Program Evaluation of Elementary School Field Trips to a Botanical Garden
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve’s 4th grade environmental science pond studies field trip programs. Student knowledge gain and attitude towards subject matter was evaluated through pre- and post-test questionnaires. Teachers were surveyed following the field trip, and observations were made by the researcher during the field trip to assess if students were actively involved. A case study comparing field trip program preparation, pedagogy, activities and outcomes was also conducted at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, Chicago Botanic Garden, and The Morton Arboretum. Results of the study indicated that students gained knowledge of subject matter and retained it in the short and long term (1 and 6 weeks), and that the field trip had a significant impact on their attitudes. Results also indicate that teachers who attended field trips at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve were satisfied with the preparation aspect of the field trip, but they thought improvements should be made in pedagogy and activity. The case study also indicated that Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve’s field trip preparation was satisfactory, but the activity portion of the field trip could make improvements when compared to The Chicago Botanic and The Morton Arboretum. Chicago Botanic Garden could make improvements to their field trip evaluations, and The Morton Arboretum could improve the activity portion of their field trip.