Background of the study
The importance of science in our daily activities can never be underrated. Science has made numerous and unalloyed contribution to the realization and advancement of the contemporary world and it has been attributed as the foundation for technological breakthrough in this modern world. According to Ogunleye (2012), he defined science as a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of the world we live. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe. Without the application of science, it would have been difficult for man to explore his environment. The objectives of science education according to Maduekwe (2009) in Nigeria include the need to prepare students to observe and explore the environment, explain simple natural phenomena, develop scientific attitudes including curiosity, critical reflection and objectivity, apply the skills and knowledge gained through science to solve everyday problems in the environment, develop self-confidence and self-reliance through problems solving activities in science.
Biology is one of the science subjects offered at the senior secondary school levels in Nigeria secondary schools (NPE, 2004) Biology is a very important science subject and a requirement for higher learning in a number of science-related professional courses like medicine, pharmacy, agriculture. Biology is natural science that deals with the living world. How the world is structured how it functions and what these functions are: how it develops, how living things came into existence and how they interact to one another and with their environment (Umar 2011) It is a prerequisite subject for many fields of learning that contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation e.g. nursing, medicine etc. (Ahmed, 2008) According to Abuhu (2007) Biology is a natural science that studies-living organisms (plants and animals). The study of biology generally is considered as basics for the preparation of every informed citizens and serves as gate way into numerous career choices in life. Nations that desire to forge ahead scientifically and technologically cannot afford to toy-with the biological knowledge of her citizenry. The basic tools science uses in the learning of science processes are the instructional materials. Instructional materials are essential and significant tools needed for teaching and learning of school subjects to promotes teachers efficiency and improve students performance. They make learning more interesting, practical realistic and appealing. They also enable both the teachers and students participate actively and effectively in lesson sessions. They give room for acquisition of skills and knowledge and development of self-confidence and self actualization.
However, studies have shown that the senior secondary school students are exhibiting low interest in biology (Esiobu, 2015). This low interest has been traced to poor achievement in Biology examinations. Poor achievement in biology can be attributed to many factors such as poor method of teaching, unavailability of laboratory facilities, lack of instructional materials, inadequate time allocation and large class size. Folorunso (2014) linked poor achievement trend in biology particularly to the lack of instructional resources in schools due to poor funding of schools which hinders the principals from providing teachers with adequate instructional materials. According to Etukudo (2009), poor achievement in biology is incontrovertibly attributed to poor instructional delivery approach adopted by teachers in schools. Poor teaching methods adopted by teacher at senior secondary school level in Nigeria have been identified as one of the major factors contributing to poor performance of students in biology (Ahmed and Abimbola 2011; Kareem 2003.
However, evidence from research has shown that instructional materials resources and equipment in teaching biology are in short supply and that some are completely lacking in schools to extent that most teachers end with verbs exposition of scientific principles, facts and concepts. The persistent use of this method makes students passive rather than active learners. It does not promote insightful learning and long-term retention of some abstract concepts in biology Ahmed & Abimbola 2011, and the only way out of this ugly situation is for the teacher to make the teaching of biology concept relevant through the use of necessary and adequate instructional materials in the teaching and learning process of biology in senior secondary schools. Therefore there is need for improvisation. When the real materials that are the conventional instructional materials are not available or inadequate, they can be locally made by using resources in the environment as alternative.
The concept of improvisation, in science teaching has comes to stay with us. No matter how generous and rich and education authority might be, they are generally not always in a position to provide their school with all they need. Improvisation could be seen as the act of providing teaching materials from our locality when there is shortage or lack of the standard ones to enhance instruction. Igwe (2013) defines improvisation as the making or inventing of a piece of science teaching equipment in emergency. It is an essential part of laboratory management for the purpose of maximizing the use of the available resources. In the science class, teaching aids are needed to supplement the teachers oral explanation with the students visible experiences. This is why Abdullahi (2012) stated that scientific materials used in teaching enable the students to become actively involved intellectually. Perceptually and physically in the learning process. Improvisation requires a considerable development through imaginative planning and good knowledge. Improvise instructional materials when effectively improvised and utilized can turn a dull students intellect to a great academic achiever. This is because students learn best when the subject matter is brought practically to their senses since the more the senses are stimulated the more a person learns and the more he retains. In line with this, science teachers should exhibit resourcefulness by improvising materials in place of the standardized ones. Even the collection of these teaching materials by the students themselves is in itself rewarding and a stimulating learning source experience. Two much verbalism encourages authoritarian approach and makes learning difficult and uninteresting.