1.1 Background of the study
Education is the process of transmitting what is worthwhile to members of the society the reasons might be for all round growth and developments of the individual and the nation at large. According to Nwabachili and Egbue (2001), education is what goes on from one generation to another generation. In this context, education is the process of socializing the child to grow up as a fulfilled member of the society through informal, formal and non-formal process. For Okafor (2000), education embraces all those experiences of the individual through which knowledge is acquired and intellect enlightened. To national policy on education (2004), education is the most important instrument of change and any fundamental change in social and intellectual outlook of any society has to be proceeded by education. That is the reason education is made accessible and affordable to all. Education as a field of study has branches which science education is one of them. Science education is the field concerned with sharing science content and process with individual’s not traditional considered part of the scientific community (leary& sharp, 2011).
A nation without a well-planned science education programmed might not survive the modern day science and technology challenges. Every nation of the world aspires to be scientifically and technologically proven (outstanding). Science and technology that form foundation for national growth and development require trained and skilled individuals who will be responsible for scientific and technological breakthroughs, discoveries and innovations for national growth.
The standards for science education provide expectations for the development of understanding for students through the entire course of their upper basic education and beyond. The science education program prepares students to communicate effectively as educators and researchers in order to lead future generations in science and technology education. In science education there are individuals who have been trained to acquire necessary knowledge and skills in preliminary subject discipline at some educational levels to pass knowledge to another set of individual through the act of teaching.
The primary purpose of teaching at any level of education is to bring a fundamental change in the learner (Tebabal&Kahssay, 2011). According to Ayeni (2011), teaching is a process that involves bringing about desirable changes in learners so as to achieve specific outcomes. In order for the method used for teaching to be effective, Adunola (2011) maintains that teachers need to be conversant with numerous teaching method that take recognition of the magnitude of complexity of the concepts to be covered. Models of teaching, curriculum, and researching in the two fields are adopting and developing new ways of thinking about how people of all ages know, learn, and develop. Science and mathematics educators also have turned to issues such identity and emotion as salient to the way in which people of all ages display and develop knowledge and skills. To facilitate the process of knowledge transmission, teachers should apply appropriate teaching methods that best suit specific objectives and level exit outcomes. In the traditional epoch, many teaching practitioners widely applied teacher-centered methods to impart knowledge to learners comparative to student-centered methods. Until today, questions about the effectiveness of teaching methods on student learning have consistently raised considerable interest in the thematic field of educational research Hightower (2011). Moreover, research on teaching and learning constantly Endeavour to examine the extent to which different teaching methods enhance growth in student learning. Quite remarkably, regular poor academic performance by the majority students is fundamentally linked to application of ineffective teaching methods by teachers to impact knowledge to learners by Adunola (2011). Substantial research on the effectiveness of teaching methods indicates that the quality of teaching is often reflected by the achievements of learners. Therefore, the use of predominant teaching method, which involves reading, telling, and memorizing of concepts, has failed to address the issue of poor academic achievement among students of secondary schools (Kohle, 2002). This calls for need for alternative teaching methods that are student-centered. Two of such teaching methods are the guided-discovery method and project methods
Guided discovery approach is an instructional method in which a teacher provides clarifying learning materials for learners to study on their own under the guidance of a teacher Akinbobola&Afolabi, (2010). Guided discovery method according to Uwameiyi and Ogunbemeru (2005), is a method of teaching that has the advantages of allowing learners to use process skill to generate content information.Uwameiyi and Ogunbemeru(2005) stated further that guided discovery method encourages learners to explore the content through the use of concrete experience .Guided discovery is one of those teaching methods that employ exploration, manipulation and experimentation to find out new ideas and it is a problem solving oriented strategy. This instructional strategy is characterized by convergent thinking. Fatokun,(2007) describes guided discovery method as a student-centered approach of teaching. This method increases the degree of student’s interest, innovativeness, problem solving ability, creativity and consequently improves their achievement in both theory and practice. Fatokun and Yallams (2007), described guided discovery method as a resource base learning which is an innovation that reverses the usual role of the teacher from which he is the main authority and source of all knowledge to one in which he acts simply as a guide to the student to enable them make use of other sources of information. In using guided discovery method, the teachers are more interested in the creative ability of the learner (Fatokun&Yallams 2007) operationally, guided discovery method is a method of teaching that fosters the philosophy of learning by doing, problem solving through guided experimentation and that which enhances students’ participation and creativity.The value of discovery has been the subject of debate and some disagreements among educational psychologists. As explained by Mayer (2003), claimed to have established that guided discovery was the best method (of those used) to promote the learning of certain rules. Constructivist (2004), argued that guided discovery only looked better because of what it had been compared with, usually-rote learning. He went further to claim that there was just no evidence that discovery of any kind was a more effective teaching method than meaningful exposition. Clute (2011), agree that discovery method is an important in promoting learning with young children, while &Ausubel on the order hand agreed that active learning methods are more important for younger students than for elder ones. Yet guided discovering is quite popular with some teachers. They believed the students are better motivated by an active approach and perhaps by a challenge, but the teacher may justifiably step in at any time to ensure that the desired end point is reached. Perhaps the most eloquent defender of learning by discovery is Mayer (2003), who claimed that; first, discovery encouraged a way of learning mathematics by doing mathematics and encouraged development with view that mathematics is a process rather than a finished product.
The project method is an educational enterprise in which children solve a practical problem over a period of several days or weeks.The project method is a teacher-facilitated collaborative approach in which students acquire and apply knowledge and skills to define and solve realistic problems using a process of extended inquiry (Validya, 2003). This method is also called the activity method or the method of learning by doing. Activity or project method is a teaching method which assumes that students find interest, derive enjoyment, and learn best by doing a piece of work.
The method introduces elements of joy into an uninteresting part of class work (Akunya, 2006). It is a method that enables the students in a class to be usefully active throughout the whole lesson period. By being involved in the class activity, the student is at the same time learning the skill. Akunya went ahead to state that project method could be physical or mental and a means to learning not as an end itself.
The project or activity method permits work in a classroom to be carried out in a friendly manner with the teacher as the motivating spirit and the students gladly doing most of the work. Learning is controlled, aided, directed co-operatively by learners. In the words of Gbamanja (2000), the project method is a form ofIndividualized instruction whereby the learner performs a unit of work in a natural Manner and in a spirit of purpose to accomplish a definite goal. The project is a learning unit that requires creativity and originality of experiences by students. Project teaching method according to Ali (2006) is a method in which students engage in long-term assignment to complement the regularly scheduled work. To Ali activities in the project work are meant to serve as means of motivating and sustaining learners’ in their school work. In the views of Akunya (2006), the project method may be in any of the following forms-laboratory and assignment methods. This gives students the opportunity of doing it themselves and consequently could develop students’ interest in the subject matter under consideration. Both guided-discovery method and project method are methods of teaching science.
Mathematics as explained by Audu (2005), is the queen of all sciences, because it is the tool for all disciplines since no scientific advancement (practical applications and approach) could be achieved without it. Kajuru (2005), emphasize on the impacts mathematics make on all aspects of life. The usefulness is therefore extended to the field of physical sciences, technology, social and business sciences.
Mathematics as a science subject is one of the important subjects taught in all schools throughout the world. It is an indispensable tool in the study of science, humanities, business and technology (udo, 2015). Every individual require the knowledge of mathematics to function effectively and efficiently in today’s world irrespective of his/her job or profession. Daily people are confronted with varied demands for mathematical competence. Mathematics encourages the habit of self reliance and assist learners to think and solve their problem themselves.
Mathematics according to Maliki, Ngban, and Ibu (2009) is described as a subject that affects all aspects of human life at different degrees (p. 131). According to The National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008), mathematics is used throughout our daily lives. The importance of mathematics in day-to-day activities is no longer news. However, what remains news is the fact that students performance in mathematics has not improved significantly despite its importance Mathematics teachers had on several accounts been judged as the main determinant in the success or failure of students in the subject. This is true for many reasons; according to Idowu (2015), they are the main custodians of students, the way and manner they perform this role is important (p. 4). Because of this, mathematics teachers are expected to have the required knowledge necessary for teaching as well as the ability to disseminate such knowledge appropriately that will result in learning. Mathematics teachers, according to Soer (2009), should be able to communicate the required knowledge in a clear, informative and precise manner to their students.. The mathematics teacher should employ innovative teaching methods like guided discover and project methods of teaching to enhance learning of mathematics.The innovative methods are considered as effective teaching methods that can improve on student’s academic achievement and interest in mathematics. In the innovative teaching methods the teacher often describe as a partner and a facilitator in the teaching and learning process and not the possessor of knowledge hence the innovative teaching methods are referred to as student-centered approach to learning (Campbell, 2006). In recent times, emphasis on teaching method has shifted from the teacher-centered to the student-centered approach. It should be centered on the learner for maximum self-development and fulfillment