Two environmental education classes at Missouri Botanical Garden, “The Water Cycle: Making” a Terrarium” and “The Tropical Rainforest”, were evaluated to determine their effects upon attitude and knowledge change of elementary school children. A pretest-post-test design was used to compare experimental and control groups. Data indicated that The Water Cycle: Making a Terrarium class had a positive influence on attitudes toward learning about plants and the environment the Tropical Rainforest class had no effect. Neither of the classes significantly affected the children's attitudes toward interacting with the environment. Both classes increased the knowledge base of participating children. There were no differences between male and female attitudes or knowledge in either class. Nonformal learning experiences of this type may be a more effective means of stimulating horticultural interest among young children than traditional classroom settings.
Anthony W. Kahtz
The cognitive learning style theory of field dependence and independence was used to examine the academic achievement of students using a computer assisted instruction (CAI) program in a woody plant identification course. The Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) was used to determine the students' level of field dependence and independence. Students were blocked and randomly assigned to experimental or control groups. Participants in the experimental group used a nonlinear drill and tutorial type of CAI program as a partial laboratory substitute. The CAI program had no influence relative to traditional laboratories upon either field dependent or field independent students' long term memory of course material. However, the CAI program was of equal benefit to field dependent and independent students' academic achievement. Qualitative interviews were also conducted to assess the effect of the CAI program. Data indicated that field dependent students benefited from the CAI program as a presentation source of recall cues in the reviewing of course material, but not for the initial acquisition of knowledge. Field independent students may be able to use the CAI program to initially acquire knowledge, but its best usage may be as a method of presenting recall cues to refresh their memory. These results showed that the CAI program could be used as a partial laboratory substitute for traditional woody plant identification laboratories with no adverse effect upon student academic achievement, regardless of their level of field dependency.
Anthony W. Kahtz and Nick J. Gawel
One-year-old `Royal Burgundy' barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea) liners were potted in 1-gal (3.8-L) containers. Container media consisted of noncomposted recycled waste mixed at rates of 0% (control), 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% by volume with a (by volume) 3 pine bark: 2 peat: 1 sand media. Treatments were replicated eight times. Three grams (0.1 oz) of Osmocote 13-10-13 (13N-4.37P-10.8K) with micronutrients were topdressed on all containers. Media electrical conductivity (EC) and pH readings were recorded every fifteen days over the course of 5 months. Dry shoot, root, and total weights were recorded at the end of the project and a foliar analysis was performed for nutrient and metal content. Results indicate a general trend of higher EC with greater volumes of recycled waste. EC levels for the control and 25% treatment were within recommendations for the optimal plant growth of plants for the duration of the study. All treatments had an acceptable pH level for plant growth. Nitrogen levels were below the recommended foliar analysis sufficiency range. Levels of phosphorus and potassium were above or within the recommended foliar analysis sufficiency range. Metals were below or within recommended ranges for all treatments. Total dry weights revealed no statistical difference between the control, 25%, 50%, and 75% treatments. This study indicates that 25% noncomposted recycled waste could be used in container media for production of `Royal Burgundy' barberry.