Thursday, July 9, 2009

Short outdoor education programs improve children’s science test scores

According to a 2005 study for the California Department of Education, sixth-graders’ scores on a science knowledge test improved by 27% after participating in a week-long outdoor education program. Scores remained higher 6-10 weeks after the program.
“Most of my students have never been out of their neighborhood. Outdoor science school opens them up to the world outside. I have seen many of these students get excited about learning (discovering) after they attend outdoor science school.” —Participating teacher
“Many [students] who do not do well in a classroom setting excel at outdoor science school. They are able to gain a wealth of background knowledge we use for nearly every other academic area.” —Participating teacher
“…[when learning outdoors,] kids are being confronted with science curriculum that is hands-on and all around them and real. When we teach science in the classroom, a lot of it is video oriented, text oriented, but the student is not immersed in it. Just by virtue [of] living in the outdoors, which is the setting they are studying, they are embedded in the curriculum itself.” —Outdoor science school principal
Source: American Institutes of Research (2005). Effects of outdoor education programs for children in California.

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