This chapter consists of the background of the study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study, delimitation of the study, limitation of the study and definition of terms.
1.1 Background of the Study
Science is a body of knowledge acquired through investigation to determine the truth of concepts through empirical procedure and it lays emphasis on reality instead of abstraction. It is also a way of explaining events and phenomena in nature. Biology as a branch of science and prerequisite subject for many fields of learning is facilitated by the right method of teaching it. It requires practical work to enhance clear understanding of the lesson content as this will bring about effective learning by the student. It also requires that the students should be actively involved in the learning process through adequate and meaningful hands-and-minds-on activities during every classroom instruction in science and this must be put in place in the nation’s secondary schools.
Activity based approach for teaching of science (Biology) is a technique adopted by a teacher to emphasize learning activities in which students participate rigorously and bring about efficient learning experiences thus resulting in the mastery of biological concept by students.
There should be a comparison of the academic achievement of students who are taught through activity-based method compared with the achievement of students taught with other methods (e.g lecture). Abah (2006) showed how students acquire knowledge in short term when taught with lecture method but are likely to retain knowledge longer when taught with activity based method. Gallagher (2003) concluded in his study that activity based method is more effective than traditional instruction, that its result in better long-term retention than traditional strategies for teaching. In opposition to this, other studies have not found any significant differences in achievement between the activity based and lecture method.
There should be emphasis on the aims, importance and benefits of using activity based approach to teach students. Since Biology as a subject requires practical work to bring about understanding of theoretical content; research has shown that activity based approach enhance understanding of biological concept and increase the ability to acquire science process skills by the learner.
Practical activity in biology provides opportunity for student to actively do science as opposed to learning about science. Nzewi (2008) asserted that practical activity can be regarded as a strategy that could be adopted to make a task of a teacher more real to the student as opposed to abstract or theoretical presentation of facts, principles and concepts of subject matters.
The learners should be given an opportunity to reach a level of mastery when involved in an activity in or outside the classroom setting, as this will increase student learning. According to Bloom (1968) that students must attain 90% on a knowledge test in prerequisite knowledge before moving forward to learn subsequent information. In this process, slow learners are not kept back and gifted students would perform to their own maximum capacities (Jensen, 2006).
On gender inequality in science. Yenilmez (2006) reported that boys and girls achieve equally on activity-based method which lasted through high school. Patricia and Johnson (2008) found that there was no significant effect of gender on the achievement of the students taught with mastery learning teaching method and concluded that mastery learning is an effective teaching method which –physics teachers should be encourage to used.
This study focus on the activity-based approach as one of the right methods for teaching to bring about students mastering of the concept of photosynthesis in senior secondary school biology with a view of finding its effects on students academic achievement.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Student have been found not to master adequately some biology concepts such as of photosynthesis because of inadequate methods used by the teacher and other related problem that could hinder meaningful learning. Unfortunately, some teachers whose students have not been doing well have not been using the activity-based approach in order to bring about student mastery of biology concepts.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The study aim at investigating the effect of using activity based approach in teaching photosynthesis in senior secondary school biology.
Specifically, this study seeks to:
- Determine the relative effect of using activity-based approach for teaching photosynthesis on students academic achievement and mastery.
- Determine the extent to which secondary school male and female Biology student are affected by the use of activity based Approach in teaching photosynthesis.
1.4 Research Question
The following are the research questions posed to guide the study.
- Do students taught the concept of photosynthesis using Activity-based Approach perform better than students taught using Lecture Approach.
- How do male students perform compared with their female counterparts when taught the concept of photosynthesis using activity-based Approach.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference between the academic achievement of biology students taught the concept of photosynthesis using Activity-based Approach and those taught using Lecture Approach.
- There is no significant difference between the academic achievement of male and female biology students taught the concept of photosynthesis using activity-based Approach.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will enable Biology teacher in Senior Secondary Schools appreciate the possible influence of using activity-based approach and those sacrificing their resources and time in the effective teaching and learning of biology in the classroom. The result of this study will be of help to:
This is to discover the problem faced by the children that hinders effective learning. This study will also bring about the mastery of students in teaching basic biological concepts.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The study focused on the use of activity based approach as a method for teaching the concept of photosynthesis. In other words, several other topics in the biology curriculum for secondary schools are not investigated in the study.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
This researcher encountered limitation in the area of review of related literature, as the researcher was confronted with paucity of literature that has direct relevance to this work. However, the challenge did not affect the generalisability of the results of the study.
1.9 Definition of terms
Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis is the process where by green plant obtain their food using sunlight, carbondiooxide and water.
Activity-based Approach: Activity-based approach is a technique adopted by a teacher to emphasize his or her method of teaching, through activity in which the learners participate rigorously and bring about efficient learning experiences.
Students Mastery: Students mastery learning refers to a category of instructional methods which establishes a level of performance that all students must ‘’master’’ before moving on to the next unit (Slavin, 1987).
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