Master of Science (MS)
Plant, Environmental Management and Soil Sciences
School gardens have been and are in use today at schools around the United States to supplement their curriculum. Very little research, however, has been conducted to quantify the benefits that gardening provides to students. The first four chapters of a hands-on gardening curriculum (Junior Master Gardener Handbook Level One) were introduced into three East Baton Rouge Parish elementary schools the fall semester of 2002. Science achievement tests developed at Texas A&M University specifically for the Junior Master Gardener program, were given both before and after the students participated in the gardening activities to determine whether or not the activities helped improve achievement scores. The curriculum was introduced as an informal education program conducted by East Baton Rouge Parish Master Gardener volunteers and Louisiana State University students once a week for two hours during regular school hours. The results were significantly different (P < 0.0167) between the experimental classes’ pre- and posttest scores, while no significant difference was found between the pre- 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 that even once weekly use of gardening activities and hands-on classroom activities help improve science achievement test scores.
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Smith, Leanna Lynn, "The integration of a formal garden curriculum into Louisiana public elementary schools" (2003). LSU Master's Theses. 1713.