BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Physics is a practical and scientific - oriented discipline which is concerned with the study of energy and matter with their interactions. Physics is sometimes referred to as the science of measurement and its knowledge has contributed greatly to the production of instruments and devices that are of tremendous benefits to human race, Omosewo (2009) and Oraifo (2015) opined that physics plays very important role in scientific and technological advancement that affect the lives of mankind. Physics according to Adeyemo (2010) is seen as a discipline that is abstract in nature but despite this abstract nature, its teaching is to bring about scientific thinking in students, a mindset that requires students to test out through experimentation. As a scientific discipline therefore, the teaching and learning of physics requires high level of practical work or approach in the laboratory in order to simplify the teaching - learning process and thus, stimulate life - long enthusiasm of physics students and science students as a whole. This will tend to reduce the abstract nature of physics and make it more real. Hence, practical work in physics is central to effective teaching and learning of physics more meaningful, attractive and real to learners. In fact, it is a key factor in engaging, enthusing and inspiriting students and thus, enhancing learning as well as the clarification and consolidation of theory (Ebele & Appochi, 2014). Obviously speaking, practical work in physics is not just only motivational and fun - oriented, it also enables students to apply and extend their knowledge and' understanding of physics in novel investigative situations which can stimulate interest, learning and retention; reduce boredom and foster participative learning process. Agbogun (2012) thus observes that practical work is a unique source of teaching and learning sciences, as it enables science students to observe and manipulate materials, to demonstrate certain aspects of the subject matter which is learnt in the classroom through teaching, discussions and textbooks. Practical Physics provides physics students the opportunity to engage in processes of investigation and inquiry. It also inculcates in the students, the spirit and method of problem solving analysis and their conceptual understanding. In addition, it is important to posit that the teaching and learning of physics becomes more meaningful, attractive and participative if only practical activities or experiments are built into the daily teaching and learning experiences of the learners. To this effect, Agbogun (2012) admits that learning outside the classroom, helps the students to act locally and think globally. He further stresses that practical knowledge gained through practical work in physics is an important element and therefore be highly encouraged. According to him, it gives students an opportunity to learn basic skills and work with concepts, gives learners better sense of real world processes and environment, improves students understanding in physics and affords chances for social interaction which cannot be attained in the classroom. When physics students are exposed to practical activities, they tend to be more stipulated and thus develop confidence and ability to solve practical problems. Sausu Isaila (2010), likewise assert that practical physics plays significant role in the teaching and learning of science, as it has motivation and propelling effect on physics students, thereby enhancing their understanding of physics concepts and phenomena. Advancing on the need to encourage practical work in physics, Shulmen and Tamir (2011), are of the view that the subject matter of science is quite complex and abstract and as such, practical work is needed to intrinsically motivate the students and enable them participate in inquiry to appreciate the spirit and methods of science. The quest to improve the performance of students in physics, specifically through practical work, can rarely be achieved if there is non - availability, inadequate, dysfunctional, ill - equipped and improper utilization of science laboratories. Tn fact, science laboratories play vital role in promoting the teaching and learning of physics and science in general. It is an indispensable and powerful mechanism that simplifies learning activities and thus, bridges the lacuna or gap between theory and practice. Oguniyi (2012) posits that laboratory occupies a central position in science instruction. He sees . the laboratory as a place where theoretical work is practicalized. It therefore enables students to translate what they had learnt in abstract to practical reality and hence, enhancing their understanding of concepts. In the same vein, Agbogun (2012) opines that the use of laboratory in teaching and learning of science and other related science disciplines enhances students' understanding and ability to recall easily what they had learnt. Adequate and functional physics laboratory therefore helps by providing forum where the students are given exercise to subject their beliefs, ideas, statements and theoretical preposition to tests. However, the extent to which physics teachers in Idemili South Local Government Area (IDSLGA) do engage their physics students in practical work becomes a matter of concern as some secondary schools in IDSLG in Anambra State do not have functional and well -' equipped physics laboratories. Evidence also shows that some schools do not have qualified physics teachers. One begins to worry how physics practicals in such schools can be encouraged. In line with the above challenges, Ebele and Apochi (2015) as in Oguniyi (2012), reported that some schools in Abuja Municipal Area Council are characterized by lack of funds and qualified science teachers as well as well - equipped science laboratories. Contrary to the position of scholars on the necessary and inevitability of practical work in the laboratory, Bates (2011), observes that laboratory experiences do not help students' achievement. He further opines that lecture, demonstration and laboratory teaching methods appear equally effective in transmitting science contents. The researcher therefore tends to determine the impact of laboratory practical activities on academic performance of secondary school student in heat concept in Physics in Sokoto North L.G.A.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Physics Practical in the laboratory is an inevitable scientific act that simplifies learning activities; thereby bridging the gap between theory and practice. However, a level of engagement of Physics students in physics practical by physics teachers in heat concept in Physics in Sokoto North L.G.A., becomes questionable as evidence shows that some Physics teachers do engage their students occasionally in physics practical while in some schools, there are dysfunctional and ill-equipped Physics Laboratories as well as unqualified Physics teachers. Hence the study examines the impact of laboratory practical activities on academic performance of secondary school student in heat concept in Physics in Sokoto North L.G.A
AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine impact of laboratory practical activities on academic performance of secondary school student in heat concept in Physics in Sokoto North L.G.A. Other specific objectives of the study include;
H0: There is no significant relationship between laboratory practical activities and academic performance of secondary school students in heat concept in physics in Sokoto North L.G.A.
H1: There is a significant relationship between laboratory practical activities and academic performance of secondary school students in heat concept in physics in Sokoto North L.G.A.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will be of profound benefits to enlighten physics teachers and school management on the impact of laboratory practical activities on academic performance of students. This study would also be of immense benefit to students and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to impact of laboratory practical activities on academic performance of secondary school student in heat concept in Physics in Sokoto North L.G.A.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
School – an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of the teachers.
Physics – A natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion, throughv space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force.
Students – A learner or someone who attends an educational institution.
Teaching – The act of imparting knowledge to learners.
Practical work- Means the physics experiments or demonstration selected for thev science students to do or observe at the laboratory in secondary schools.
Practical class – Class for doing practical experiments.
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