Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.

LEARNING MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCES IN AN OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT

M. Ugille1, J. Allegaert1, H. Van de Kerckhove2

1Vives (BELGIUM)
2Inagro (BELGIUM)
In order to create meaningful learning situations, authentic experiences for the pupils are very important (Dewey, 1919, 1997). There are several studies investigating the impact of one outdoor excursion on motivation, attitudes and performances (e.g. Prokop, Tuncer, and Kvasnicak, 2007; Steward, 2003). However, there are only a limited number of studies in which this outdoor activity is part of ordinary school work, and is systematically incorporated in the lessons.

This study is part of an outdoor teaching intervention project in Flanders, Belgium. In this project 10 and 11-year old pupils have every week mathematics and sciences classes in an outdoor environment, such as a farm, a garden or a forest. The subjects are teached, making use of the authentic context were the activity takes place. In addition, the pupils also have the opportunity to work in the outdoor environment, and to do several chores.

In this study, we evaluate this projects in two ways. First, a quantitative study is performed, in which the motivation, self-concept, academic performance on maths of pupils is measured, before they start with the project, and once the project is finished. Pre- and posttest results will be compared using a repeated measures ANOVA. Second, every location is also visited twice, and evaluated with an observation tool. This information is analyses in a qualitative way. With this data, we want to obtain an overview of the obstacles that are encountered in practice. The results are now being analysed, and will be available by the end of June.

References:
[1] Dewey, John (1916). Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: Macmillan
[2] Prokop, P., Tuncer, G., & Kvasnicak, R. (2007). Short-term effects of field programme on students’ knowledge and attitude toward biology: A Slovak experience. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16, 247–255.
[3] Stewart, K. (2003) Learning in a botanical garden. The excursion experiences of school pupils and their teachers (Doctoral dissertation). University of Sydney, Australia.