Advisor

William Becker

Date of Award

Winter 3-29-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

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

Department

Science Teaching

Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 102 pages)

Subjects

Outdoor education, Middle school students -- Attitudes, Plants -- Study and teaching (Middle school) -- Oregon -- Portland, Science -- Study and teaching (Middle school) -- Oregon -- Portland, Next Generation Science Standards (Education)

DOI

10.15760/etd.2750

Abstract

Outdoor School is a cherished educational tradition in the Portland, OR region. This program's success is attributed to its presumed ability to positively impact affective and cognitive student outcomes. Residential programs such as Outdoor School are considered to be an important supplement to the classroom model of learning because they offer an authentic, contextually rich learning environment. References to relevant literature support the idea that student gains in affective and cognitive domains occur as a result of the multi-sensory, enjoyable, hands-on nature of outdoor learning. The sample population for this study was 115 sixth graders from a demographically diverse Portland, OR school district. This study used an instrument developed by the Common Measures System that was administered to students as part of Outdoor School's professional and program development project. The affective student outcome data measured by the Common Measures instrument was complemented by a formative assessment probe ascertaining prior knowledge of the definition of plants and field notes detailing Field Study instructor lesson content. This first part of this study examined the changes that take place in students' attitudes toward science as a result of attending Outdoor School. The second part took a look at how Outdoor School instruction in the Plants field study aligned with NGSS MS-LS Disciplinary Core Ideas and Practices. The third section of the study compared how Outdoor School instruction in the Plants Field Study and students' prior knowledge of what defines a plant aligned with NGSS MS-LS DCIs. The intent of the research was to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of how students' attitudes toward science are influenced by participating in an outdoor education program and contribute to the development of a continuum between classroom and outdoor school learning using Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas and Practices as a framework. Results of this study were intended to inform outdoor education program development, add to the existing body of research, and inform future research projects.

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/17040

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