Fairchild Garden's Growing Beyond Earth: Year 1 Evaluation Report 2016-2017

Saturday, July 1, 2017
Resource Type:
Formative | Evaluation
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Citizen Science Programs, Park, Outdoor, and Garden Programs, Informal/Formal Connections, K-12 Programs
Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Space science
Access and Inclusion: 
Black/African American Communities
Hispanic/Latinx Communities
Raymond Consulting, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Description or Abstract: 

During the school year of 2016-2017, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (Fairchild) implemented the first year of a four-year project entitled: Growing Beyond Earth (GBE). NASA is providing funding support for project implementation as well as an external project evaluation.

The evaluation activities conducted this year were focused on understanding project implementation and exploring project outcomes using data collected between September 2016 and May 2017. This report’s findings and accompanying recommendations inform next year’s project implementation and evaluation activities.

Analysis of the data yielded findings in three key areas of project
1. A large number of diverse students and teachers participate in Growing Beyond Earth.
2. Growing Beyond Earth is well designed, unique, and well run.
3. Students and teachers are engaged and satisfied with their participation.

Analysis also yielded findings in four key outcome areas including outcomes for participating students, teachers, and NASA scientists.
1. Students have an authentic STEM experience.
2. Students have the opportunity to strengthen research skills, increase botany knowledge, and improve attitudes towards STEM.
3. Growing Beyond Earth enables teachers to provide unique instructional
experiences for their students as well as strengthen their own research skills and botany knowledge.
4. NASA scientists have access to additional useful data to support NASA research efforts.
Overall, Growing Beyond Earth has had a very successful first year of full-scale implementation—from both an implementation and outcomes perspective. During this first year an estimated 3,600 middle and high school students in 97 schools participated under the guidance of 110 teachers and Fairchild project staff. Additionally, the project is generating preliminary evidence of positive outcomes for students, teachers, and NASA.

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 

Team Members

Catherine RaymondCatherine RaymondEvaluator
Amy RubinsonAmy RubinsonEvaluator
Carl LewisCarl LewisPrincipal Investigator
Marion LitzingerMarion LitzingerProject Manager
Amy PadolfAmy PadolfCo-Principal Investigator

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