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.
C.D. Klemmer, T.M. Waliczek, and J.M. Zajicek
C.D. Klemmer, T.M. Waliczek, and J.M. Zajicek
School gardens show promise as a tool for developing science process skills through real-world investigations. However, little research data exist attesting to their actual effectiveness in enhancing students' science achievement. The purpose of this study was to develop three cognitive test instruments for assessing science achievement gain of third, fourth, and fifth grade students using a garden curriculum. The development of the test instruments occurred in three phases: 1) an initial set of test instruments which served as a prototype for length, scope, and format; 2) an adapted set of test instruments which were piloted; and 3) a final set of test instruments which were used for the assessment of the school gardening curriculum. The final Cronbach's alpha reliability for the final set of test questions was 0.82, indicating an acceptable level of internal consistency. Content validity of the test instruments developed for this study was established based on the science content standards specified in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for each grade level along with the gardening curriculum, as well as the Science Scope and Sequence documents for Temple, Texas Independent School District (ISD). Construct validity was established for the testing instruments by soliciting help from various curriculum experts from the Temple ISD.
Leanna L. Smith and Carl E. Motsenbocker
The first four chapters of a hands-on gardening curriculum (Junior Master Gardener Handbook Level One) were introduced into three East Baton Rouge Parish (Louisiana) elementary schools in the fall semester of 2002 as an informal education program conducted by East Baton Rouge Parish Master Gardener volunteers and Louisiana State University students. The curriculum took place once per week for 2 hours during regular school hours. Science achievement tests, developed at Texas A&M University specifically for the Junior Master Gardener program, were given before and after the students participated in the gardening activities to determine whether or not the activities helped improve achievement scores. Science achievement was significantly different (P ≤ 0.0167) between the experimental classes' pretest and posttest scores, while no significant difference was found between the pretest and posttest scores of the control classes. No significant difference was found between the experimental and control classes due to treatment. Several variables may have affected the outcome of the study, but the results show once weekly use of gardening activities and hands-on classroom activities help improve science achievement test scores.
Adelaide Pigg* and Tina M. Waliczek
Science and math achievement scores of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade elementary students were studied using a sample of 196 students from McAuliffe Elementary School, located in McAllen, Texas. Students in the experimental group participated in the Junior Master Gardener™ program in addition to the traditional classroom-based math and science methods. In contrast, 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 Junior Master Gardener™ program as a 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 Junior Master Gardener™ program. Results also found no statistically significant differences between demographic groups indicating that males and females and students from different ethnicities benefited similarly from participation in the Junior Master Gardener™ program.
A.E. Pigg, T.M. Waliczek, and J.M. Zajicek
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.
Anton E. Lawson
According to recent surveys 80% of the primary, 90% of intermediate grade teachers, and 50% of all teachers base their instruction upon a single textbook; almost all questions arise from information in the textbook and most center on terminology; the common pattern of science instruction is assign, recite, test, and discuss the test, all based upon the textbook. The result of such instruction is that students demonstrate poor science achievement (both in terms of discipline specific knowledge and in terms of an ability to think and act in a scientific way) and poor attitudes towards science. In contrast, a number of excellent science K-12 programs have been developed in this country during the past 10-20 years and when used properly, achievement and attitude gains are considerable. Regrettably our system of district level control makes implementation of these superior programs difficult.
Amy L. McFarland, Benjamin J. Glover, Tina M. Waliczek, and Jayne M. Zajicek
). Klemmer et al. (2005) found the science achievement of students who participated in a hands-on gardening program and science curriculum was higher when compared with students who only participated in a traditional science curriculum. Danforth et al
Kimberly R. Hilgers, Cynthia Haynes, and Joanne Olson
Mastropieri, 1995 ). Marginal evidence of increased science achievement has been shown with the Junior Master Gardener (JMG) ( Klemmer et al., 2005 ; Smith and Motsenbocker, 2005 ). Attitudes toward the environment begin developing very early in life, before
Sin-Ae Park, Ho-Sang Lee, Kwan-Suk Lee, Ki-Cheol Son, and Candice A. Shoemaker
); therefore, it may maintain children’s interest and curiosity. Moreover, school gardening has been reported to elicit positive effects, such as improved science achievement ( Dirks and Orvis, 2005 ; Klemmer et al., 2005a , 2005b ; Mabie and Baker,1996
Kathryn Karsh, Edward Bush, Janice Hinson, and Pamela Blanchard
lessons from the Texas Junior Master Gardener Handbook to determine if students receiving these additional lessons scored higher on science achievement-based tests. In Smith's study, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that gender had no significant