Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Open Access Dissertation


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the Iowa Children's Water Festival on selected Iowa fifth graders' attitudes toward the environment. The researcher evaluated fifth graders' attitudinal/behavioral changes toward the environment before and after their participation in the 2003 Iowa Children's Water Festival. Of the total number of 38 schools participating in the ICWF, 12 schools (participants n = 274) that completed both the pre/posttest Children's Attitudes Toward the Environment Scale (CATES) were assigned to the experimental group. Three of 12 schools (participants n = 42) that did not participate in the ICWF and returned the pretest CATES were assigned to the control group. Participants ( n = 274) were compared to non-participants ( n = 42) to determine whether there were substantial differences in the general attitudes toward the environment based on several factors (e.g., pre/posttest, gender, locale, and school type). A one-page survey instrument (CATES) was administered two times (pre/posttest) in a three week period for both groups. Descriptive, inferential statistics were used to investigate whether children who participated in the ICWF improved their attitudes toward the environment compared to children who did not participate in the educational event. An analysis of covariance was employed to test the hypothesis. ANCOVA (regression fashion) indicated that there was no difference in posttest CATES scores between those children who attended the ICWF compared to those who did not attend. To explore the long-term impacts of the participants' attitudinal/behavioral changes, a qualitative follow-up interview was conducted six months after the children's attendance at the 2003 ICWF. Six students from a central, rural elementary school that completed both the pre/posttest CATES were interviewed employing open-ended interview questions. The results suggested that not only are such factors as knowledge gain and behavioral changes critical in the continuum of behavioral change, but factors like family involvement, teacher's enthusiasm and role-modeling, student's internal locus of control on environmental issues, and a curriculum that is hands-on are also essential for reaching the ultimate goals of forming environmentally responsible behaviors in younger children.

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Catherine Zeman, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 125 pages)



File Format