Determining the effect of using outdoor instruction on increasing students' academic achievement and attitudes towards the environment

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Students today are less connected to the outdoors and the environment. Students spend less time outdoors than their parents, which has made students less comfortable with being in the outdoors. This purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of utilizing outdoor education on student achievement in science, and to increase students' attitudes towards environmental issues and the outdoors. Lessons were taught in an outdoor classroom and students were given pre- and post-test content assessments to measure growth in their learning. Students also filled out pre- and post-treatment surveys and participated in small group interviews to determine changes in their attitudes towards the outdoor learning experience, and towards the environment. Overall, students showed statistically significant growth in their learning from pre- and post-test scores in the unit of instruction that utilized outdoor instruction. Although quantitative results of pre- and post-treatment surveys were not statistically significant, comments from the small-group student interviews conveyed the effectiveness of utilizing outdoor education for learning, and for increasing motivation to learn about, and be in, the outdoors.




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