How incorporating outdoor educational experiences impact and benefit 7th grade students in science education

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


This investigation looked at how incorporating outdoor educational experiences impacted and benefited 7th grade students in science education. Students participated in seven outdoor experiences total, including two full-day field days and five outdoor class sessions. Students were interviewed and surveyed so that data could be collected before and after the outdoor experiences. In addition, students' behavior and attitudes were observed during the outdoor experiences. The students were also asked to recall information about the two field days to examine their retention of relevant information. Additional data was collected on the use of electronics by students, and how it impacted their time outdoors. Results revealed that students' attitudes about outdoor learning were better than their attitudes toward learning in the classroom. The majority of students rated their behavior as good to great during each outdoor class session. Students often reflected that they were more on task in an outdoor setting than in an indoor learning environment. Students agreed that electronics sometimes kept them from being outdoors. Increased credit was given to teachers or schools and to students educating themselves in regard to who taught them the most about nature and the outdoors. Overall, the data indicated outdoor experiences had a positive impact on students' time on task, attitudes, and motivation toward learning science.




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