Experiential Learning in School Gardens and Other Outdoor Environments: A Survey of Needs for Supplemental Programs
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Data analysis indicated existing programs, the need for programs, and how programs can best be implemented. Existing programs consisted of hands-on activities in the classroom including growing plants from seeds and dissecting and observing plant parts. Experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom included school gardening, observations on the school grounds, and outdoor field trips. Survey respondents indicated a need for supplemental programs related to plants and environmental science. Teachers reported interest in a school gardening program, having a guest speaker in the classroom, receiving curriculum support, and taking their class on a field trip to the Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech. Most teachers also showed interest in receiving in-service training to strengthen their knowledge of plants and environmental science. Based on the results of the study, there is a need for supplemental programs related to plants and environmental science. Engaging lessons should be developed to assist teachers with school gardening programs. Experiential learning opportunities such as meaningful field trips should also be developed. Other methods to supplement school curriculum include providing teachers with curriculum materials and lesson kits. All programs developed should correlate to the state-mandated standards.
- Masters Theses