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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Science in the Garden: Place-Based Learning as Education Enrichment
by Riggs, Christopher Michael, M.S., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2020, 81; 28029584
Abstract (Summary)

Background: School gardens represent place-specific community and environmental resources that offer experiential learning opportunities integrated with formal or informal lessons for students of all ages. GBL curricula often include STEM, arts and humanities, and service-learning and have been successfully used in elementary, middle, and high school levels in private and public institutions. GBL represents a pedagogy that increases student exposure to nature to connect them to engaging activities for higher classroom achievement. GBL is proposed to enhance student science self-perceptions, engagement, and desired outcomes in science learning and identity by connecting students to culturally relevant, hands-on, and authentic learning experiences through a felt sense of place.

Results: Saint Louis Metro Area K-12 science educators were asked to describe their students’ self-perceptions, engagement, and outcomes in science and possible teaching experiences with GBL. K-12 GBL science educators in the statistical Saint Louis Metro area reported integrating garden class into school curricula with engaging garden activities that increased their perceptions of student’s science-self perceptions and science engagement. Educator perceptions of student's desired science outcomes may be affected by cofactors such as socioeconomic status. Community non-profits programs assist school garden presence in high poverty elementary schools.

Conclusions: School gardens are a meeting place of educator classroom objectives and local environmental and community realities that are often reliant on experienced players in schools and the greater community for successful integration into classroom lessons. Experienced Saint Louis Metro Area garden educators offer authentic, hands-on activities that increase feelings of belonging, competence, and autonomy in science. Engaging in garden activities strongly encourages positive behavioral and emotional student interactions with science lessons by providing an outdoor space that hosts exciting and relatable topics that expand students' perceptions of their local environment, community, and themselves.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lee, Danielle N.
Commitee: Barry, Kelly, Marlette, Stephen
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental education, Education
Keywords: Garden-based learning, Place-based learning, Self-determination theory
Publication Number: 28029584
ISBN: 9798672113821
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