Indoor gardening fuels interest in science
All children don’t have the opportunity to learn about science and some of them are not interested in learning about science, often riddled with anxiety or lacking confidence in their learning abilities.
But science is an important subject and can spark children’s minds about solving problems in the bigger world, and learning about the world around them. It teaches them to think about situations, and helps develop a healthy dose of scepticism while answering questions that they have about the world around them.
Researchers at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education have found a simple and effective way of fostering a positive attitude and a desire to learn about science – through hands-on hydroponic gardening in a greenhouse.
Hydroponic gardening involves growing plants in water without soil.
The students who were primarily African-American, Hispanic and English language learners- developed a positive attitude towards science.
234 Boston-area elementary-aged students participated in this study, in a program at three separate sites. The program was called “Growing Plants and Scientists: Fostering Positive Attitudes toward Science among All Participants in an Afterschool Hydroponics Program.”
The students’ attitudes towards science including anxiety, desire and self-concept was examined through pre and post surveys taken over the course the after-school program.
The data showed that the students’ anxiety decreased while the desire to learn increased during the course of the program.
The students who were primarily African-American, Hispanic and English language learners-developed a positive attitude towards science. Although the researchers found that the student’s first language (English or Spanish) was not a factor which brought about these changes.
Self-concept or self-confidence increased significantly in female students but showed no change in male students.
The researchers are confident that the primarily positive outcomes found in all three sites of this study suggest that hydroponic gardening programs should be designed factoring all the aspects of the program which facilitated positive outcomes, to create an educational platform which will engage students throughout the year.
This is especially ideal in places where garden space is limited, climate does not support outdoor growing or when after-school instructor experience might be limited.
Engaging kids in gardening, fosters a natural curiosity in science and sparks interest in learning. It’s easy, effective and gets them outdoors to enjoy their natural surroundings making it easy for parents and after-school instructors to support their learning science.
Source: Journal of Science Education and Technology
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