Effects of a Gardening Program on the Academic Progress of Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Math and Science Students

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  • 1 Department of Agriculture, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666.
  • 2 Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666.
  • 3 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133.

Science and math achievement scores of third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary students were studied using a sample of 196 students from McAuliffe Elementary School, located in McAllen, Texas. The experimental group of students participated in a school garden program in addition to traditional classroom-based math and science methods, while students within the control group were taught math and science using only traditional classroom-based methods. No statistically significant differences were found in comparisons of science students' achievement scores, indicating that those students using the school garden program as an additional method to learn science benefited similarly to those who learned using only traditional science classroom-based instruction. However, results indicated statistically significant differences in comparisons of students' math achievement scores, showing that those students who received traditional math instruction had more improved math achievement scores compared to those taught using the school garden program. Results also found no statistically significant differences between gender and ethnic background comparisons. However, statistically significant differences in comparisons of grade levels showed that fourth graders benefited more, academically, from participation in the school garden program in comparison to other grade levels.

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