Are US Students Lagging Internationally in Math and Science?

Are US Students Lagging Internationally in Math and Science?
 The general public has markedly different views on the education system, but one thing educationists agree on is that science and math education in the United States needs improvement. What’s shocking to note here is that American students are outperformed by their peers from several Asian nations.
Many high performing Asian countries teach less but focus more on the complex parts of the subjects. For example, students are encouraged to go deeper and answer the more complicated parts in addition to the first layer of a math or science problem. The declining performance by U.S. students further confirms that the education system now should take a hard look at the strategies implemented in schools.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicated that almost 75% of low income students attending high poverty schools in the United States are not proficient in science and math.
The students were unable to calculate the perimeter of a rectangle or identify how gravitational force constantly affects an object. Because there is no effective and engaging education, these students are less likely to perform well in the competitive job market at later stage in their lives.
It’s not surprising that science and math now make the foundation of knowledge and skills that are required in the job market. STEM education or education in science, technology, engineering and math can be improved by implementing the garden based learning system.
Garden Based learning Can Help Students Get More Engaged
Experts agree that garden based learning programs have the power to engage students and help them learn more during their class. Education in garden setting or garden based learning is an experience like no other. The classroom is set up amongst nature where kids are drawn to the positive energy of trees and other natural habitat.
One of the critical factors in deciding whether or not students will succeed academically is whether or not they are engaged in their studies.
Benefits of Garden-Based Learning for Children[1]
CNS research includes the development and evaluation of garden-enhanced nutrition education curricula and programs. This research highlighted that garden based learning:
·         Improves knowledge of nutrition, food preferences, and consumption of fruits and vegetables
·         Allows for the integration of multiple subject areas
·         Enhances overall academic achievement
·         Provides children with understanding of agriculture and the environment
·         Improves life skills, self-esteem, social skills and behavior
How you can Create Effective Garden Based Learning Programs?
Gardens serve as living laboratories and working in a garden based education setting can help children incorporate and work on their critical skills such as open mindedness, creativity and critical thinking. The easiest way to create a learning garden is to designate a space that could be used as science laboratory.
You can design ‘garden in a box’ where kids can observe the growth of butterflies or monitor the decay of plants. You can also built rain gauges to help students get a better idea about math lessons for measurement and volume. A field trip to community gardens is another great way to support academic and social skills development. 
The bottom line is that if you haven’t incorporated garden based learning in your school, now is the right time to do it.


[1] The Regents of the University of California, Davis campus publication
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