EFFECT OF LABORATORY ACTIVITIES ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN CHEMISTRY IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Laboratory activities have had a distinctive and central role in the science curriculum and science educators have suggested that many benefits mount up from engaging students in science laboratory activities. Over the years, many have argued that science cannot be meaningful to students without worthwhile practical experiences in laboratory. Unfortunately the term laboratory or practical have been used, too often without precise definition, to embrace a wide array of activities. Lots of arguments have been raised in the past to give justification or rationale for its use. Even though laboratory sessions were generally taken as necessary and important, very little justification was given for their inclusion.

Some laboratory activities have been designed and conducted to engage students individually, while others have sought to engage students in small groups and in large-group demonstration setting

Science is a great enterprise which nations depend on, in-order to advance technologically. Science therefore, is receiving much emphasis in education because of its significance and relevance to life and society. Chemistry  as a branch of science and the prerequisite subject for many fields of learning contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation. This includes medicine, forestry, agriculture, biotechnology and nursing. The study of Chemistry  in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concepts, principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation.

Chemistry  as one of the science subject is bent in making one to be conversation with the environment he/she lives in appreciate the meaning of scientific life, to develop unbiased mind and to be intellectually homes with serve as ideal to the future citizen. Fortunately, it is a fact that Chemistry  is the commonly chosen science subject of most secondary pupils are confirmed by the west Africa Examination council (WAEC) record.

The place of laboratory practical in teaching Chemistry  cannot be over emphasized, little wonder why  Tairab (2014) Opined that practical work has helped students in knowledge acquisition, like Daramola (2013), and Ogunniyi (2007), advocated earlier that science, which would be taught in secondary schools, should be technologically oriented, which means to teach science with its practical application which strengthens the fact that in recent times, science teaching has taken a new trend Science belonged to the laboratory as cooking belongs to the kitchen and gardening to a garden. This is the state where science teaching is best done in the laboratories. Ndu (1980), also emphasized the practical teaching of science by saying that meaningful learning of science cannot be achieved without practical aspect of science stressing that science disciplines are not only the acquisition of facts but also embrace the processes. Woolnough (1994) also found that majority of secondary school teachers indicated that about 40% to 80% of the class time was spent in practical activities. Hodson (2002) in his own work, classified the reasons given by teachers for engaging in practical work into five major categories like to motivate learners by stimulating interest and enjoyment, teaching laboratory skills, to enhance learning of scientific knowledge, give insight into scientific methods, develop certain scientific methods, these coincides with the classification of practical work reported by Gott, Welford, and Foulds (1988) when they identified five types of practical works like, inquiry practical, investigative practical, skill practical, illustrative practical, and observational practical.

Although Abimbola, I.O, Dada, F.(2015) stated that some practical scientific experiences may be acquired in everyday life, the most important part of the experience is through practical work which gives the student the appreciation of the spirit of science. Therefore, there is no adequate substitute for retention of facts and which also makes learning more permanent because, practical work closely linked with theoretical work help to maximize opportunity to practice those scientific methods.

Laboratory Practical activities in Chemistry  provide opportunities for students to actually do science as opposed to learning about science. Nzewi (2008) asserted that laboratory practical activities can be regarded as a strategy that could be adopted to make the task of a teacher (teaching) more real to the students as opposed to abstract or theoretical presentation of facts, principles and concepts of subject matters. Nzewi maintained that practical activities should engage the students in hands-on, mind-on activities, using varieties of instructional materials/equipment to drive the lesson home. Nwagbo (2008) stated that:

The use of practical activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore be a rule rather than an option to Chemistry  teachers, if we hope to produce students that would be able to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the nation.

The search for a more effective approach for the teaching and learning of Chemistry  that will enhance the acquisition of process skills has persisted over the years. This is because, the acquisitions of science process skills are the bases for scientific inquiry and the development of intellectual skills and attitudes that are needed to learn concept

Acording to Nwagbo (2008), a number of factors have been identified as contributing to the non-acquisition of skills by secondary school students which invariably lead to poor performance and one of the factors is the teacher variable, that is, the teachers’ method of teaching. Furthermore, Okoli (2006) indicated that many science teachers prefer the traditional expository/lecture method of teaching that is, a teaching technique in which one person, the teacher, presents a spoken discourse on a particular subject and shy away from activity-oriented teaching methods which are student centered (such as inquiry method, discovery method, investigative laboratory approach). Nwagbo (2008) observed that such teacher-centred approach which places the teacher as the sole possessor of knowledge and the students as passive recipients of knowledge may not enhance achievement or promote positive attitude to Chemistry . Apart from teaching methods, gender is also implicated in students’ achievement in science.

This project will concentrate on the teaching of Chemistry  and the problem of teaching Chemistry  practical in selected secondary School in Akoko South East Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Statement Of Problems

The relevance of laboratory activities on students in Chemistry  cannot be over emphasized. Several researches stated earlier indicate the need for effective practical lesson using appropriate equipment. Yet many Chemistry   teachers tend to avoid organizing laboratory  lesson to their students. Some of the reasons for poor performance of students in examinations include poor science teaching due to teacher’s incompetence. Furthermore, most secondary schools teachers of Chemistry  concentrate on meeting the demand of West African Examination Council (WAEC) practical examinations. This has drawn the attention of concerned individuals on the genesis or causes of the situation.

There are evidence of effective teaching of Chemistry  practical in School and this has affected the performance of student in Chemistry . This could be due to lack of equipment and materials or lack of proper training of the teachers handing the practical.

 

Research Question

  1. What are the effect of laboratory activities on students academic performance?
  2. What is the attitude of students and teachers’ toward the use of laboratory practical in teaching of Chemistry ?
  3. Is there enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching?
  4. What are the problem facing teaching and learning of Chemistry practical in senior secondary school
This Project is is available for the below list of Nigerian State capitals.
Abia Umuahia, Adamawa Yola, Akwa Ibom Uyo, Anambra Awka, Bauchi Bauchi, Bayelsa Yenagoa, Benue Makurdi, Borno Maiduguri, Cross River Calabar, Delta Asaba, Ebonyi Abakaliki, Edo Benin. Ekiti Ado Ekiti, Enugu Enugu, Gombe Gombe, Imo Owerri, Jigawa Dutse, Kaduna Kaduna, Kano Kano, Katsina Katsina, Kebbi Birnin Kebbi, Kogi Lokoja, Kwara Ilorin, Lagos Ikeja, Nasarawa Lafia, Niger Minna, Ogun Abeokuta, Ondo Akure, Osun Oshogbo, Oyo Ibadan, Plateau Jos, Rivers Port Harcourt, Sokoto Sokoto, Taraba Jalingo, Yobe Damaturu, Zamfara Gusau, FCT Abuja.

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