Background of the study
Science is based on practical activities. Scientific knowledge provides mental satisfaction. According to Harlen (2001) science is a major area of human mental and practical activities, which generates knowledge on the basis of important technological application as well as intellectual satisfaction, It is important for all level of education. Teaching of science in the elementary school offers many opportunities on the natural tendency of children to be active, experiencing and manipulating, objects collecting and constructing simple apparatus.
Singh and Nayak (2001) have described some common methods which are used in the teaching of science at elementary level i.e. lecture method, discussion method, project method, heuristic method, discovery, inquiry approach, problem solving and workbook. All these methods fulfill a specific requirement, which is based on psychological theories or technological facilities.
One of the principles of education in Nigeria is to equip every citizen with such knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will enable him derive maximum benefits from his membership of society, have a fulfilling life and contribute towards the development and welfare of the community (FRN, 2004). Unfortunately academic achievement of Nigerian students in school subjects including Biology at secondary school level has remained poor over the years (Obika 2005). This could be as a result of poor mastery of the subject matter which occurs as a result of poor method of teaching. Retting and Canady (2002) reported that in schools where active learning methods prevail, the students demonstrated significantly higher achievement as measured by the National Assessment of educational progress. Hall (2001) stated that teachers in these schools offer students challenging, interesting activities and rich materials for learning that foster thinking, creativity and production. They make available a variety of pathways to learning that accommodate different intelligent and learning styles, they allow students to make choice and contribute to some of their learning experiences and they use methods and engage students in hands on learning. Their instruction focuses on reasoning and problem soling.
Inquiry-based instruction is a student-centered and teacher guided instructional approach that engage students in investigating real world questions that they choose within a broad thematic frame work. Inquire based instruction complements traditional instruction by providing a vehicle extending and applying the learning of students in a way that connects with their interests within a broad thematic frame work Njoku (2004) stated that inquire based learning is primarily a pedagogical method developed during the discovery learning movement of the 1960s as response to traditional forms of instruction. The students use the inquiring and lecturing process to develop expiations from their observations by integrating what they already know with what they have learned. They learn concepts in Biology and skills and how to solve problems using practical approach. Inquiry based learning require the student to do more than just report on a topic. The students must go beyond the simple memorization of facts and regurgitation of information and into the realm of creating new and deeper understanding through identification and subsequent application of solutions to a specific-source topic. Its efficacy in enhancing students achievement in Biology in comparison with that of the conventional lecture method is the focus of the study. They play an active emphasizes the importance of inquiring in the science role in their learning rather than the passive role process, allowing students to describe objects and commonly seen in traditional classrooms. Teachers can events, ask questions, construct explanation test those foster better experiences with inquiry in various ways explanations against current scientific knowledge and ultimately positively affect students’ biology communicate their ideas to others.
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