# EFFECT OF INQUIRY TEACHING METHOD ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN ALGEBRA IN ABEOKUTA SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ABEOKUTA, OGUN STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Mathematics is one of the important subjects and this is why it is made compulsory at the primary and secondary levels. Mathematics is one of the most powerful and adaptable mental tools which the intelligence of a man has made for its own use collectively over the centuries. The subject has continued to play a significant role in national development of any country (USMAN 2002). Hence, it is necessary that the teaching and learning process of mathematics be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and lack of understanding since mathematics deal with quantitative functions and relations as well as problems relating to scope and forms. Therefore, it said to be a language of orderliness and creative thinking (USMAN 2002). Mathematics can be described as the backbone of other branches of science like Engineering, Applied and social science, Agricultural science, Medicine and other branches.

Mathematics is a basic tool in the development of any science-based knowledge such as graphic, industry, technology, astronomy and sound analytical reasoning in daily living in a modern society. One of the objectives of science education is to develop students’ interest towards science and technology. The development of any nation today depends on its technological and scientific advancement. Teachers are expected to device ways of motivating their students to develop positive attitudes towards mathematics and science related disciplines (Sola &Ojo, 2007). There are many areas of study in secondary school mathematics such as Algebra, trigonometry, menstruation, numbers and numeration, statistic, set theory etc. Algebra is a branch of mathematics that deals with the properties of operation and the structures this operation are define on. According to Rusell (2003), algebra is the aspect of mathematics which involves the use of letters and numbers.

These letters combined with the numbers bring a lot of confusion to the students and with the letters changing values or one letter replacing another at interval. Thus this makes some students to wonder whether they are learning mathematics or English language. Inquiry teaching Method is a style or method of teaching where the learner is seeking to discover and create answers to recognized problems through procedure of making a diligent search, some time with minimum guidance from the teacher (Callahan, Clark &Kelloough, 1995). Inquiry teaching method is also a term used in science teaching that refers to a way of questioning, seeking knowledge or information or finding out about phenomena, it involves investigating data and arriving at a conclusion (Sola &Ojo 2007). In inquiry situation students learn not only concept but also self-direction, responsibility and social communication. It also permits students to assimilate and accommodate information. According to Sola and Ojo (2007), inquiry is a way people learn when they are le alone. Cheval and Hart (2005) classify inquiry teaching method in to three classes, namely: structured inquiry, guided inquiry and open inquiry, as illustrated in Table 1.

There is a debate as to which type of inquiry is best. The general consensus is that, any form of inquiry (structured, guided, or open) can be useful to students when taught appropriately well. Structured inquiry is the most teacher-centered of the three types of inquiry. This type of inquiry is commonly seen in science classrooms in the form of laboratory exercises. The teacher provides fairly structured procedures for the inquiry activity, and students carry out the investigations. Structured inquiry could be described as the most traditional approach to inquiry (Cheval & Hart, 2007). On the far side of the spectrum is an open inquiry. This type of inquiry requires the least amount of teacher intervention and is student centered. Students oen work in groups and plan all phases of their investigations. This is the purest form of inquiry conducted in science classrooms (Cheval & Hart, 2005).