1.1 Background of the study
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 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
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