Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Johnson, Laura R.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF)


This Engaged Scholarship study includes three parts, a grant proposal to redesign the greenhouse at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School into a learning garden and two mixed method studies. The Costco Charitable Giving grant proposal to redesign the greenhouse is provided as a supplemental document to this dissertation. The two mixed method studies were designed around a garden-based science curriculum. The first study investigated the effects of the curriculum on students’ attitudes toward science. The second investigated this same curriculum on students’ attitudes toward and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Paper 1, prepared for Science and Education, utilized the validated Assessment of Attitudes in Science Constructs (AASC-4) survey to evaluate perceptions of science teacher, self-efficacy for science, fear of failure in course, value of science, enjoyment of science, motivation toward science, attitudes of friends and peers toward science, and attitudes of family (parents) toward science as pre- and post-tests. Both the gardening and the non-gardening groups completed the surveys and were compared to determine change in attitude toward science. Fifty-one total paired surveys were collected, 40 in the non-garden group and 11 in the gardening group. In addition, the gardening group completed a subjective gardening survey (n=17) and a few students were interviewed (n=3). There were no significant interactions between gardening vs. non-gardening groups on any of the variables. However, profile plots for value, enjoyment, and motivation showed potential positive results. Subjective data and interviews confirmed this.

Paper 2, prepared for Health, Education & Behavior, utilized the Health Beliefs Survey (HBS) and the SPAN (School Physical Activity and Nutrition) survey for nutrition behavior to evaluate students’ social support, self-regulation, self-efficacy, outcomes expectations, and consumption. Both tools were modified to focus specifically on fruit and vegetable consumption and were provided as both the pre- and post-tests. Forty-nine total paired surveys were collected, 39 in the non-garden group and 10 in the gardening group. Results from the gardening survey and interviews were also considered. The results showed no significant interactions (p < .05) for any variable when comparing gardening to non-gardening groups, however, the group mean for self-efficacy significantly increased from pre-test to post-test. In addition, self-efficacy was a significant predictor of consuming fruits and vegetables. Subjective data and interviews substantiate the importance of self-efficacy for fruit and vegetable consumption.

This research shows promise that a garden-based science curriculum can provide the framework to improve attitudes toward science as well as improve self-efficacy towards consuming fruits and vegetables.


125 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type


Included in

Philosophy Commons