Growing Minds: The Effect of a School Gardening Program on the Science Achievement of Elementary Students

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 National Gardening Association, 1100 Dorset St., South Burlington, VT 05403.
  • | 2 Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666.
  • | 3 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133.

Science achievement of third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary students was studied using a sample of 647 students from seven elementary schools in Temple, Texas. Students in the experimental group participated in school gardening activities as part of their science curriculum in addition to using traditional classroom-based methods. In contrast, students in the control group were taught science using traditional classroom-based methods only. Students in the experimental group scored significantly higher on the science achievement test compared to the students in the control group. No statistical significance was found between girls and boys in the experimental group, indicating that gardening was equally effective at teaching science for both genders. After separating the data into the grade levels, the garden curriculum was more effective as a teaching method in raising science achievement scores for boys in third and fifth grades, and for girls in the fifth grade compared to traditional classroom-based methods alone.

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