This project work was carried out to determine the effect of biology practical activities on academic achievement of senior secondary school students in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. Chapter one and two is the background of the study and the review of related literature respectively. The background of the study emphasized the use of practical activities in biology as stimulates learner’s interest in the science subject they are studying. In the review of literature, the need for the teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools were discussed.. The factors which affect the achievement of secondary school biology students were also reviewed which include: inadequate laboratory facilities, teacher factors, student factors and environmental factors.
In chapter three, the area of the study, population for study, data collection and analysis were presented. The study was carried out in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State; the target population includes all the ss1 students in all the ten (10) schools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. The students were given tests and the test was marked and they were scored according to their performances,the score from the pre-test and post-test were used to find the mean and standard deviation. Chapter four dealt with the presentation and analysis of data to four senior secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area. And the analysis showed that the mean scores of the females are higher than that of male students in both pre-test and post-test. The discussion of the results, educational implications,recommendation, and conclusion were also treated in chapter five.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The words “science” is often misconstrued by many people. While some view it as a white man’s “juju”, others construe it as a kind of magic, like the tero blind men who went to see the elephant, many people who attempt to define science make valid but fragmentary definition of it. Little do people realize that many of man’s daily activities involve doing science? For example, when you wake up in the morning and take a glass of water and not kerosene you are doing science. When your mother strikes a stick of match, light a candle and watches it melts, she is doing science. When the baker adds yeast to floor to make it rise, he too is doing science. The barber in your village also does science when he applies soap solution to his customer’s hair to make it so, for he is applying the knowledge of science. Thus, science is not magical as some people think. Science is all around us. Ofuebe (2007), defined science as a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding of the working of our world. Ali (2002) believes that the word science stands for a variety of information, abilities and operations about the natural environment. He believes that science is more concerned with various investigative processes and activities with regards to developing acquiring and controlling knowledge, skills, and capabilities attitudes about the natural factors of the environment. From these processes reliable and verifiable information are accumulated for use in science and other disciplines.
According to Aniodoh (1991) viewed science as “a body of knowledge arrived at through systematic and procedural processes based on tentative observations and experiment”. In the sight of the above, science may be viewed as a way of thinking in the pursuit of understanding nature, a way of investigating and a body of established knowledge. Thus, science is a product as a well as a process. Ambuno, Egunifomi, Osakwe (2008) noted that, with science, the world today wouldn’t have been what it is. Technological advancement has completely changed the world. This has permeated into all spheres of our lives which include communications, health, agriculture, building etc. Exploration of the universe and improvement in conditions of living in our homes, schools, roads etc are all based on science in terms of modern equipment and materials. In fact, with the world changing very fast as a result of human activities and population growth, what may save our planet earth is scientific inquiring for solutions to prevailing problems and those we may face in the future. Some biological research has been carried out by scientists leading to many discoveries in medicine, technology, agriculture and genetics.
For further information on the positive impacts of science, Aniodoh (2001) supported the above view which he said that through science and the help of technological know-how, man is able to construct shelter of various kind as dwelling, markets, schools, hospitals etc. Biology as one of the science subject is defined as the study of life and structure of living things. Biology is the study of living things and concerns itself with the study of the structure, behaviour, distribution, the origin of plants and animals and their relationship with their environments. Abugu (2007) stated that biology is a natural science in which we study living organisms – plants and animals.
Furthermore Iloeje (1981) viewed Biology as the science in which we study living things. Based on the above statement, man lives in a novel world, there are animals, plants, rivers, oceans, deserts, mountains, and so on, all round him. Being a curious being, man takes delight in exploring his world, the seeks to have a world view of the universe, the strives to investigate all matter around him – their origin, nature, characteristics and other features, the inquires in his inquiry, he asks a lot of questions and in his search for answers to such questions, he needs to be systematic and unbiased. To achieve his goal, he engages in experimentation and observation, which are fundamental to science. Like other science subjects, biology in secondary schools is composed of practical activities. In all the sciences, biology geared towards simplifying the theoretical content, so as to enhance effective instruction and learning of the subject.
Allan, Rob and Jonathan (2000), stated the reason for emphasizing practical activities in biology like a realization of practical; work to be predecessor to real science knowledge. Practical work stimulates learner interest in the science subject they are studying, when they are made to personally engage in useful activities; knowledge obtained through practical; work and experience, promote long term memory that theory alone cannot do, from this reason, it becomes obvious that a learner acquired more in any science lesson, if giving the opportunity to do activities, ranging from manipulating apparatus, classifying, designing, experimenting, hypothesizing to maker inferences and verifying results. Hence, there is an urgent and serious need to justify the exposition of the students biology practical activates as well as studying its effect on student’s achievement in biology. Unfortunately, the ugly situation observed in the majority of our secondary school and students in lack of exposure of the students to practical activities. This contributes to persistent poor performances in biology.