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Background to the study

Integrated science is an strict and a core science subject in Nigerian secondary schools. Its teaching often requires creativity and improvisation. To make integrated science concepts comprehensible to students, integrated science teachers should employ creative teaching methods and be prepared to respond to queries and explain concepts in a typical manner (Nbina, 2012). The widespread poor performance and the negative attitude towards integrated science in junior secondary school students have largely been ascribed to lack of proper teaching methods. Teachers who adapt appropriate improvisation materials in teaching  integrated science will likely be more successful in imparting science knowledge to the novice  in their classes. Samba and Eriba (2011) see improvisation as the act of using alternative materials and resources to facilitate instructions whenever there is lack or shortage of specific first hand teaching aids. The authors see improvisation as the choice of the best instructional material which enables the teacher to achieve some carefully specified educational objectives. Stiggins (2008) added that there are various methods used to increase class participation and performance among students.

Science is the foundation upon which the bulk of present day technological break through is built. Nowadays, nations all over the world including Nigeria are striving hard to develop technologically and scientifically, since the world is turning scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on science.

Owolabi (2013) defined science as an integral part of human society. Its impact is felt in every sphere of human life, so much that it is intricately linked with a nation’s development. Science as a field of study has done a lot for mankind. For instance, life has been made a lot easier for man as a result of the advancements in science. Through science, man has been able to have better understanding of his environment and this has enabled him to manipulate the conditions of his environment to suit his own benefit. Science has also made it possible for man to acquire his desired needs easily. It has reduced human needs to the barest minimum. Ogunleye (2000) observed that science is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of our world. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe. Without the applications of science, it would have been impossible for man to explore the other planets of the universe. Also, the awareness of the existence, of other planets would not have been realized without science.

Science comprises of the basic disciplines such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology. Many investigations have shown that students in Secondary schools are not very much interested in science (Esiobu, 2005; Okonkwo, 2000). Besides, Physics as one of the science subjects has remained one of the most difficult subject in the school curriculum NERDC (2005). A study by Owolabi (2004) revealed that the performance of Nigerian students in ordinary level Physics was generally poor. This was stated by the author to be, due to poor teaching strategies being the most important factor. Jegede O.J and Okebukola P.A.O. (1992) reported that factors responsible for student’s general poor performance in science, technology and mathematics to include poor teaching method. Others include; poor laboratory facilities, inability of the Integrated science teachers to put across ideas clearly to the students and inadequate number of learning facilities in schools as against consistent increase in the number of students.

Integrated science as a science subject is activity oriented and the suggested method for teaching it which is guided discovery method is resource base (NTI, 2007). This suggests that the mastery of science concepts cannot be fully achieved without the use of instructional learning materials. The teaching of integrated science without learning materials will certainly result in poor performance in the course. Franzer, B.J. Okebukola, P.A.O and Jegede, O.J (1992). (2012) stressed that; a professionally qualified science teacher no matter how well trained would be unable to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary for him or her to translate his competence into reality.

Ibe Bassey, G.S. (2012) opined that science is resource intensive. Furthermore, in a period of economic recession, it will be very difficult to adequately find some of the electronic gadgets and equipment for integrated science in Schools. A situation that is further compounded by the galloping inflation in the country and often un-relatedness of some of the imported sophisticated materials and equipment; hence the need to produce materials locally.

Researchers such as Ogunleye (2000), Okonkwo (2000), Mkpanang (2005) and Obioha (2006) reported that there were inadequate resources for the teaching of integrated science in secondary schools in Nigeria. They further stated that where there were little resources at all, they are not usually in good conditions, while the few that were in good conditions were not enough to go round those who needed them. Hence there is need for improvisation.

Omosewo (2008) and Akinsola (2000), considered the human factors as the teacher’s professional commitment, creativity, mechanical skills, initiative and resourcefulness. They found that many of Nigerian science teachers were aware of possibility of improvisation but many exhibited poor attitudes towards improvisation. They also noted that very few teachers practice improvisation while majority depends on imported equipments and claim that improvisation is time-consuming and fund depleting. The authors also noted that students too, possessed little or no interest in improvisation.

Onasanya (2008), Adebimpe (1997) and Aguisiobo (1998) noted that improvisation demands adventure, creativity, curiosity and perseverance on the part of the teacher. The author added that such skills are only realizable through well-planned training programme on improvisation. Akinyemi and Orukota (1995) noted that improvisation whether they cost less than standard manufactured ones or not they cost money. He added this money is usually not readily available for the teacher.

The objectives of any educational process determine the contents, methods and materials needed for achieving such objectives. The materials used for enhancing instructional effectiveness are aspects of media employed for achieving the instructional objectives. Ibe Bassey (2002) described instructional media as system components that may be used as parts of instructional processes which are used to disseminate information message and ideas or which make possible communicable in the teaching-learning process.

Experience over the years has shown that teachers have been depending on excessive use of words to express, to convey ideas or facts in the teaching-learning process. This practice is termed the “chalk-talk” method. Today, advances in technology have made it possible to produce materials and devices that could be used to minimize the teachers talking and at the same time, make the message clearer, more interesting and easier for the learners to assimilate (Onasanya, 2008). According to Soetan (2010), graphics include charts, posters, sketches, cartoons, graphs and drawings. Graphics communicate facts and ideas clearly through combination of drawings, words and pictures. The use of graphics in teaching creates definitiveness to the materials being studied. They help to visualize the whole concepts learned and their relationships with one another.




Statement of the Problem

The Nigeria vision 20-20-20 will be in mirage if the poor academic performance of students in sciences is not check on time (Federal Republic of Nigeria FRN 2013). The researchers observed that memorization of facts have replaced experimentation in some of Nigerian schools. Hence, technological advancement and breakthrough remain a hope of many decades to come.

Dependency on expensive imported standard materials that are always insufficient in supply, which also makes students to view science as a foreign concept that should be memorized rather than understood, is the worry of this research. This is made manifest in poor achievement and low interest in science generally, and in integrated science particularly among secondary school students in Ikere Ekiti. Science educators believe that achievement of students at their full potentials and sustained interest in science especially integrated science, could be a function of appropriate lesson delivery techniques on one hand, but also of the relevance, adequacy and applicability of the materials and equipment upon which science lessons are based. The present researcher therefore investigated the effect of real and improvised materials on the academic performance of students in integrated science.



Purpose of the study

The major purpose of this study is to investigate the comparative effect of real and improvised materials on academic performance in integrated science.

Specifically the study investigated:

  1. The comparative relationship in the academic performance of students taught  integrated science  using improvised  materials and instructional materials
  2. Sex influence on the use of improvised instructional material and real instructional materials
  3. The attitude of students towards the use of improvised and real instructional material in learning integrated science.
  4. The influence of real instructional materials and improvised instructional materials on students’ academic achievement

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study.

  1. Does students taught integrated science using improvised material perform better than students taught using real instructional materials?
  2. To what extent does students Sex (male and Female) influence the use of improvised instructional material and real instructional materials?
  3. What are the attitude of integrated science students towards the use of improvised and real instructional materials?
  4. To what extent does real instructional materials and improvised instructional material influence students’ academic achievement in integrated science?



Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance guided the study:

  1. There is no significance difference between the pretest mean scores of students in the real and improvised materials groups.
  2. There is no significant difference in the performance mean scores of male and female students in each of the real and improvised materials groups.
  3. There is no significant difference in the student’s attitude towards integrated science fore and after treatment.
  4. There is no significance difference in the performance mean scores of students in the real and improvised materials groups after treatment.

Significance of the Study

The following group of people is expected to benefit directly from this study, particularly if the real and improvised materials enhance achievement and interest in secondary school students. They are secondary school students, integrated science teachers and government authorities. Others are educational administrators, stakeholders in education, parents and the general public.

The result of the study would enhance student’s use of improvised materials. This study will also serve as a basis for student’s further research work.  Manipulating these materials will awaken in them a curious mindset about science and its relevance to their immediate environment. Thus they will no longer view integrated science as a bag of abstract concepts but an interesting reality. Integrated Science teachers will carry out practical activities with ease and without fear  of inability to replace materials; their creativity and manipulative ability will equally be challenged as they will source materials that will give the required result. For the government authorities, huge sums of money spent on the importation of integrated science materials and equipment will be used to develop other areas of the educational sector and as incentives for teachers.

School inspectors, examiners, curriculum developers and college tutors will now increase their emphasis on the importance of hands-on activity in science education, and to reject material deficiency as an excuse for any absence of practical work.

Scope of the study

This study is aim at investigating the comparative effect of real and improvised materials on academic performance of students in integrated science. The scope covers all secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Nigeria.

Limitation of the Study

Problems arise during the course of writing this research project such that literature reviews of authors were scanty but the researcher was able to deal with the challenges in order not to allow these problems to affect the outcome of this study.

Definition of terms

Improvised material: According to Ihiegbulem (2007), it is the act of substituting for the standard equipment or instructional materials not available, with locally made equipment or instructional materials from readily available natural resources. National Teacher Institute in Omachi (2000) defines improvisation as the act of using alternative materials and resources due to lack or insufficient hand teaching ads to facilitate instruction from these opinions, improvisation entails the production of equipment using available local and cheaper resources and the use of such equipment for effective teaching

Real material:  Real materials have been defined by various authors. For example, Obanya (1989) viewed them as didactic materials thing which are supposed to make learning and teaching possible. According to Abdullahi (1982), instructional materials are materials or tools locally made or imported that could made tremendous enhancement of lesson impact if intelligently used. Ikerionwu (Isola, 2010) referred to them as objects or devices, which help the teacher to make a lesson much clearer to the learner.

Teaching:  This is a process of transferring knowledge from one person to another or the act, practice or profession of a teacher

Integrated Science: This is scientific enquire that comprises all science subjects.

J.S.S. Junior secondary schools, A middle school (also known as intermediate school or junior high school, is a school for students older than the elementary school, but not yet in high school

Academic Performance: this is the outcome of education, the extent to which a students, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.

Comparative: this is a syntactic construction that serves to express a comparison between two (or more) entitles or groups of entitles in quality, quantity or degree.




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