Science education must strive to allow individuals to fully develop their capacities for adjustment and continuous change in order to meet and successfully solve the problems of the day. Â Biology, or the study of living things, is a science with its own set of methods.
The structural complexity of organisms, the multiplicity of functions occurring simultaneously in the organism’s body, and the inter-relationship between organisms and their environment have resulted in methods of study that are unique to this science.
According to Jean Bremner (2000), the methods are distinguished by the art of scientific investigation in relation to students’ study of new specimens, and the experimental approach to biological science in relation to experiment carried out by individual study. These are required for the efficient transfer and ongoing communication of biological knowledge.
Practical experience in any science, for that matter, is essential for proper understanding of any principle and application of that knowledge for cognitive growth and technological orientation and advancement. In recognition of this fact, Lee (1999) emphasized that if biology is to play the above-mentioned role of improving society, then the biology teacher must do the following:
Select the most appropriate materials to present to students.
Experiment with new roles, materials, and strategies.
Make use of one-on-one instruction.
As a result, activities like collecting materials, observing, recording observations, classifying, and conducting field work should be encouraged.
Â This can be accomplished through visual instruction. Â It was the original method in biological science when the naturalist studied organisms as they appeared in nature.
He wrote down the outcome of his work so that it could be passed on to others. Â Finally, the knowledge was recorded in the form of books. Â As biology studies become more popular in schools and the number of students grows, it becomes more difficult to study original materials. Â The use of laboratory, preserved materials, charts, and models contributes to some of the difficulty.
However, due to the increased number of students and rising costs, this situation was frequently abandoned. Â According to Miller and Blaydes (2001), this has resulted in an increasing proportion of biology teaching being done from books and lecture notes.
This situation is largely to blame for the poor performance in the West African Examination Council’s senior secondary school certificate examinations. Â In Nigeria, the educational system has been confronted with a number of critical issues, including rising enrolment, a shortage of qualified teachers, a lack of laboratories, and, in many cases, the presence of laboratories but a severe lack of necessary teaching and learning materials.
In 1998, the Federal Government of Nigeria established a science equipment center with the assistance of UNESCO through the Federal Ministry of Education to provide courses for science teachers and laboratory assistants.
Â The provision of this center, while commendable, has been insufficient.
Teachers of biology and other sciences must therefore acquire and develop skills in the creation of teaching materials, which is what improvisation is all about. It is the process of providing materials and equipment for the teaching of biology quickly in times of need, using whatever is available.
According to Otitoju (2000), nature provides a rich laboratory for biology teaching because specimens of plants and animals are abundant around us; however, equipment for capturing animals is required. Physiological experiments, timing experiments, or processes, as well as some available specimens, must be improvised using locally available materials and a little imagination. Any improvised teaching aid must have the following characteristics: accuracy, realism, comprehensibility, and interest.