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Carolyn W. Robinson and Jayne M. Zajicek

The goal of this study was to assess changes in the life skill development of elementary school students participating in a 1-year school garden program. The Life Skills Inventory included statements for six constructs of life skills including teamwork, self-understanding, leadership, decision making skills, communication skills, and volunteerism. The students were divided into two treatment groups, an experimental group that participated in the garden program and a control group that did not participate in the school garden program. Students in the control group had significantly higher overall life skills scores on the pretest compared to students participating in the garden program but the scores were no longer significantly different between the groups on the posttest scores at the end of the program. In addition, there were no significant differences in the control group's pretest scores compared to their posttest scores. However, the students in the experimental group did significantly increase their overall life skills scores by 1.5 points after participating in the garden program. Two internal life skill scales were positively influenced by the garden program; “working with groups” and “self understanding.”

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A.W. Fleener, C.W. Robinson, J.D. Williams and M. Kraska

( Waliczek et al., 2000 ). This study focused on one of those benefits, life skills, by measuring the effects of plant activities on the following five life skill areas: leadership, teamwork, self-understanding, decision-making skills, and communication

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Christopher J. Currey and Roberto G. Lopez

Total crop management (TCM) is a holistic approach to crop production that integrates data collection and interpretation to facilitate decisions that produce a uniform, high-quality, and marketable crop. Our objective was to determine if integrating TCM into poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) production experiences at two separate land-grant universities would improve student confidence in greenhouse potted plant production decision-making skills. Students produced containerized poinsettias and collected data on the greenhouse environment [light, temperature, and relative humidity (RH)], plant growth, media properties, irrigation water quality, and pest populations weekly at Purdue University (PU) (2011 and 2013) and Iowa State University (ISU) (2013) or biweekly (2015). Students were provided with self-assessments at the beginning and end of each course with statements about TCM and the various components comprising TCM activities. For nearly every statement at both institutions, self-assessments in confidence and understanding increased on the pre- to postsemester surveys. The systematic data collection combined with discussion and reflection provides an opportunity for peer instruction and learning. We believe TCM increases student confidence in their greenhouse plant production skills.

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indicated an increase in knowledge on topics addressed and a statistically significant increase in overall test scores. End of program observational evaluations indicated that youth developed teamwork, communication and decision making skills. A 3-month