concrete Material 15 Topics and material must suit the season; matter suited to the child; use of the commonplace; order of development of lesson; problems in observation; note-books and records 15

The School Garden 19 Suggestions; Garden Expenses 20

The Excursion 23 Its value; difficulties; frequency; suggestions for ungraded schools; the teacher's excursions; a type excursion 23 Collections 29

Animal Studies 29 Domestic animals; references 29 Birds; references 30 Insects; insect collections 34 Butterfly and moth collections 37

Plant Collections 39


Physical Science Phase of Nature Study 42

Instructions and General Method 42 Value of such lessons; conditions under which experiments should be performed 42 Correlations of physical science phase 44 List of Reference Books and Bulletins on garden and plant study, physical science, and animal study 45

Physical Science—Equipment for Forms III and IV 47 Desirable apparatus 47

Chemicals 48

Apparatus 50 Grenet cells; decomposition apparatus; pneumatic trough; spirit-lamp; barometer; hygrometer; hints 50

Time Apportioned to Nature Study 53


Garden Work 54 Lessons on a Garden Plant—Pansy 55 Observation Exercises on the Dandelion 57 Correlation with literature and reading 59 Dwarf Nasturtium 59

Seeds 60 Field exercise; class-room lesson based on the collection 60 Seed Dispersal 61 Lesson on seeds that fly; correlations 62

Twigs and Buds 62 Lesson on Twigs 62 Further study of twigs; review lesson 63 Lesson on Buds 65 Review lesson; correlations 65

Leaves 66 Field exercises; class-room lesson on leaves 66

Garden Studies 68 Studies in the Pupil's individual Plot 68 Studies from the Garden as a Whole 69

Bulb Planting 69 Lesson on Bulbs and Bulb Planting 69 Planting the bulb 70


Pet Animals 72 The Rabbit—Lesson on; correlations 72 The Domestic Cat—detailed study 75 The Pigeon—detailed study 76

Winter-blooming Plants—Observation and care of 78

Trees 79 Pines of the Locality 79 The White Pine 79 Field exercises; class-room lesson 79 The Elm—field exercise 82

Domestic Animals 83 The Horse; correlations 83

Domestic Birds 85 The Duck—class-room lesson 85


Garden Work 87 Garden Studies—window garden 88

Wild Flowers 90 Recognition of Wild Flowers 91 Lesson in Outline—Bloodroot; correlations 91

Insect Study 93 Cecropia, or Emperor-moth 93 Dragon-fly 94 Other Conspicuous Insects 95

Birds 95 The Robin 96 Field exercises; the nest, eggs, and young 96 The Song-sparrow 97 Field exercises; class-room lesson 97

The Sheep 99 Problems for Field Work 99


Bulb Planting Out-of-Doors 101 Bed for growing bulbs; planting of bulbs indoors 101

Garden Work 103 Seed selection; storing seeds; harvesting and storing of garden crops; class-room lesson; autumn cultivation 103

Garden Studies 106 Garden Records; correlations 107

Climbing Plants 108

Trees 109 Storing of Tree Seeds 110

A Flower 110 Type—Nasturtium 110

Soil Studies 112 Kinds of Soil 112

Animal Studies 113 Bird Migration; correlations 113 Common Wild Animals 114 General method for field work 114 The Wood-chuck 116 The Chipmunk—field exercises 117 The Eastern Swallow-tail Butterfly 118


Care of Plants in the Home 120

Trees 121 Collection of Wood Specimens 122

Related Reading 122

The Dog 123 Class-room lesson; observation exercises; correlations 123

Lessons Involving Comparison 125 Cat and dog; experiments for assisting in the study of the cat; comparison of the horse and cow 126

The Squirrel 129 Field exercises; class-room lesson 129

Winter Birds 130 Field exercises; class-room lesson; correlations 130

Animals of the Zoological Gardens 132


Garden Work 133 Combating Garden Pests 134 Cutworms; root-maggots; flea-beetles 134 Seed Germination 135

Plants for Individual Plots 137 Studies Based on Observations of Growing Plants 137 Planting and care of sweet-peas 138

Wild Flowers 139

Weeds 140

The Apple Tree 141 Field exercise; class-room lesson; field exercise following class-room lesson 141

Bird Study 143

The Toad 143 Field exercises; class-room lesson; detailed study; life history of the toad 143

The Earthworm 147 Class-room lesson; references 148

The Aquarium 149 Aquarium Specimens 150 Mosquito; study of adult form; the development; references 150 Caddice-fly 152

Insects Suitable for Lessons in Form II 153


Garden Work 154 Treatment of Fungi 154 Treatment of Insects—cabbage-worm 156

Plants 158 Annuals, Biennials, and Perennials 158 Class-room lesson 158 Garden Studies 159 Annuals, biennials, perennials 159 Special Study of Garden Plants 160 Sweet-pea; pumpkin; corn; correlations 160

Seed Dispersal—Lesson 164 Detailed Study of Seed Dispersal—class-room lesson 165 Seed collections; man as a disperser of seeds 166

The Sugar Maple—field exercises 168 Maple Leaves—class-room lesson; correlations 169

Weed Studies 170 Observation lesson on weed seeds 171

Grasshopper—field exercises; class-room lesson 172

Aphides 174

Tomato Worm—the adult; the chrysalis 175

The Crow; correlations 177


Care of Plants in the Home 178 Plant Cuttings 179 Selection of cuttings; potting of rooted cuttings 179

Evergreens—class-room lesson 181

Collection of Wood Specimens 182

Related Reading 183

How Animals Prepare for Winter 183 Summary of Lessons; correlations 184

Chickens 185 Conversation lesson; arithmetic lesson; care and food of chickens 185

Physical Science Phase of Nature Study 188

Solids, Liquids, and Gases 188 Change of State 189 Expansion of Solids 189 Practical applications; questions for further investigation 190 Expansion of Liquids—applications 192 The Thermometer 193 Expansion of Air 194 Sources of Heat and Light 194 Notes for a Series of Lessons 194 Conduction—problems 196 Convection—problems, convection in gases; applications 198 Radiation of Heat—problems 199


Window Boxes 201

Window Gardens 201 Suitable Plants; Fertilizer 202

Soil Studies—constituents 203

Garden Work 206 Tree Seeds 207 Transplanting—flowers, vegetables, tree seedlings 208 Budding 209 Cuttings—leaf cuttings, root cuttings, layering 211 Planting and Care of Herbaceous Perennials 212 Garden Studies—biennials 212

Wild Flowers 213 Study of the Trillium 213 Class-room lesson on the specimens 213

Adaptations of Animals 215

Bird Types 217 Woodpeckers—the downy woodpecker; observations 217 Flycatchers 219 Wrens 219

Insect Types 220 Cabbage-butterfly 220 Tussock-moth 221 Potato beetle 222 References 222

Fish—Observations; problems; references 223


Garden Work 225 Herbaceous Perennials from Seed 226

Trees—Deciduous; references 227 Trees in Relation to their Environment 228

Fruits—Excursion to a well-kept orchard 229 Small Fruits 230

Autumn Wild Flowers—Milkweed; correlations 230

Trees—The White Pine 232 Outline of a class-room lesson on the white pine; correlations; references 235

Apples—Comparative Lesson on Winter Varieties 239 King, Baldwin, Northern Spy 239 Codling moth; references 240

Some Common Animal Forms; references 242 Centipeds and millipeds 243 Salamanders or newts 243 Spiders 244

Bird Studies 245


Forest Trees 246 Evergreens; Wood Specimens 246

Fruits 247

Weeds and Weed Seeds 248

Physical Science Phase of Nature Study 248 Water Pressure—exercises 248 Study of Air 249 The barometer; the common pump; expansive force of air; composition of air; oxygen; carbon dioxide; impurities of air 250 Solutions of Solids 255 Solutions of Liquids 256 Solutions of Gases 256 Limestone 256 Carbon 257 Hydrogen 258 Magnets 258 Electricity 259 Steam 260 Farm tools—machines; problems 260


Method of Improving Home and School Grounds 263 Making and Care of a Lawn; References 264

Soil Studies 265 Weight 265 Subsoils 266 Fertilizers—experiments 268 Soil-forming Agents 268 Tilling the Soil 269 Garden Work—experiments in plots out-of-doors 270 Function of Parts of Plants 273 How the plant gets its food from the soil; germination of some of the common grains 274 Weeds 278 Vines 279 Wild Flowers 279 Planting of Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Perennials in Home and School Grounds 280 Shade trees; transplanting 281

Animal Studies 283 Scale Insects 283 San Jose scale; oyster-shell bark-louse; cutworms; white grubs 283 Crayfish 285 Freshwater Mussel 286

Bird Study 287

Different Aspects of Nature Study 288


This Manual is placed in the hands of the teachers in the hope that the suggestions which it contains on lesson topics, materials, books of reference, and methods in teaching will be found helpful to all teachers and in particular to those who have had little or no instruction in Nature Study during their academic or professional training.

The first Chapter of the Manual discusses topics which have general reference to the subject as a whole. The remaining part of the Manual deals more particularly with the subject in its application to the different Public and Separate School Forms. While this division of the matter into Forms is convenient for general classification, it is not to be regarded as arbitrary. Materials and methods of presentation suitable for one class of pupils in a certain Form might, under different conditions, be quite unsuitable for another class of pupils in the same Form. For example, work which would be suitable for a class in Form I made up of pupils admitted to a school at seven or eight years of age, after two years' training in a kindergarten where nature lessons received special attention, would not be suitable for a Form I class made up of pupils admitted to a school at five years of age with no such previous training. In selecting work for any class the teacher, therefore, should not be guided solely by the arbitrary divisions of the Manual, but should exercise his own judgment, taking into account his environment and the attainments of his pupils. To facilitate such a selection, page references are given in the details of the Course of Study, which in reality forms a detailed expansion of the Public and Separate School Course in Nature Study. By means of these references, the teacher may find, in any department of the subject, typical matter suited to the development of his pupils.

The numerous type lessons that are contained in the Manual are intended to suggest principles of method that are to be applied in lessons upon the same and similar topics, but the teacher is cautioned against attempting to imitate these lessons. This error can be avoided by the teacher's careful preparation of the lesson. This preparation should include the careful study of the concrete materials that are to be used. The books, bulletins, etc., that are named in the Manual as references will be found helpful.

To facilitate teaching through the experimental and investigation methods, special attention has been given to the improvising of simple apparatus from materials within the reach of every teacher.

From the character of the subject the Course of Study must be more or less elastic, and the topics detailed in the programme are intended to be suggestive rather than prescriptive. It may be that, owing to local conditions, topics not named are among the best that can be used, but all substitutions and changes should be made a subject of consultation with the Inspector. The treatment of the subject must always be suited to the age and experience of the pupils, to the seasons of the year, accessibility of materials, etc. Notes should not be dictated by the teacher. Mere information, whether from book, written note, or teacher, is not Nature Study. The acquisition of knowledge must be made secondary to awakening and maintaining the pupil's interest in nature and to training him to habits of observation and investigation.

As a guide to the minimum of work required, it is suggested that at least one lesson be taught from the subjects outlined under each general heading in the detailed Course of Study, with a minimum average of three lessons from the subjects under each general heading.







Division of the garden plots, removal of weeds and observations on these weeds, identification of garden plants, observation lessons based on garden plants, selection of seeds, harvesting and disposing of the crop. (See pp. 54-9.)


Class lessons based on a flowering garden plant, as pansy, aster, nasturtium; study of a field plant, as buttercup, goldenrod, dandelion. (See pp. 55-9.)

Potted and garden plants: Observation lesson based on a bulb; planting bulbs in pots, or in the garden. (See pp. 69-71.)


Identification of a few common birds, as robin, English sparrow, meadow-lark; observation lessons on the habits of these birds; collection of the adult forms, the larvae and the cocoons of a few common moths and butterflies, as emperor-moth, promothea moth, eastern swallow-tail butterfly. (See pp. 30-9 and 93-8.)


Identification of a few common trees, as white pine, elm, maple; observations on the general shape, branches, leaves, and bark of these trees. (See pp. 62-7 and 79-82.)



Habits and characteristics of a few domestic animals, as horse, cow, sheep, hen, duck; the uses of these animals, and how to take care of them. (See pp. 83-6.)


Observations on the habits, movements, and characteristics of pet animals, as cat, pigeon, bantam, rabbit, etc.; conversations about the natural homes and habits of these animals, and inferences upon their care. (See pp. 72-7.)


Observations on the branching of common trees. (See pp. 79-82.)



Preparation, planting, and care of the garden plot; observations on the growing plants. (See pp. 87-90.)


Identification and study of a few spring flowers, as trillium, bloodroot, hepatica, spring-beauty. (See pp. 90-2.)


Identification and study of the habits of a few common birds, as song-sparrow, blue-bird, wren; observations of the form and habits of a few common insects, as house-fly, dragon-fly. (See pp. 30-3 and 93-9.)


Observations on the opening buds of the trees which were studied in the Autumn. (See p. 65.)




Autumn migration of birds; identification and observations on the habits and movements of a few common insects, including their larval forms, as grasshopper, eastern swallow-tail butterfly. (See pp. 113-4 and 118-9.)


Observations on the homes and habits of wild animals, as frog, toad, squirrel, ground-hog; habits and structures, including adaptive features, of domestic animals, as dog, cat, horse, cow. (See pp. 83 and 123-30.)


Observations on the shapes, sizes, rate of growth, and usefulness of common orchard, shade, and forest trees, as apple, elm, horse-chestnut. (See pp. 109-10.)


Identification and study of a few common weeds, noting their means of persistence and dispersal. (See pp. 139-40.)


Preparation of pots and garden beds for bulbs; selecting and storing garden seeds; observations on the habits of climbing plants, and application of the knowledge gained to the care required for these plants. (See pp. 101-9 and 120.)



Identification of winter birds and study of their means of protection and of obtaining food. (See pp. 130-2.)


Comparative study of the horse and cow, of the dog and cat, and of the duck and hen. (See pp. 123-8.)


Observations on the general structural features, noting the natural adaptations of such animals as bear, lion, deer, tiger, etc. (See p. 132.)


Winter study of trees, noting buds, branches, and foliage of spruce, cedar, horse-chestnut, etc. (See pp. 121-3.)



Observations on the structure, adaptations and development of insect larvae kept in an aquarium, as larva of mosquito, dragon-fly, caddice-fly; spring migration of birds. (See pp. 149-153.)


Observations on the forms, homes, habits, and foods of wild animals, continued. (See pp. 114-8, 143-9.)


The buds and blossoms of apple, and cherry or plum, observed through the stages up to fruit formation. (See pp. 141-3.)


Germination of seeds and general observations on the stages of development; testing the conditions required for seed germination; introductory exercises in soil study as a preparation for seed planting. (See pp. 133-8 and 112-3.)


Field and class-room study of marsh marigold, Jack-in-the-pulpit, violet, etc. (See pp. 139-40.)




Observations on the habits and the ravages of common noxious insects, as cabbage-worm, grasshopper, tussock-moth, etc.; discussion of means of checking these insects. (See pp. 156-7 and 172-7.)


Field study and class-room lessons on the habits and structure, including adaptive features, of common animals, as musk-rat, fox, fish, sheep. (See pp. 99 and 183-5.)


Harvesting of garden and field crops; preparation of cuttings from geraniums, begonia, currant, etc.; identification of garden plants; seed dispersal. (See pp. 154, 179-80, and 164-8.)


Characteristics of annuals, biennials, and perennials; life histories of common plants, as sweet-pea, Indian corn, etc. (See pp. 158-64 and 168-70.)


Identification of the common noxious weeds of the locality; collection, description, and identification of weed seeds; cause of the prevalence of the weeds studied, and means of checking them. (See pp. 164-8 and 170-2.)



Habits and instincts of common domestic animals, as fowls, sheep, and hogs; the economic values of these animals. (See pp. 185-8.)


The characteristics of common house plants, and care of these plants. (See pp. 178-9.)


Comparative study of common evergreens, as balsam, spruce, hemlock, etc.; collection of wood specimens. (See pp. 181-3.)


Simple experiments to show the nature of solids, liquids, and gases. (See pp. 188-9.)


Source of heat, changes of volume in solids, liquids, and gases, accompanying changes in temperature; heat transmission; the thermometer and its uses. (See pp. 189-200.)



Field and class lessons on the habits, movements, and foods of common birds, as crow, woodpecker, king-bird, phoebe, blackbird, etc. (See pp. 217-22.)


Care of garden plots; transplanting; testing best varieties; making of, and caring for, window boxes; propagation of plants by budding, cuttings, and layering. (See pp. 201-3 and 208-13.)


Field lessons on the habitat of common wild flowers; class-room study of the plant organs including floral organs; study of weeds and weed seeds continued, also the study of garden and field annuals, biennials, and perennials. (See Autumn.) (See pp. 170-2 and 212-5.)


The components of soils, their origin, properties, and especially their water absorbing and retaining properties; the relation of soils to plant growth; experiments demonstrating the benefits of mulching and of drainage. (See pp. 203-6.)




Identification of common insects and observations on their habits; means of combating such insects, as codling moth, etc.; bird identification, and study of typical members of some common families, as woodpeckers, flycatchers; spiders. (See pp. 217-22 and 240-5.)


Observations and conclusions based upon experimental plots; common shrubs, vines, and trees, and how to grow them. (See pp. 225-30 and 279.)


Simple experiments illustrating roots as organs of absorption, stems as organs of transmission, and leaves as organs of respiration, transpiration, and food building. (See pp. 273-8.)


Comparative study of varieties of winter apples, of fall apples, or of other fruits of the locality; visits to orchards; weed studies continued. (See Form III.) (See pp. 229-30 and 239-40.)


Soil-forming agents, as running water, ice, frost, heat, wind, plants, and animals, and inferences as to methods of tillage. (See pp. 268-70.)



Simple illustrations of the buoyancy of liquids and of air; simple tests to demonstrate that air fills space and exerts pressure; the application of air pressure in the barometer, the common pump, the bicycle tire, etc. (See pp. 248-52.)


Generate each of these gases and test for properties, as colour, odour, combustion, action with lime-water; the place occupied by these gases in nature. (See pp. 252-5.)


Making a simple voltaic cell, an electro-magnet, and a simple electroscope. Test the current by means of the two latter and also with an electric bell. Explain the application of the above in the electric telegraph and motor. Simple demonstration of pressure of steam; history and uses of the steam-engine. (See pp. 259-60.)



Identification of noxious insects and observations thereon; study of representatives of common families of birds, as thrushes, warblers, sparrows; economic values of birds. (See pp. 283-5 and 286-7.)


Observation exercises upon the habits, movements, and structures, including adaptive features of aquatic animals, as crayfish, mussel, tadpole, etc. (See pp. 285-6.)


Experimental plots demonstrating the benefits of seed selection; ornamental plots of flowering perennials and bulbous plants; how to improve the school grounds and the home lawns. (See pp. 270-3 and 263-5.)


Comparison of the values of the common varieties of shade trees, how to plant and how to take care of shade trees. (See pp. 280-2.)


Examination of the organs of common flowers; use of root, flower organs, fruit, and seed. (See pp. 273-8.)


Plants of the lawn and garden; weed studies. (See pp. 263-5, 270-3, and 278-9.)


Study of subsoils; capillarity in soils; benefits of crop rotations and mulching; experiments in fertilizing, mulching, depth of planting, and closeness of planting. (See pp. 265-7.)




Nature Study means primarily the study of natural things and preferably of living things. Like all other subjects, it must justify its position on the school curriculum by proving its power to equip the pupil for the responsibilities of citizenship. That citizen is best prepared for life who lives in most sympathetic and intelligent relation to his environment, and it is the primary aim of Nature Study to maintain the bond of interest which unites the child's life to the objects and phenomena which surround him. To this end it is necessary to adapt the teaching, in matter and method, to the conditions of the child's life, that he may learn to understand the secrets of nature and be the better able to control and utilize the forces of his natural environment.

At all times, the teacher must keep in mind the fact that it is not the quantity of matter taught but the interest aroused and the spirit of investigation fostered, together with carefulness and thoroughness, which are the important ends to be sought. With a mind trained to experiment and stimulated by a glimpse into nature's secrets, the worker finds in his labour a scientific interest that lifts it above drudgery, while, from a fuller understanding of the forces which he must combat or with which he must co-operate, he reaps better rewards for his labours.

The claims of Nature Study to an educative value are based not upon a desire to displace conventional education, but to supplement it, and to lay a foundation for subsequent reading. Constant exercise of the senses strengthens these sources of information and develops alertness, and at the same time the child is kept on familiar ground—the world of realities. It is for these reasons that Nature Study is frequently defined as "The Natural Method of Study". Independent observation and inference should be encouraged to the fullest degree, for one of the most important, though one of the rarer accomplishments of the modern intellect, is to think independently and to avoid the easier mode of accepting the opinions of others. Reading from nature books, the study of pictures, and other such matter, is not Nature Study. These may supplement Nature Study, but must not displace the actual vitalizing contact between the child and natural objects and forces.

It is this contact which is at the basis of clear, definite knowledge; and clearness of thought and a feeling of at-homeness with the subject is conducive to clearness and freedom of expression. The Nature Study lesson should therefore be used as a basis for language lessons.

Undoubtedly one of the most important educative values that can be claimed for Nature Study is its influence in training the pupil to appreciate natural objects and phenomena. This implies the widening and enriching of human interests through nurturing the innate tendency of the child to love the fields and woods and birds; the checking of the selfish and destructive impulses by leading him to see the usefulness of each creature, the harmony of its relation to its environment, and the significance of its every part. Nor is it a mistake to cultivate the more sentimental love of nature which belongs to the artist and the poet. John Ruskin emphasizes this value in these words: "All other efforts are futile unless you have taught the children to love trees and birds and flowers".



It is evident that concrete material must be provided and so distributed that each member of the class will have a direct opportunity to exercise his senses, and, from his observations, to deduce inferences and form judgments. The objects chosen should be mainly from the common things of the locality. The teacher should be guided in the selection by the interests of the pupils, first finding out from them the things upon which they are expending their wonder and inquiry. Trees, field crops, flowers, birds, animals of the parks, woods, or farmyard, all form suitable subjects for study.


The material should be selected not only with reference to locality but also with due regard to season. For example, better Nature Study lessons can be taught on the elm tree of the school grounds than on the giant Douglas fir of British Columbia; and on the oriole whose nest is in the elm tree than on the eagle portrayed in Roberts' animal stories; and it is manifestly unwise to teach lessons on snow in summer, or on flowers and ants in winter.


For the urban pupil the treatment of the material must be different from that in the case of the pupil of the rural school. Rural school pupils have already formed an extensive acquaintance with many plants and animals which are entirely unknown to the children of the city. The simpler facts which are interesting and instructive to the pupils of the urban classes would prove commonplace and trivial to rural pupils. For example, while it is necessary to show the city child a squirrel that he may learn the size, colour, and general appearance of the animal, the efforts of the pupil of the rural school should be directed to the discovery of the less evident facts of squirrel life.


It must be kept in mind that besides leading the pupils to discover new sources of interest, the teacher should strive to accomplish that which is even greater, namely, to lead them to discover new truth and new beauty in old, familiar objects. It may be true that "familiarity breeds contempt" and there is always a danger that the objects with which children have associated in early life may be passed by as uninteresting while they go in search of something "new and interesting".

For example, to be able to recognize many plants and to call them by name is no doubt something of an accomplishment, but it should not be the chief aim of the teacher in conducting Nature Study lessons on plants. It is of much greater importance that the child should be led to love the flowers and to appreciate their beauty and their utility. Such appreciation will result in the desire to protect and to produce fine flowers and useful plants, and this end can be reached only through intelligent acquaintanceship. There can be no true appreciation without knowledge, and this the child gets chiefly by personal observation and experiment. With reference to the wild flowers of the woods and fields, the method employed is that of continuous observation.


Each animal or plant should be studied as a living, active organism. The attention of the pupils should be focused upon activities; for these appeal to the child nature and afford the best means for securing interest and attention. What does this animal do? How does it do it? How is it fitted for doing this? How does this plant grow? What fits it for growing in this way? These are questions which should exercise the mind of the child. They are questions natural in the spirit of inquiry in child nature and give vitality to nature teaching. They are an effective means of establishing a bond of sympathy between the child and nature. The child who takes care of a plant or animal because it is his own, does so at first from a purely personal motive, which is perfectly natural to childhood; but while he studies its needs and observes its movements and changes, gradually and unconsciously this interest will be transferred to the plant or animal for its own sake. The nature of the child is thus broadened during the process.


In studying the material provided, whether it be in the class-room, or during a nature excursion, or by observations made in the farmyard at home, the teacher must guide the efforts of the pupils by assigning to them definite and suitable problems. Care must be taken to reach the happy mean of giving specific directions without depriving the pupils of the pleasure of making original discovery. For example, instead of asking them to study the foot of the horse and learn all they can about it, more specific problems should be assigned, such as: Observe how the hoof is placed on the ground in walking. What are the arrangements for lessening the shock when the hoof strikes the ground? Examine the under surface of the hoof and discover what prevents the unshod horse from slipping.


In Grades higher than Form I, written exercises should be required and also sketches representing the objects studied. For this purpose a Nature Study note-book is necessary—a loose-leaf note-book being preferable because of necessary corrections, rearrangements, additions, or omissions.

In all records and reports, independence of thought and of expression should be encouraged. The drawing and the oral or written description should express what is actually observed, not what the book or some member of the class says has been, or should be, observed. The descriptions should be in the pupil's own words, because these are most in keeping with his own ideas on the subject. More correct forms of expression may be obtained when notes are taken from the teacher's dictation, but this is fatal to the development of originality.

The disparity of the results in individual work gives opportunity for impressing upon the pupil, in the first place, the necessity for more accurate observation and, secondly, the impossibility of reaching a correct general conclusion without having studied a large number of examples. The development of critical and judicious minds, which may result from carefully observing many examples and generalizing from these observations, is vastly more important than the memorizing of many facts.


In the study of garden plants there is added a certain new interest arising out of experimentation, cultivation, and ownership. The love of the gardener has in it elements that the love of the naturalist does not usually possess—a sort of paternal love and care for the plants produced in his garden; but every gardener should be a naturalist as well. Most people have a higher appreciation for that which they own and which they have produced or acquired at some expense or personal sacrifice; therefore it is that the growing of plants in home and school gardens or in pots and window boxes is so strongly advocated throughout this Course. Ownership always implies responsibility, which is at once the chief safeguard of society and the foundation of citizenship. A careless boy will never respect the property of others so much as when he himself has proprietary interests involved. We believe, therefore, that every teacher should encourage his pupils to cultivate plants and, if possible, to own a plot of ground however small.

The teacher should not merely aim at making a garden in the school grounds. The great question is rather how best to use a school garden in connection with the training of boys and girls. To learn to do garden work well is indeed worth while and provides a highly beneficial kind of manual training. To understand something of soils and methods of cultivation, of fertilizers and drainage, the best kinds of flowers, vegetables, fruits, and farm crops, and how to grow them successfully, is very important in such a great agricultural country as this; but the greatest of all results which we may hope to realize in connection with school gardening is the ennobling of life and character. The pupils are taught to observe the growing plants with great care, noting developments day by day. This adds to their appreciation of the beauties and adaptations found among plants on every side, and cannot fail to produce good results in moral as well as in mental development. The teachers must always remember that the gardeners with whom they are working are more important than the gardens which they cultivate.

The best garden is not always the largest and most elaborate one. It is rather the garden that both teacher and pupils have been most deeply interested in. It is the garden in which they have experienced most pleasure and profit that makes them want to have another better than the last. No school is too small to have a garden of some kind, and no garden is too small to become the joy and pride of some boy or girl.


For the benefit of teachers beginning their duties on the first of September, in school sections where school gardening has never been carried on, the following suggestions are offered:

1. See if the grounds will permit of a part being used for a garden. To ascertain this, note the size of the present grounds and see if they meet the requirements of the Department as laid down in the Regulations. If they do not, consult your Inspector at once and acquaint him with your plans. If the grounds are to be enlarged, try to take in sufficient land of good quality to make a good garden. The part chosen for the garden should be both convenient and safe. Examine the soil to see if it is well drained and sufficiently deep to permit of good cultivation. Lack of fertility can be overcome by good fertilizing.

2. See that the fences and gates are in good repair. When circumstances will permit, a woven wire fence that will exclude dogs, pigs, and poultry is most desirable. If not used to inclose the whole grounds, it should at least inclose the part used for gardening.

3. Begin modestly and provide room for extension as the work progresses. Sow clover on the part to be held in reserve for future gardening operations.

4. If local public sentiment is not strongly in favour of school gardening, or is somewhat adverse, begin on a small scale. If the work is well done, you will soon have both moral and financial support.

5. See that the land is well drained. Plough it early in the autumn and, if a load of well-rotted manure is available, spread it on the land before ploughing. Commercial fertilizer may also be used on the plots the following spring, but no stable manure.

6. In spring, when dry enough, cultivate thoroughly with disc and drag harrows. Build up a compost heap in the rear of the garden with sods and stable manure, for use in the autumn and also the following spring.


In connection with those schools where the teacher holds a diploma from the Ontario Agricultural College in Elementary Agriculture and Horticulture, there is no difficulty in meeting the expenses for seeds, tools, fertilizers, and labour, as the Government grant for such purposes is sufficient. In other schools, however, where the teacher holds no such diploma (and such is the case in most of the schools as yet), other means of meeting the expenses must be resorted to. The following are offered as suggestions along this line:

1. Part of the grant made to every school for the maintaining of the school grounds should be available for school garden expenses.

2. An occasional school entertainment may add funds that could not be used to better advantage.

3. An occasional load of stable manure supplied free from neighbouring farms will help to solve the fertilizer problem.

4. Donations of plants and seeds by the parents and other interested persons and societies will be forthcoming, if the teacher is in earnest and his pupils interested.

5. If it is required, the trustees could make a small grant each year toward the cost of tools.

6. Fencing and cultivation of the garden can often be provided for by volunteer assistance from the men of the school section.

7. It is often possible to grow a garden crop on a fairly large scale, the school being formed into a company for this purpose and the proceeds to be used to meet garden expenses.

8. The pupils can readily bring the necessary tools from home for the first season's work.

9. Many Agricultural and Horticultural societies offer very substantial cash prizes for school garden exhibits, and all funds so obtained should be used to improve the garden from which the exhibits were taken.

10. An earnest, resourceful teacher will find a way of meeting the necessary expenses.


Nature Study is essentially an outdoor subject. While it is true that a considerable amount of valuable work may be done in the class-room by the aid of aquaria, insectaria, and window boxes, yet the great book of nature lies outside the school-house walls. The teacher must lead or direct his pupils to that book and help them to read with reverent spirit what is written there by its great Author.

Value.—The school excursion is valuable chiefly because it brings the pupil into close contact with the objects that he is studying, permits him to get his knowledge at first hand, and gives him an opportunity of studying these objects in their natural environment. Incidentally the excursion yields outdoor exercise under the very best conditions—no slight advantage for city children especially; and it gives the teacher a good opportunity to study the pupils from a new standpoint. It also provides a means of gathering Nature Study material.

Difficulties.—Where is the time to be found? How can a large class of children be managed in the woods or fields? If only one class be taken, how, in an ungraded school, are the rest of the children to be employed? Will the excursion not degenerate into a mere outing? What if the woods are miles away? These are all real problems, and the Nature Study teacher, desirous of doing his work well, will have to face some of them at least.


The excursion need not occupy much time. It should be well planned beforehand. One object only should be kept in view and announced to the class before starting. Matters foreign or subordinate to this should be neglected for the time. The following are suggested as objects for excursions:

Objects.—A bird's nest in an adjacent meadow; a ground-hog's hole; a musk-rat's home; crayfish or clams in the stream near by; a pine (or other) tree; a toad's day-resort; the soil of a field; the pests of a neighbouring orchard; a stone-heap or quarry; ants' nests or earthworms' holes; the weeds of the school yard; buds; the vegetable or animal life of a pond; sounds of spring; tracks in the snow; a spider's web.

Such excursions may be accomplished at the expenditure of very little time. Many of them will take the pupils no farther than the boundaries of the school yard.

Of course the locality will influence the character of the excursion, as it will that of the whole of the work done in Nature Study, but in any place the thoughtful teacher may find material for open-air work at his very door.

Much outside work can be done without interfering with the regular programme. The teacher may arrange a systematic list of questions and problems for the pupils to solve from their own observations, and these observations may be made by the pupils at play hours, or while coming or going from school, or on Saturdays. The following will serve as an example of the treatment that may be followed:

Pests of Apple Trees.—Look on the twigs of your apple trees for little scales. Bring an infected branch to school. Note whether unhealthy-looking or dead branches are infected. Examine scales with a lens. Loosen one, turn it over, and examine with a lens the under side.

For eggs, look closely at the twigs in June. Do you see white specks moving? If so examine them with a lens.

Are there any small, prematurely ripe apples on the ground in the orchard? Cut into one of these and look for a "worm". Look for apples with worm holes in the side. Are there worms in these apples? What is in them? Note the dirty marks that the larva has left. Keep several apples in a close box and watch for the "worms" to come out. Examine the bark of apple trees for pupae in the fall.


As to the frequency of excursions, the teacher will be the best judge. It is desirable that they occur naturally in the course of the Nature Study work as the need for them arises. One short trip each week with a single object in view is much more satisfactory than a whole afternoon each term spent in aimless wandering about the woods.


Long-distance excursions will of necessity be infrequent. If the woods are far away, one such trip in May or June would prove valuable to enable the pupils to become acquainted with wild flowers, and another in October to gather tree seeds, autumn leaves, pupae, and other material for winter study. When a large class is to be taken on an excursion, preparations must be made with special care. The teacher and one or two assistants should go over the ground beforehand and arrange for the work to be done. Some work must be given to every pupil, and prompt obedience to every command and signal must be required. The class, for example, may decide to search a small wood or meadow to find out what flowers are there. The pupils should be dispersed throughout the field to hunt for specimens and to meet at a known signal to compare notes.


1. The teacher may take all the classes, choosing an object of study from which he can teach lessons suitable to all ages, a bird's nest, for example.

2. In many sections, the little ones are dismissed at 3.30 p.m. Opportunity is thus given for an excursion with the seniors.

3. The older pupils may be assigned work and left in charge of a monitor, elected by themselves, who shall be responsible for their conduct, while the teacher is working outside with the lower Forms.

4. Boys who are naturally interested in outdoor work should be encouraged to show the others anything of interest they may have found.

5. An occasional Saturday excursion may be arranged.

Discipline.—The teacher should insist on making the excursion a serious part of the school work, not merely recreation. School-room behaviour cannot be expected, but the boisterous conduct of the playground should give place to earnest expectancy. The pupils should keep within sound of the teacher's voice (a sharp whistle may be used) and should promptly respond to every call. Topics of conversations should as far as possible be restricted to those pertaining to the object of the excursion or related matters.

In visiting woods, children should be trained to study flowers in their environment and leave them there, plucking or digging for none except for some excellent reason. The same respect should be shown to birds and their nests, and to insects, and all other living things encountered.


As soon as possible after coming to a section, the teacher should acquaint himself with the woods, groves, streams, or other haunts that may provide him with material for his indoor or outdoor work. He can then direct the pupils effectively. The teacher should go over the route of an excursion shortly before it takes place. This prevents waste of time in looking for the objects that he wishes his pupils to see. If the teacher wishes to increase his love for nature, he must take many walks without his pupils.

The school garden offers a partial solution of the difficulties mentioned above. It brings a large amount of material to the doors of the school. Plants of the farm or the garden may be studied under various changeable conditions, and it will be seen that insect pests, weeds, and fungous diseases follow the lessons on plants, while lessons on birds and toads follow those on insects. With sections of the garden devoted to the cultivation of wild flowers, ferns, and forest trees, the specially organized excursion will become less of a necessity, although it will still continue to be a valuable factor in Nature Study work.

After an excursion is over, it should be discussed in class. The various facts learned should be reviewed and related. If any pupils have made inaccurate observations, they should be required to observe again to correct their errors. Finally, the excursion may form the subject of a composition.


A Bird's Nest.—The children have been instructed to study the meadow-lark, beginning about March twenty-first. While engaged in this work, a nest is discovered near the school. The teacher is informed and the pupils are conducted to the spot.

What is growing in the field? Is there a long or a short growth? Did the mother bird make much noise as she rose from the nest? Did this help to reveal its presence? Is the nest easy to see? The class will halt a few paces from it and try to find it. How many eggs? Their colour? Note the arch of grass so beautifully concealing the nest.

Returning to school, the facts observed are reviewed. The pupils may then express themselves by written composition or by drawings, paintings, or modellings of the nest, the eggs, or the surroundings. Frequent visits to the nest should not be made, and the pupils should be warned not to disturb the bird, as she may desert the nest on slight provocation.

A second excursion may be made, when the eggs are hatched, to see the young birds.

A Wasp's Nest.—A nest having been discovered, the pupils note how it is suspended and how it is situated with regard to concealment or to protection from rain, its colour, the material of the nest, and the position of the entrance. Is the opening ever deserted? How many wasps enter and how many leave the nest in a minute? Try to follow one and watch what he does. Wasps may be found biting wood from an old board fence. This they chew into pulp, and from this pulp their paper is made. Get the children to verify this by observations. If the nest is likely to become a nuisance, smoke out the wasps, take the nest carefully down, and use it for indoor study, examining the inside of the nest to ascertain the nature and the structure of the comb which, in this case is entirely devoted to larvae.


General school collections of such objects as noxious weeds, weed seeds, wild flowers, noxious insects, leaves of forest trees, rocks or stones of the locality, etc., should be undertaken.

All the pupils should contribute as many specimens as possible to each collection and should assist in the work of preparing them.

In addition to the above collections it is advisable that pupils who show special interest in this phase of nature work should be encouraged to make individual collections.

Collections, when properly prepared, have a value within themselves, because of the beauty and variety of the forms that they contain, and also because of their usefulness in illustrating nature lessons and in the identifying of insects, weeds, etc. Nevertheless the chief value of the collection rests in the making of it, because of the training that it gives the collector in carefulness and thoroughness, and also because it causes the child to study natural objects in their natural surroundings.



The teacher, before attempting to teach lessons on domestic animals, should carefully consider how his lessons will best fulfil the following important aims:

1. The cultivation of a deeper sympathy for, and a more complete understanding of, farm animals.

2. The development of more kindly treatment of domestic animals through awakened sympathy and more intelligent understanding.

3. Implanting the idea that the best varieties are the most interesting and profitable.

The following domestic animals are suggested as being suitable for study: horse, cow, sheep, dog, cat, goose, duck, hen.

There are two practical methods of observation work; namely, home observation and class-room observation.

The observation work on some of the animals named must of necessity be done out of school. In this the teacher can direct the efforts of the pupils by assigning to them definite problems to be solved by their study of the animals.

The results of their observations can be discussed in the class in lessons of ten or fifteen minutes length. It may frequently be necessary to re-assign the problems in order that the pupils may correct their observations.

It is possible for the teacher or the pupils to bring to the school-room certain of the animals, as the dog, cat, duck, hen, and the observations may then be made by the whole class directly under the guidance of the teacher.


Crawford: Guide to Nature Study. Copp Clark Co., 90 cents.

Dearness: How to Teach the Nature Study Course. Copp Clark Co., 60 cents.

Shaler: Domesticated Animals. Scribners, $2.50.

Smith: The Uses and Abuses of Domestic Animals. Jarrold & Sons, 50 cents.


The chief aims in developing lessons on birds are:

1. To teach the children to recognize their bird neighbours, to love them for their beauty, and sweet songs, and their sprightly ways.

2. To train the pupils to appreciate them for their usefulness in destroying insect pests.

Many persons spend their lives surrounded by singing birds, yet they never hear their songs. Many children see and hear the birds, but if they have not been brought into sympathetic relation with them, they never learn to appreciate them; on the contrary, their attitude becomes one of indifference or of destructiveness. Too often, boys cruelly destroy the nests and young and persecute the old birds with stone and catapult. The cowardice of such acts should be condemned, but more effective lessons may be taught through leading the children to find in the birds assistants and companions that contribute to their material progress and to their joy in life.

With these aims in view, the teacher will readily perceive that the most effective work in bird study results from observing the living birds in their natural environment. Field excursions are valuable for this, but good results can seldom be attained when the class is large, for birds are shy and will hide or fly away from the unusual excitement. Quietness is absolutely necessary for success. Better results are obtained when only one or two accompany the teacher. If the teacher selects a few who are interested in birds, and there are always some pupils in every school who are readily interested in bird study, these few can soon be made sufficiently acquainted with the more common birds, so that they will be able to point them out to the other pupils of the school, and thus they become the teacher's assistants in the work.

By beginning with the most common and conspicuous birds, an acquaintance grows rapidly. Early spring is a good time to begin, when the first birds return from their winter sojourn. The teacher and pupils may now learn to recognize the birds, because there are only a few, and these are easily seen, as the robin, blue-bird, junco, meadow-lark, goldfinch, bronzed grackle, sapsucker, blue jay, downy woodpecker, and flicker.

The teacher, assisted by the pupils who already know these birds, directs the younger pupils to where these birds may be seen, and they are also required to describe the birds observed and to identify them by means of the bird chart or colour key.

The description should include:

Size (compare with some common bird); shape; colour of head, back, and breast; conspicuous markings, as crest, stripes, bright patches of feathers; movements in flight or on the ground; song, call notes; whether in flocks, or pairs, or single birds.

Later in spring, other birds will attract attention, as the song-sparrow, phoebe, wren, horned lark, cowbird, and red-winged blackbird; while in summer the oriole, catbird, vesper sparrow, American redstart, night hawk, scarlet tanager, and crested flycatcher are some of the birds that will call for attention, because of their plumage, songs, or peculiar habits.

When a nest has been found by a pupil, he should report it to the teacher, and the other pupils should be permitted to visit it only upon promising not to molest the nest or to annoy the mother bird by remaining too long near it. While it is well that the pupils should see the nest with the young birds, they should be taught to respect the desire of the bird for quietness and seclusion.

In studying the nest, observe: Concealment, protection, size, comfort, number and colour of eggs, young birds, size, colour, covering, food. The pupils should be asked to observe the feeding of birds thus:

Watch the wrens returning to the nest; what do they carry to their young? Where do the wrens get the snails and grubs? Observe how the robins find the worms and how they pull them out of the ground. Follow the downy woodpecker to the apple tree and find out what he was pecking. Watch the crow in the pasture field and learn whether this bird kills grasshoppers and crickets.

Observe the birds that pick seeds out of the weeds.

Collecting birds' eggs should be condemned, because it nearly always leads to the robbing of the nests. The practice of exchanging eggs is the chief cause of this; for although an occasional boy will collect wisely, the greater number are simply anxious to add to their collection without regard for the sacredness of the birds' homes.

A collection of birds' nests may be made after the nests have been abandoned for the season, and it will be found useful for interesting the pupils in the ingenuity, neatness, and instinctive foresight of the builders.


Chapman and Reed: Colour Key to North American Birds $2.75

Reed: Bird Guide, Pts. I and II .75

Silcox and Stevenson: Modern Nature Study .75

Cornish: Thirty Lessons in Nature Study on Birds. Dominion Book Company 1.00

Canadian Birds in Relation to Agriculture. This chart has pictures in colours of eighty-eight Canadian birds. G. M. Hendry Co., $3.00.

The Audubon Charts. These three charts have pictures of fifty-five birds; the pictures are larger in the latter charts than in the first named. G. M. Hendry Co., $2.00 each.

Coloured Bird Pictures, Mumford, Chicago, (separate coloured pictures) are very suitable for illustrating nature lessons on birds.


There are three classes of insects that are of immediate interest to the pupils of the Junior Grades, and the teacher who makes direct use of this natural interest has taken possession of the key to success in insect study in the primary classes.

The three classes, basing the classification upon their power to attract attention, are:

The beautiful insects, including moths, butterflies, and beetles,

The wonderful insects, including such insects as ants, ant-lions, caddice-flies, etc.,

The economic insects, including bees, silk-worms, codling-moths, etc.

Economic insects are interesting because of their relations to the occupations of the home. The successful growing of farm, orchard, and garden crops practically depends upon keeping a proper balance of insect and bird life.

The teacher who feels that his knowledge of insects is too limited to allow him to undertake the teaching of this branch of Nature Study should cast his misgivings aside; for it is not difficult for the teacher who knows nothing about insects at the outset to become acquainted with such members of the three classes named above as attract the attention of the pupils of the Nature Study classes.

The following suggestions in insect study are offered as guides to teacher or pupil:

Obtain books and pamphlets from the Department of Agriculture, Toronto, on the subject of Insect Pests on Farm Crops and Fruit Trees.

Secure a good general book on insects. Modern Nature Study, by Silcox and Stevenson, contains illustrations of several of the most common moths and butterflies, which are clear enough to make possible the identification of the forms represented. Comstock's Manual for the Study of Insects is the best general book on the subject. This, and Holland's The Moth Book and The Butterfly Book, are valuable for those who wish to follow the study of insects at any length.

Begin by studying the more conspicuous moths, butterflies, and beetles, and especially by studying the injurious forms which thrust themselves into prominence by causing destruction of grain, vegetable, or fruit crops in the locality. The utility phase of lessons on these insects will appeal to the older children and also to their parents. Moreover, these are the easiest insects to identify and upon which to obtain literature dealing with their life histories and habits.

Carefully observe the colour, size, and shape of the insect, and note the plant on which it is feeding and its manner of feeding. Consult available books on plant pests to find descriptions of the insects that feed upon this plant, and study carefully what is said about the insect observed. If this method is persistently followed, the teacher will be surprised at the rapidity with which his acquaintance with insects broadens.

Pictures of moths, butterflies, and beetles are of great assistance in the identification of these insects.

A school collection, made from the insects studied, is useful for future collection and for identification of insects. Do not allow any insect to be killed unless it is a good specimen intended to fill a place in the collection, or unless it is known to be an injurious insect. The teacher, by exercising proper control of the collecting, has an efficient means of teaching the sacredness of life. The fact should be emphasized that killing even an insect, when there is no good reason for doing so, is the act of a mean and selfish coward.

In addition to a collection of insects, including larval and pupal forms, collections of insect nests, of plant galls, of markings of engraver beetles, of burrows of tree borers, and of samples of the destructive workings of insect pests should be made.

While nothing is more beautiful than a carefully prepared collection of moths, butterflies, and beetles with their infinite variety of form and colour, nothing is more disgusting than a badly preserved collection of distorted, shrivelled, vermin-infested specimens. The teacher should avail himself of the collecting instinct which is prominent in boys of nine to fourteen years of age and of their desire to have things done well, to develop in them habits of carefulness, neatness, and thoroughness.


See Manual on Manual Training, for details for making collecting appliances.

Agricultural Bulletin No. 8, Nature Collections for Schools, Department of Education, Ontario, for detailed instructions on making insect collections.

The outfit for collecting is neither expensive nor hard to prepare. It consists of (1) an insect net for catching the insects, made by sewing a bag of cheese-cloth to a stout ring one foot in diameter, which is fastened to a broom handle; (2) a cyanide bottle for killing the insects, prepared by pouring some soft plaster-paris over a few lumps of potassium cyanide (three pieces, each of the size of a pea) in a wide-mouthed bottle. When the plaster has set, keep the bottle tightly corked to retain the poisonous gases. (3) Pins to mount the specimens. Entomological pins, Nos. 2, 3, and 4, are the best for general use. Beetles are usually pinned through the right wing-cover at about one fourth of its length from the front end of it. Moths and butterflies are pinned through the thorax. Small insects may be fastened to a very small pin, which in turn is set into a bit of cork, supported by a pin of ordinary size. (4) Spreading board for moths and butterflies. (5) Insect boxes to hold the specimens. This should be secured before the collection is begun. It is a common mistake to believe that any box whatever will do for storing insects. It is necessary to encourage effort in drying, spreading, pinning, and labelling, by providing an effective means of permanently preserving the specimens. In cigar-boxes, pasteboard boxes, and such makeshifts, the specimens soon become broken, covered with dust, and marred in other ways, and the collectors become discouraged; hence it is necessary to secure good boxes from dealers in entomological supplies.

A sponge saturated with carbon bisulphide should be placed in the box at intervals of not more than three months, to ensure the killing of parasites that destroy the specimens.

Entomological supplies may be obtained from Chapman & Co., London, Ont., or from G. M. Hendry Co., Toronto, Ont., or from Messrs. Watters Bros., Guelph, Ont.


For a study of the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths, it is necessary to have an insect cage. This can be purchased from any dealer in entomological supplies or it may be made by the pupils in the Manual Training Class. See Manual on Manual Training. A very satisfactory cage may be made, by the teacher or larger pupils, from a soap box, by tacking wire gauze over the open surface of the box, removing the nails from one of the boards of the bottom, and converting this board into a door by attaching it in its former position by light hinges and a hook and staple. The box, if now placed on end with two inches of loose soil in the bottom, will constitute a satisfactory insect cage, or vivarium.

A large lamp chimney with gauze tied over the upper end is useful for inclosing a small plant upon which eggs or insect larvae are developing. The base of the chimney may be thrust an inch into the soil and the development of the larva as it feeds upon the growing plant can be studied.

The following are larvae suitable for study and may be found in the places named:

The tomato worm on tomato or tobacco plants. (Look for stems whose leaves have been stripped off.)

The milkweed butterfly larvae on milkweed,

The potato beetle on potato vines,

The eastern swallow-tail butterfly on parsnip or carrot plants,

The tussock-moth on horse-chestnuts,

The promothea moth on lilac bushes,

The cabbage-butterfly on cabbage or mustard plants,

The red-spotted purple, banded purple, and viceroy butterfly larvae on willow and alder,

Cocoons of tussock-moth and tiger-moth under bark, logs, and rubbish in early autumn.

Larvae of the emperor-moth (cecropia) may be found wandering about, apparently aimlessly, in September; but they are searching for suitable places for attaching their cocoons to orchard and forest trees.

After the leaves have fallen from shrubs and trees, cocoons can be found more easily on the naked twigs or in withered, rolled-up leaves that are fastened by the silk of the cocoon to the branches.

Larvae, when placed in the cage, should be supplied with green plant food such as they were found feeding upon, and the pupils should be instructed to observe the chrysalis building or the cocoon weaving. It will be found that some larvae burrow into the soil.

During winter the cage should be kept in a cool place, such as a shed, so that the winter conditions may be as nearly natural as possible.

In a few cases, the development within the cocoon is quite rapid; and the adult form hatches out in a few weeks, for example, the cabbage-butterfly, monarch or milkweed butterfly, and tussock-moth. For this reason these are preferable for study by Form I pupils. In April the cage should be placed in the school-room, that the pupils may observe the emergence of the insects and the spreading of the wings. The insects can be fed with syrup or honey until they are strong, then the pupils should set them free.

Reference.—Reports of the Entomological Society of Ontario, Department of Agriculture.


The instructions given below for collecting, pressing, and mounting plants are applicable to wild flowers, grains, grasses, and weeds.

The specimen.—Select a plant which in form and size is typical of its species and which is in full flower. Care must be taken to dig down and secure the root.

If the plant is too large for the mounting sheet, cut out the central part, and use the root, lower leaves, upper leaves, and flower. If the root is very thick, cut slices lengthwise off the sides so as to reduce it to a flat form that is not too bulky.

Before the plant has had time to wither, spread it out flat on a sheet of paper and spread another sheet over it, taking care to straighten the leaves and flower out. Blotting-paper is preferable, but any soft paper that will absorb moisture will make a very good substitute.

Pressing and drying.—Place several sheets of paper above and below the specimen. Any number of specimens prepared as described in the last paragraph may be placed in a pile, one over another, resting on the floor or on a table. Place on top of the pile a board which is large enough to cover the surface of the pile, and on the board place a weight of about fifteen pounds of bricks, or other convenient material. A box containing sand, stones, or coal may be used in place of the board and weights. The weight prevents the shrivelling and distortion of the plants.

To prevent discoloration and mildewing of the plants, the papers around them must be changed at the end of the following successive intervals: two days, three days, five days, one week, etc., until they are quite dry. The length of time required for pressing and drying depends upon the quantity of sap in the plants and also upon the dryness or humidity of the atmosphere.

Mounting.—When dry, the specimens are mounted on sheets of heavy white paper. These sheets are cut to a standard size, eleven inches by fourteen inches, or sheets of half this size, namely, seven inches by eleven inches; are permissible. The best method of attaching the plant to the sheet is by pasting narrow strips of gummed paper across the plant in such positions as will serve to hold all parts of it in position.

Labelling.—The name of the specimen, the date of collection, the place from which collected, and the name of the collector are to be neatly written in a column in the lower right-hand corner of the sheet. Printed labels which are pasted on this corner of the sheet are also used.

Collections of leaves may be prepared by the same process as that given for plants. Leaves will retain their autumn tints if their surface is covered with varnish or paraffin, which will prevent the admission of air.

To cover with paraffin dip the leaf for a moment into melted paraffin.




The preceding portions of this Manual dealt with living things. There is another phase of Nature Study which has a more direct relation to the physical sciences, Chemistry and Physics, two subjects that are essentially experimental in their methods.

Although the lessons that follow are grouped in one portion of this book, the teacher should understand that he is to introduce them into his work as the occasion demands. They may be used to throw light on other parts of the school work. The experimental method is somewhat advanced for young children, hence no lessons are outlined for Forms I and II. In ungraded schools, Forms III and IV may be combined for the subject. It will be found most convenient to take this portion of the Nature Study during the winter months.


1. They are interesting, hence there is attention. The senses must be alert, hence pupils are trained to observe accurately.

2. After the experiment comes the inference, hence reasoning powers are developed.

3. They enable the teacher to make exceedingly concrete some very difficult abstract principles.

4. They can be correlated with a large number of other subjects and made to have a beneficial influence on the whole of the school work.

5. The great advance that is being made in all useful inventions to-day is largely due to the study of the physical sciences. Many boys and girls (seventy-five per cent.) never attend the High School. The Elementary School owes them a taste at least of these sciences that have such a bearing on their lives, that have surrounded them with so many mechanical contrivances for their comfort and convenience, and that explain so many common natural phenomena. Give a boy a taste for experimental science, and there is some chance that after leaving school he will not throw aside his studies to subsist intellectually on the newspaper, but that he will continue to investigate for himself, and make himself a well-informed man, an influential man in his section. The Elementary School must aim at fitting the boys and girls for life.

6. The advent of the experiment marks the downfall of superstition, prejudice, and reliance on authority and tradition. To lead a child to think for himself is a great achievement.

7. The use of the experiment in gaining knowledge will result in a cautiousness in accepting statements and making decisions.


1. They should be introduced into the school work naturally, as answers to questions which arise either in the regular course of the work or from suggestions made by the teacher at appropriate times.

2. As far as possible, the pupils should assist in performing the experiment. In small rural schools the scarcity of apparatus will necessitate the teacher's doing most of the work. In Form V classes and Continuation Schools the pupils may do the experiments individually.

3. The bearing of an experiment is not always evident; the teacher must be ready with judicious questions to lead the class to the proper conclusions.

4. The pupils must be acquainted with all the apparatus used. They must know what the teacher is doing and must be near enough to see the result.

5. A problem may be suggested, and a few days allowed for the pupils to think out a means of solution. If they invent and make their own apparatus, so much the better.

6. Whenever possible, the experiment should be applied to some natural phenomenon or everyday occurrence.


Geography.—The value of Physical Science in the Elementary School is largely due to the light it throws on geographical data. Numerous examples will appear in the succeeding pages.

Hygiene.—Experiments in carbon dioxide, oxygen, air, water, sound, and light, are absolutely necessary, if the children are to grasp with any degree of clearness the principles of respiration and ventilation, and the phenomena of hearing and seeing.

Manual Training.—Many pieces of apparatus may be made by the boys in their work with wood or iron. Some of the elementary principles of chemistry enable the girls to do their cooking intelligently. A knowledge of some of the principles of machines will help the pupils to understand the tools they may use in any employment.

Drawing.—Careful drawing of the apparatus used helps to fix the experiment in the mind and at the same time gives practice in art.

Composition.—Pupils must have ideas before they can write. The description of the experiment will make a good composition exercise, oral or written.



Bulletins of the Ontario Department of Agriculture, Toronto.

Bulletins of the Dominion Department of Agriculture, Ottawa.

Improvement of School Grounds. Department of Education, Toronto.

Atkinson. First Studies of Plant Life. Ginn & Co. 60 cents.

Bailey. Manual of Gardening. Macmillan Co. $2.00.

Blanchan. Nature's Garden. Doubleday Co. $2.00.

Comstock, A. M. Handbook of Nature Study. Comstock Pub. Co. $3.25.

Gray. Field, Forest, and Garden Botany. Amer. Book Co. $1.40.

Green, Louise. Among School Gardens. Charities Pub. Co. $1.25.

Hodge. Nature Study and Life. Ginn & Co. $1.50.

Holtz. Nature Study. Scribners' Sons. $1.50.

Jackson and Dougherty. Agriculture through the Laboratory and School Garden. Judd. $1.50.

James. Agriculture. Appleton & Co. 80 cents.

Keeler. Our Native Trees. Scribners' Sons. $2.00.

Osterhout. Experiments with Plants. Macmillan Co. $1.50.

Parsons. How to Plan the Home Grounds. Doubleday Co. $1.00.

Sergeant. Corn Plants. Houghton, Mifflin Co. 75 cents.


Miller. Minerals and How They Occur. The Copp, Clark Co. $1.50.

Milliken and Gale. First Course in Physics. Ginn & Co. $2.00.

Newman. Laboratory Exercises. Ginn & Co. 10c. each.

Remsen. College Chemistry. Am. Pub. Co. $2.50.

Simmons and Syenhouse. Science of Common Life. The Macmillan Company, $1.00.

Woodhull. Home-made Apparatus.

High School Text-books.


Bulletin No. 52. Dominion Department of Agriculture, Ottawa.

Bulletin No. 134. Ontario Department of Agriculture, Toronto.

Bulletin No. 161. Ontario Department of Agriculture, Toronto.

Bulletin No. 124. Ontario Department of Agriculture, Toronto.

Reports of Entomological Society of Ontario. Department of Education.

Fishes of Ontario. Nash. Department of Education.

Bailey and Coleman. First Course in Biology. The Macmillan Company. $1.25.

Buchanan. Senior Country Reader. The Macmillan Company. 40 cents.

Chapman. Bird Life. Appleton. $2.00.

Crawford. Guide to Nature Study. The Copp, Clark Co. 90 cents.

Dearness. How to Teach the Nature Study Course. The Copp, Clark Co. 60 cents.

Jordan and Kellogg. Animal Life. Appleton & Co. $1.20.

Kellogg. Elementary Zoology. Holt & Co. $1.35.

Reed. Bird Guide—Parts I and II. Musson Book Co., Toronto. 40 cents each.

Shaler. Domesticated Animals. Scribners' Sons. $2.50.

Silcox and Stevenson. Modern Nature Study. The Macmillan Company. 75 cents.

NOTE.—The bulletins named above are supplied free to schools. Chemical and Physical Apparatus and Entomological Supplies may be obtained from G. M. Hendry Co., Victoria Street, Toronto. Rocks and Minerals may be obtained from the Ward Natural Science establishment, Rochester, or from the Central Scientific Co., Chicago.




1 lb. glass tubing in 3 ft. lengths 3/16 in. to 1/4 in. outside diameter. 6 Florence flasks, 4 oz. to 8 oz. $ .50 1 Funnel, 3 in. diameter .10 1 Beaker, 8 oz. .10 1 Evaporating dish .10 3 ft. pure gum rubber tubing 1/8 in. inside .25 1/2 sq. foot thin sheet rubber .20 1 doz. test-tubes 6 in. by 5/8 in. .20 1/2 doz. test-tubes 6 in. by 7/8 in. .10 Capillary glass tubing, 3 sizes .10 2 rubber stoppers No. 2, one hole 1 " " " 4, " " 1 " " " 7, two holes .30 2 watch glasses .10 Ball and ring 1.00 2 Dry cells .60 2 Bar magnets .50 1 Chemical thermometer 212 deg. F. to 0 deg. F. .40 1 Spirit-lamp .20 1 Retort, 4 oz. stoppered .15 Wax candles .10 Retort stand of iron, two rings .85 1 Thistle tube .10 Common corks, assorted .10 Filter paper 5 in. diameter .05 Test-tube holder .10 Test-tube rack .10 Test-tube cleaner .10 1 piece glass tubing 30 in. long, 1/4 in. inside, for barometer .20 1 clamp for closing rubber tube .10 Covered copper wire .10 Small compass .50 Glass model of common pump 1.00 Globe for weighing air 2.50 Small piece of platinum foil, 1/2 in. by 2 in. .25 Glass prism 60 .50 Tuning fork 4-1/2 in. .50 Electric bell .50 Motor (Ajax) 1.50 Balance 10.00 Air-pump 15.00 Iron wire gauze .05 Sheet metals, iron, copper, zinc, lead, aluminum .25 2 lamp chimneys, straight ones preferred, at 10c .20 Iron ball, 2 in. in diameter .20 2 dairy thermometers at 15c .30


Sulphuric acid, 1 lb. .10 Hydrochloric acid, 8 oz. .10 Nitric acid, 4 oz. .10 Washing soda .05 Sugar .05 Salt .05 Blue vitriol .10 Alum .05 Saltpetre .05 Sulphur .05 Potass. permanganate .05 Lime .05 Plaster-paris .05 Potass. bichromate .10 Methylated spirits, 1 pt. .10 Alcohol, 95% .10 Iodine crystals .10 Mercury, 1 lb. 1.00 Pot. chlorate .15 Manganese dioxide .10 Phosphorus .10 Sweet oil, 2 oz. .10 Benzine, 2 oz. .10

The following tools will be found very valuable: saw, square, plane, brace and bit, knife, hammer, glass cutter, files—round, flat, and triangular.

Where the circumstances will not allow of the purchase of the preceding list, the following apparatus is recommended as sufficient for the performance of a large number of the experiments:

1/2 lb. glass tubing in 3 ft. lengths, 3/16 in. and 1/4 in. outside $ .20 2 Florence flasks, 4 oz. .15 1 Funnel .10 2 ft. pure gum rubber tubing, 1/8 in. inside .15 1/2 doz. test-tubes assorted, 5/8 to 7/8 diameter, 6 in. long .20 2 rubber stoppers, No. 2, one hole .10 1 rubber stopper, No. 4, one hole .10 Expansion of heat apparatus (made at blacksmith's) .10 Common corks, assorted .10 1 chemical thermometer 0 deg. F. to 212 deg. F. .40 1 spirit-lamp, 4 oz. .10 1 thistle tube .10 Covered wire, copper .10


Iodine crystals .10 Sulphuric acid, 1 lb. .10 Methylated spirits 1 pt. .20 Alcohol, 95% .10 Mercury, 1/2 lb. .50 Pot. chlorate .15 Manganese dioxide .10

The following may be obtained, for either list, at little or no cost from household stores or home-made sources: washing soda, sugar, salt, ammonia, coal, coke, saltpetre, sulphur, blue vitriol, alum, potass. bichromate, blueing, lime, pickle-jars, wire gauze, candles, wire, sheet metals, test-tube holder and rack, balance, battery cells, horse-shoe magnet, pneumatic trough, lamp chimneys, tin cans, melting spoon, bicycle pump, baking-powder.

For home-made apparatus, consult Laboratory Exercises in Physics by Newman, Ginn & Co., 50c., and Manual on Manual Training.

Reference has been made in the preceding experiments to the use of simple and easily contrived apparatus. The more of this the pupils can contrive and make under the direction of the teacher, the more valuable will be the course in Physical Science.


Into a pint gem-jar put water 10 parts, sulphuric acid 1 part, potass, bichromate 1 part. Have jar three quarters full. Cut a piece of board 4 in. square, bore two holes in it, and through the holes thrust two pieces of electric light carbon, 5 in. or 6 in. long. The outer edges of the carbons should not be more than two inches apart. With a saw, cut a slit in the board between the holes and insert a strip of zinc 2 in. by 7 in. previously rubbed over with mercury. Set the three elements in the jar, connect the two carbons to one wire, and the zinc to another.

One cell of this kind will run a small motor, operate a telegraph sounder, make a simple electro-magnet, or ring an electric bell; two cells will decompose water: three will heat a piece of fine iron wire red-hot.


1. Cut the neck end from a pickle bottle. Get a No. 1 stopper, (rubber) with two holes in it and insert a piece of platinum foil 2 in. by 1/8 in. into each hole so that 1/2 in. projects above and below. Insert a tight plug beside each strip, thus holding it fast and making the stopper watertight. Insert the stopper into the neck of the jar. Pour into the vessel thus formed enough water to cover the platinums, and add a few drops of sulphuric acid. Touch the wires from the battery to the lower ends of the strips. Note bubbles of gas arise from the platinums. These may be collected in test-tubes and found by test to be oxygen and hydrogen.

2. Fasten a strip of platinum 1 in. by 1/8 in. to each wire from the battery and dip these into some acidulated water contained in a tumbler. The decomposition of the water into two gases can be seen, but the gases cannot be collected so readily as in 1 above. Bits of electric light carbon will do instead of platinum if the current is not too weak.


When oxygen or other gas is to be collected over water, use a milk pan or similarly shaped vessel.


Use an ink-bottle to contain the alcohol and several strands of string for the wick; make a hole in a piece of tin and draw the wick through; then let the tin rest on the neck of the bottle to support the wick.


A siphon barometer takes less mercury than a cistern barometer. To the open end of the barometer tube attach a piece of strong rubber tubing 4 in. long and to this a piece of glass tubing 3 in. long. Fill the tube thus formed with mercury to within 3 in. from the top. Holding the short glass tube open end up, turn the long tube closed end up. (A tube of 1/8 in. bore needs only one quarter of the mercury required to fill a tube 1/4 in. bore.)


For a hygrometer, suspend two dairy thermometers side by side against the wall, cover the bulb of one with thin muslin, and let the muslin hang down and dip into water in some small vessel placed about three inches below the bulb on a little shelf.


To avoid explosions, a spirit-lamp should be kept filled.

Toy rubber balloons answer well for sheet rubber.

Red ink makes good colouring matter.

Make touch-paper by soaking any porous paper in a solution of saltpetre, and drying it.

Instead of bending glass tubes, join them with rubber tubing.

To make a test-tube holder, fold a sheet of paper until it is about half an inch wide and wrap this around the tube.

To bend glass tubing, hold in the flame of the spirit-lamp and rotate between the fingers till it becomes soft and flexible, remove from the flame, and bend.

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