1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Science is the knowledge about the structure and behavior of the natural and physical world based on facts that can be proved. Science is an attempt by human beings to organize their experiences about nature into meaningful system of explanation (Isyaku, 2009). The major objective of science education as stated in the National Policy on Education is “to equip the students to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology” (FRN, 2004). Science has been and would continue to be of tremendous importance because of its ability to explain many natural occurrences and the central role it plays in the world’s current technology development. In our century, it is the soul of the prosperity of nations and it is an economic and technological development as well as improving the quality of life of the individuals and the society at large.
Science, as a school subject, has over the years gained prominence in the school curriculum world wide. In the last five decades, the world has witnessed science curriculum innovations and several changes in the teaching of the content in different levels of education.
Trowbridge and Bybee (1996), Ajaja (2007) identified the objectives of teaching science to include:- Knowledge of science academic discipline; to acquire the skills of scientific method; having clear explanations for societal issues through increasing interest science literacy and societal goals; for personal needs and for career awareness.
In Nigeria, the sciences are taught in school subjects as Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. The National Policy on Education in the National curriculum for secondary schools volume 3 science stated specific objectives to be achieved by each subject curriculum.
Some of the most distinct characteristics of science are experimentation, observation, and discovery. It provides the development of skills of students asking questions and making investigations, making hypothesis, inference of results of experiments to students.(Acikgoz, Kaygusuz & Oncul, 2004) Laboratory method is often used in science and it is targeted that students do trial and error activities. Therefore, the laboratory applications are integral part of science (Orbay, Ozdogan, Oner, Kara, & Gumus, (2003). The success of science programmes depends largely on the classroom teachers. They constitute the most important agent in the on going exercise to revolutionize the teaching and leaning of science. According to (Awotua – Efebo, 1999) science Teachers have the potentials for enhancing the quality of education by bringing life to the curriculum and inspiring students to curiosity and self directed learning. Some definite demands on the teaching of science were made by (STAN) Science Teacher Association
of Nigeria. This means that there are some demands made of the teacher if he or she is to teach his or her course effectively. So also are some demands made of the students if they are to benefit maximally from the programme. Some of these demands, according to (STAN) Science Teacher Association of Nigeria, are as follows:
Demand of the Teacher are the quality of the teacher-Skills and successfulness, teacher seeking new information on new teaching techniques, regular in service training, regular or frequent evaluation of the students, re-thinking of the teachers approach in the class to assess the class and be able to modify his teaching method if such an approach is not working adequately and how well equipped are the laboratories.
Demands made of the pupils are wrapped round aims and objective of the STAN. Some of these
demands are:- Student should be able to recall, should be able to relate their experience to other subjects, should be able to communicate effectively, should be active involvement in the learning and should be able to apply their knowledge to new situations.