Title page for ETD etd-03282005-124326

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Karsh, Kathryn Lauren
Author's Email Address kkarsh1@lsu.edu
URN etd-03282005-124326
Title Integrating Horticulture Biology and Coastal Environmental Issues into the Middle School Science Curriculum
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Horticulture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Edward Bush Committee Chair
Janice Hinson Committee Member
Pamela Blanchard Committee Member
  • science education
  • wetlands
  • horticulture
  • middle school
Date of Defense 2005-02-25
Availability unrestricted
Louisiana is losing nearly 34 square miles of coastal land each year. Scientists predict by 2050 one-third of Louisiana’s coast land will disappear (LaCoast, 2004). Many restoration projects have begun to counteract the severe land loss. Scientists use restoration methods such as vegetative plantings, sedimentary and freshwater diversions, and hydrologic projects to prevent land loss. Coastal Roots, a school-based nursery stewardship project for upper elementary to high school students coordinated by Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and LSU AgCenter, helps students understand the land loss crisis and gives them a constructive way to help restore the damaged coastal habitats by providing student-grown plants for vegetative plantings. Because of the critical role that horticulture practices play in raising seedlings into mature transplants, eight standards-based horticulture lessons were created and taught in middle school classrooms at four schools over a period of two years. Ultimately, these eight lessons will (1) provide the science content and skills students need in order to be able to grow healthy seedlings, and (2) increase students’ awareness and concern about coastal land loss issues facing the citizens of Louisiana. The eight middle school science lesson plans were created to meet specific Louisiana Grade-Level Expectations for 463 students in 4 schools. Pre and Post-tests were given to each participating class (six grade through nine) in addition to the Children’s Attitude Towards the Environment Scale (CATES). Additional pre- and post-tests were given to selected classes not participating in the program. The evaluations tested both short and long-term memory on material contained in the lesson plans. The data was analyzed by school, gender, treatment, and grade level. Results for both 2003 And 2004 general science knowledge increased an average of greater than 20%. Long and short-term memory test indicated individual higher scores for the students who were instructed in this program compared to the control students. The Children’s Attitude Towards the Environment Scale or CATES indicated a significant increase in environmental awareness in participating students.
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