Science Journals in the Garden: Developing the Skill of Observation in Elementary Age Students

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Kelly, Karinsa Michelle
Portland State University Library
Notebooks -- Study and teaching (Elementary); School gardens -- Study and teaching (Elementary); Science -- Study and teaching (Elementary); Educational Methods; Elementary Education and Teaching
report description
The ability to make and record scientific observations is critical in order for students to engage in successful inquiry, and provides a sturdy foundation for children to develop higher order cognitive processes. Nevertheless, observation is taken for granted in the elementary classroom. This study explores how linking school garden experience with the use of science journals can support this skill. Students participated in a month-long unit in which they practiced their observation skills in the garden and recorded those observations in a science journal. Students' observational skills were assessed using pre- and post-assessments, student journals, and student interviews using three criteria: Accuracy, Detail, and Quantitative Data. Statistically significant improvements were found in the categories of Detail and Quantitative Data. Scores did improve in the category of Accuracy, but it was not found to be a statistically significant improvement.