First Advisor

William Becker

Date of Publication

Winter 3-11-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science


Science Teaching




School gardens -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Science -- Study and teaching (Elementary)



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 72 pages)


School gardens can have a profound, positive influence on a student's academic achievement, social skills, and attitudinal orientation. Despite these clear benefits, the use of school gardens as an instructional medium is not as prevalent as would be expected. There are several types of obstacles that can prevent teachers from using school gardens, including facets of time, support, and knowledge-based challenges. This multiple case study employs a mixed methods design to uncover factors that influence primary school teachers' decisions to utilize a school garden in their STEM curriculum. The goals of this study were to determine the types of benefits and barriers primary school teachers encountered in the study school district. All of the teacher participants worked within the same school district, had access to established school gardens on their campus, and were supported in their instruction and use of materials by the district's Science and Technology Center (STC). Quantitative data was collected from garden resource and teacher self-efficacy surveys; qualitative data about teacher rationales was extracted from in-depth teacher interviews. Overall analyses determined that aspects of instruction and logistics were the most important factors for a teacher to have in her decision to utilize her school garden. These data are presented and discussed in the context of identifying trends in teachers' use of school gardens as instructional tools so that actions might be taken to remove barriers and increase curriculum opportunities.


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