Learning gardens aim to grow student engagement in science

Jul 12 2017, UW College of Education
Despite the growing awareness of socio-ecological challenges facing humans in the 21st century, science learning still mostly takes place inside the classroom, disconnected from the natural world.

The University of Washington College of Education, Tilth Alliance and Seattle Public Schools are partnering to change this status quo and create more culturally and community relevant, field-based learning opportunities for students. Funded by a $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the project will build outdoor learning gardens and draw upon local communities and green spaces at several Seattle schools while developing a robust curriculum for K-3 educators to engage students in complex ecological reasoning and decision-making.

Megan Bang, associate professor of education and principal investigator for the project, said immersing students in outdoor, field-based science learning is a critical and under-utilized strategy for preparing students to wrestle with issues of socio-ecological justice such as food sustainability and water usage.

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