INCORPORATING CREATIVE LEARNING INTO HORTICULTURE CLASSES

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  • 1 Departments of Agricultural Education and Horticulture; Clemson University

The Clemson University Communication Across The Curriculum program is coordinating a creative response for learning (CRL) project to provide students with creative learning and critical thinking opportunities relevant to course content while creating a learning community. Faculty representing numerous disciplines asked their students to respond with creative projects (e.g., drawings, poems, posters, multimedia, sculpture, music, etc.) to the subject matter of the course. Students in Horticulture courses responded by writing poems in a Landscape Appreciation class, designing creative solutions to environmental problems in a Landscape Design Class, and installing an Ethnobotany Garden in a landscape implementation class. The landscape design and implementation classes used a service learning methodology to identify and solve problems in local communities. Following a four-part process of preparation, action, reflection, and celebration, students in the design class completed plans for thirteen theme gardens constituting a Children's garden in the South Carolina Botanical Garden. The following semester, landscape implementation students built the first of the series, an Ethnobotany Garden, using teamwork and university/community partnerships. They also practiced individual creative thinking and building skills through the design and installation of creative projects including a bat house, a stained glass and a broken tile birdhouse, four container gardens, artistic stepping-stones, and a dramatic metal sculpture of a butterfly representing the sustainable wildlife habitat aspect of the Children's garden. College students and faculty working on the Ethnobotany Garden project alone contributed over 1,000 hours to their community while learning more about both the art and the science of landscape design and implementation.

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