1.1 Background of the Study
Science education plays a vital role in the individuals and the development of a nation scientifically and technologically (Alebiosu and Ifamuyiwa, 2008). It is widely and generally acknowledged that the gateway to the survival of a nation scientifically and technologically is scientific literacy which can only be achieved through science education. Towards revolutionizing Nigerian educational system, the 1969 conference gave birth to the National policy on Education which brought about significant changes to the Nigerian educational system (Alebiosu and Ifamuyiwa, 2008). For instance, in Nigeria, the National policy on Education (2004) provided educational expenditure in science and technology. The Nigerian government, in a bid to enhance science and technological education came up with 6 – 3 – 3 – 4 policy on education which stipulates schools level, three years at the primary school level, and four years in Higher institutions (Olarewaju, 1994). This system was reviewed in 2004 and came up with 9 – 3- 4 system which stipulates that a child spends 9 years compulsory right from primary school level to junior secondary school level, three years at the senior secondary level, and four years in tertiary institutions.
All the above – mentioned systems of education in Nigeria are designed with special provisional for science and technology learning on schools. Moreover, Nigerian government also came up with a policy that 60 percent of the students seeking admission into the nation’s universities, polytechnics, and colleges of Education should be admitted for science oriented programmes, while 40 percent of the students should be considered for Arts and social science programmes (Ajibola, 2008).
Educators understand that changes in student outcomes must be supported by parallel changes in curriculum and instruction. However, it is apparent that many of today’s teachers are caught in the midst of a change for which they may not have been professionally prepared. Many teachers were educated in the class rooms where the role of the students was to memorize information, conduct well regulated experiments and were then tested on their ability to repeat these tasks or remember specific facts (Dogru and Kalender 2007). According to Biot, Njoku and Changach (2012) and NPE (2018), the purpose of education is to equip the citizenry to reshape their society and eliminate inequality, to also ensure the quality of education is delivered at all level and promote functional education for skill acquisition, job creation and poverty eradication.
Basic Science, formerly known as integrated science, is the first form of science a child encounter at the secondary school level, hence basic science prepares students at the junior secondary school level for the study of core science subjects at the senior secondary school level (Olarewaju, 1994). This implies that for a student to be able to study single science subjects at the senior secondary school level successfully, such students had to be well grounded in basic science at the junior secondary curriculum. The principal reasons why Nigerian Government started Basic Science teaching in Nigerian secondary schools are as follows:
It provided students at the junior secondary level a sound basis for continuing science education either in single science subjects or further integrated science
It allows the students to have general view of the world or science
It enhances the scientific literacy if the citizenry
The process of science serves as unifying factors for the various science subjects. It is necessary for the learner to know these processes through integrated approach of learning science (Federal Ministry of Education, 1981);
It allows students to understand their environment on in its totality rather than in fragments.
Basic Science Technology is a subject that introduces students at the Junior Secondary schools in Nigeria to the basic rudiment of technology. At the inception of the 6 – 3 – 3 – 4 system of Education, it was called “Introductory Technology” but currently in the 9 – 3- 4 system of Education is called “Basic and Technology” the Federal Republic of Nigerian in the national policy on Education defined it as the aspect of education which leads to acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge.
In an attempt to improve the standard of science teaching and learning, a lot of research studies had been carried out, studies in Basic education have reported that many students at the junior secondary level have developed negative attitudes towards the subject (Akpan, 1996). Many of the student at this level, because of their dismal performance on the subject, are not benefiting much from the basic science curriculum (Afawape, 2003, Afuwape and Olatoye, 2004; Odetoyinbo 2004) This, according to Afuwape and Olatoye (2004), has prevented many of them from offering core science subject or performing better in the core science subjects at the senior secondary school level.
Teaching methods are ways used by teachers to create learning environment and specify the activity in which the teacher and the leaner will be involved during instructional delivery process. It is primarily a description of learning objective oriented activities and the flow of information between the teacher and the learner(s), O’Banon (2002) categorized approach method into two approaches; student centered approach and teacher centered approach. Teacher centered – approaches are grounded in behaviorism and include all the teaching methods that see the teacher as possessor of knowledge. These methods include lecturer/expository, demonstration, discussion, recitation etc. while student centered approaches are grounded in constructivism and includes all the instructional methods that underscore teachers as decision makers and problem solver but rather as a guide in the learning process. The teachers’ role in a student – centered learning environment is, at most, one of facilitator and guide. The students are in control of their own learning and the power and responsibility are the students concern. Learning may be in dependent, collaborative and competitive. The utilization and processing of information is more important than the basic content. Learning take place in relative contexts and students are engaged in constructing their own knowledge (Theroux, 2001).
According to Akinsola (2004), the problem with respect to teaching approach is that most teachers still believe that the most effective means of communicating knowledge is through the conventional “talk and chalk” approach. The “talk and chalk” approach is the traditional way of imparting knowledge where by students’ participation is limited during teaching process. It is a teacher – centered approach of teaching. According to Achor, Imoke and Ajai (2010), conventional teaching approach has not been able to meet learners’ needs as they have negative attitude towards basic science and also their dismal performance. This approach might not be successful in promoting student’s interest in learning basic which may adversely affect their achievement, particularly in continuing science education. Thus, there is need to find out better teaching strategies that will make learning of basic science more meaningful and interesting so as to improve students’ achievements in basic science.
In view of the short falls of conventional approach in enhancing students’ performance and interest in basic science, there is need to adopt innovative teaching strategy such as cooperatives learning strategy which provides students with the opportunity to participate actively in the teaching and learning activities. Cooperative learning according to Ogbu (2008) is a teaching strategy in which small group of learners work together to accomplish shared goal. Kegan (2001) defined cooperative learning as a successful teaching strategy in which small team (each with students of different level of ability); use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of subject. Therefore, it can be inferred that cooperative learning strategy allows children to work collaboratively in small groups and also gives them the opportunity to verbalize what they know and considered each other’s viewpoints properly. Zheng (2006) explained that there are different types of cooperative learning strategy which include Jigsaw, constructive controversy, buzz group, group investigation, think pair and share (TPS), team game tournament (TGT) and student team achievement division (STAD) etc for the purpose of this study. Jigsaw instructional strategy and buzz group will be explored so as to ascertain the effect on the students’ academic performance in basic science.
Aronso (2005) defined Jigsaw instructional strategy as a method of organizing classroom activity that makes students dependent on each other to succeed. It breaks classes into groups and breaks assignments into pieces that the group assembles to complete the (Jigsaw) puzzle. In this strategy of learning, students are made to cooperate with group members, work as a team in a mix-ability classification. According to Adam (2013), Jigsaw is a teaching technique intended by social psychologist Elliot Aronson in 1971. Based on Adam’s work students of an average class sized (26 to 33 students) are divided into competency groups of four to six students to research. Individual members of each group then breaks off to work with the “experts” from other groups, researching a part of the material being studied after which they return to their original group in the role of instructor for their sub-category.
Some studies carried out by researchers using Jigsaw instructional strategy indicate that students perform higher in the subjects areas where such studies were carried out. For instance, Oghene (2007) found out that students perform higher in Biology when taught using Jigsaw instructional strategy. Ede (2009) also found out in a study that students perform better in physics when taught using jigsaw instructional strategy. Therefore the effectiveness of the use of Jigsaw instructional strategy is yet to be concluded. Thus, there is need to find out if Jigsaw instructional strategy could have effect on students’ performance in Basic Science and technology.
Academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short term or long term educational goal (Ezeudu 2006) there are inconclusive results over which individual factors successfully, predict academic performance, element such as test, anxiety, environment, motivation and emotions require consideration when developing models of school performance. Performance means learning outcome which has to do with the knowledge attained in school activities as a result of learning.
1.2 Statement of Problem
For a country to excel well in technical and scientific knowledge Basic science should be taught well in primary and secondary school levels of education. Despite the importance of Basic science in our country and the effort of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) to ensure that learners are prepared to participate and function well in this technological age and to compete favourably with the Asian tigers, the students’ performance in our secondary school in basic science as a subject has been poor.
The importance attached to basic science as a core subject in primary and junior secondary level of education in Nigeria as well as the method used in teaching and learning has prompted investigation into the impact of Jigsaw teaching method on the performance of students in basic science. This in terms of specificity, the problem of this study is to assess the impact of jigsaw, buzz group and conventional teaching method on students’ performances in basic science
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of jig saw cooperative buzz group and conventional learning strategy on student performances in basic science.
Superficially, the study sought to;

  1. Determine the effect of jig-saw, buzz group and conventional learning strategies on students’ academic performances in basic science.
  2. Assess the influence of gender (male/female) students’ performances in the concept of energy and matter when taught using jig saw, buzz group and conventional learning strategies.
  3. Ascertain the influence of gender (male/female) in students’ retention in the concept of energy and matter in basic science when taught using jigsaw, buzz group and conventional learning strategies.

1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to achieve the stated objectives

What differences exist among the performances of students in the concept of energy and matter in basic science when taught using jigsaw, buzz group and conventional learning strategies?

What difference exist between the performances of male and female students in the concept of energy and matter when taught basic science using jig saw, buzz group and conventional learning strategies?

What difference exist between the male and female basic science students in the retention of the concept of energy and matter when taught using jig saw, buzz group and conventional learning strategies?