Master of Arts (MA)
Kindergarten children learn through hands-on interaction with materials. Additionally, the environment contributes to their learning. Therefore, if children are learning about concepts that naturally occur outside, they need to learn these concepts through active exploration, using as many senses as possible. This thesis examines the influence that an outdoor environment may have on children's abilities to comprehend and recall concepts in a science lesson. The sample for this study came from four kindergarten classrooms from a semi-rural school in Louisiana. Three treatment groups received a lesson on trees. The control group was not given a lesson. Two groups participated in the lesson indoors, interacting with either pictures only or pictures and concrete objects. The lessons presented concepts about trees (height, width, roots, leaves, and bark). Children in the fourth group explored each concept as it naturally occurred outdoors in a lesson. Children's initial understanding of concepts and subsequent learning were measured by pre-and post-test drawings. The author found an influence by the outdoor environment on kindergarten children's comprehension and recall of the science concepts. Children taught outdoors demonstrated more accurate understandings of the overall concept of "tree" and of the "leaf" concept.
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Dietz, Kari Anne, "Influence of teaching in an outdoor classroom on kindergarten children's comprehension and recall of a science lesson" (2002). LSU Master's Theses. 222.