On this page you will find examples of quasi-experimental research that have been conducted. Each article has a summary and a link to the article can be accessed through clicking on the title.
Assessing a Garden Based Curriculum for Elementary Youth in Iowa: Parental Perceptions of Change
SUMMARY: The interest and use of gardens as educational tools for youth has increased in recent decades. The positive connection found between children and horticulture has prompted the development of garden-based curricula for use in schools. Iowa State University Extension developed the Growing in the Garden
(GITG) curriculum for use in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. This study examined what impact the GITG curriculum had on the awareness and interest of first graders in the areas of science, nutrition, and environmental awareness. Impact was assessed by a parental survey asking for perceptions of their child’s interest and awareness after experiencing three lessons from the GITG curriculum. The sample population consisted of 78 parents of first-grade students from four classrooms in Iowa. The response rate was 60.2%. Results indicate that a significant number of parents completing the survey noted an increased awareness and interest of their children in the areas of science and the environment. Factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender did not influence the outcomes.
Children’s Relationship to Plants Among Primary School Children in Finland: Comparisons by Location and Gender
SUMMARY: There is considerable evidence that children in modem society are losing their contact with nature and, more precisely, with green plants. Is this also the case 10 Finland, a northern country famous for its forests and wild nature? This study examines the relationship of 9 to 10 year-old Finnish schoolchildren with the green environment and plants. The data were gathered by a questionnaire comprising structured and open-ended questions. The focus of the research was on two comparisons: first, on the nature and child relationship in rural and urban neighborhoods and, second, among boys and girls. Participants in the study amounted to a total of 76 children, 42 in the Helsinki suburb area and 34 in Paltamo. The results suggested that the children in rural surroundings had closer contact with nature than their urban associates. Similarly, the results showed that girls in the study (N = 48) were more interested in plants than boys (N = 28). After the pre-questioning, the children of Helsinki participated in an in-class horticultural intervention and 10 days later, answered a similar questionnaire again. The results of the open-ended questions revealed that equally to children in other Western countries, Finnish children may also be in danger of losing their direct contact with the natural environment. The results suggest that it is essential to research further the children’s own experiences if we are to understand, and subsequently, to enhance, the crucial role of the green environment in their lives.
The Effect of Interior Planting on Health and Discomfort Among Workers and School Children
SUMMARY: Plants are widely used in building environments; however, studies reporting the health and discomfort symptoms of people in response to indoor foliage plants are few. The objective of the presented studies was to assess the effect of foliage plants or a combination of foliage plants and full-spectrum fluorescent lamps on self-reported health and discomfort complaints in three different work environments: an office building, an X-ray department in a Norwegian hospital, and a junior high school. Health and discomfort symptoms were found to be 21%to 25% lower during the period when subjects had plants or plants and full-spectrum lighting present compared to a period without plants. Neuropsychologieal symptoms, such as fatigue and headache, and mucous membrane symptoms, such as dry and hoarse throat, seemed to be more affected by the treatments than skin symptoms, such as itching skin.
The Effect of the National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitat Program on Fourth Grade Students Standardized Test Scores
SUMMARY: The purpose of this study was to determine if participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitat Program (SYHP) had an effect on the standardized test scores of fourth grade primary school students in Houston, Texas. To conduct the study, three pairs of Houston elementary schools were matched by student demographics of ethnicity and economics. The treatment group included a total of 306 fourth grade students whose teachers were using the SYHP. The control group consisted of a total of 108 fourth grade students whose teachers used a more traditional curriculum. To measure academic achievement, changes in standardized test scores (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) were compared between students’ third grade data and their fourth grade data. Results showed that those students participating in the SnIP had significantly increased math scores when compared with peers in schools that were taught using a more traditional curriculum. However, overall, few differences were found in comparisons of reading scores of those students taught with SYHP and those taught using a more traditional curriculum.