1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Right from the 1970s, multiple environmental problems have gradually changed perceptions about the nexus between nature and economic growth (Mueller 2009). In an attempt to change awareness and attitude some communication methods have been formulated, which includes changes at school curricula by the initiation on environmental science, conservation biology and environmental educational activities seeking for change students’ behaviors and educates them about sustainable development (Pádua & Jacobson 2014; Rennie 2007; Wyner & Desalle 2010). In some countries, those changes have been timid and unproductive (Koury 2010) or speedy and on time (Curado & Angelini 2010) and contemplates just a personal reconstruction of previously knowledge provided by the teacher or by the textbook (Gil-Pérez et al. 2015).Within the wider field of environmental science education it has been critical the lack of focus on the subjects of conservation and biodiversity and on substantive research on the public understand of biodiversity worldwide (Bride 2010). In addition, qualitative studies concerning biodiversity have failed to explore understandings (Bizerril 2004; Randler et al. 2010), to include features research on education programs (Brewer 2010) and to test procedures for achieve measurement-oriented approaches to educational activities (Jenkins 2009; Bride 2010). Outdoor education as a term has been in use for much longer than 20 years. It has to do with integration of theoretical knowledge with practice in nature and outdoor environments (Bartunek, Brügge, Fenoughty, Fowler, Hensler, Higgins, Laschinki, Löhrmann, Neißl, Neuman, Nicol, Seyfried & Szczepanski, 2015; Elliott & Davis, 2008). Knowledge acquisition does not always occur in a classroom environment; it may be obtained in places as museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aqua parks, playgrounds, forests and rivers (Türkmen, 2010). The mindset that learning should be given in nature dates back to Aristotle and Plato. Later, philosophers and scientists (including Rousseau, Locke, Schelling, Froebel, Basedow and Pestalozzi) have emphasized that students should frequently be given an opportunity to be in nature. Research shows that “direct and ongoing experiences of nature in relatively familiar settings remain a vital source for student’s physical, emotional, and intellectual development” (Kellert, 2010). Proximity and daily exposure to natural settings increase student’s ability to focus and enhances cognitive abilities (Wells, 2012). Outdoor laboratory activities allow students to have a wide perspective about things, because there is a wide world surrounding them outside (Öztürk, 2009). Interaction with nature is of great importance for student’s development and outdoor play spaces support this interaction (Rivkin, 2013). However, students growing up in an artificial environment do not possess enough sensitivity to nature (Herrington & Studtmann, 2011) and an active life for these students is curtailed (Boldeman, Dal & Wester, 2004). Outdoor play spaces and activities conducted in these areas can enable student to make effective use of time both physically and mentally if the activities are designed in accordance with their age, development, interests and needs (Towell, 2010). During learning, students acquire fundamental concepts through active involvement with the environment. Science content can be introduced effectively into naturalistic, informal, or structured learning experiences (Lind, 2011). Places other than classrooms are activity based integrative and stimulating learning environments that provide student with emotional experiences and chances for working freely. Even if they are small, they allow students to notice things belonging to nature more easily, restructure their emotions, gain information at their own speed, try different learning styles and offer learning opportunities different from those in classrooms. Outdoor spaces help students to develop skills related to the scientific research process like making inferences, measuring and observing. In addition, objects encountered there for the first time trigger learning new words. Stone and Faulkner (2014) found that spending time outdoors increased physical activity, reduced immobility and prevented excessive weight gain. Therefore, it is necessary that student be in contact with nature i.e. animals, plants and soil, and that outdoor places be integrated into education (Bilton, 2010; Godbey, 2009; Gülay, 2011; Maller, Townsend, Pryor, Brown & St Leger, 2010; Melber & Abraham, 2014; Ouvry, 2009; Öztürk, 2009; Studer, 2011; Talay, Aslan & Belkayalı, 2010; White & Stoecklin, 2011; Yayla Ceylan & Ülker, 2014). It has been reported in the literature that education programs incorporating outdoor laboratory activities improve cognitive, social-emotional and physical-motor skills, awareness, ability to determine cause-effect relationships, observation skills, creative thinking skills, concentration and imagination (Adhemar, 2012; Fjørtoft, 2009; Herrington & Studtmann, 2011; Kirkby, 2009; White & Stoecklin, 2011).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The curricular developmental aspect of Biology has focused more on rote learning over years which makes instruction teacher-centered. According to Gyuse (2009), vital abstract contents in Biology (like Ecology concept) can hardly be effectively communicated to the learners theoretically. Students‟ needs to be taught using innovative strategies like outdoor laboratory activities. Achilles and Pate (2011) reported poor skills acquisition when lecture method is used to teach Biology concepts and other science related subjects. Most teachers still prefer using the „chalk and talk‟ method in instructing learners (the lecture method approach). But Swan et al (2008) observed that the problem associated with teaching of Biology can be effectively handled by outdoor laboratory activities. The need to analyze parks and gardens in Ahmadu Bello university for student outdoor laboratory activities is therefore an obvious factor as Zayun (2008) opined that several factors have been responsible for low acquisition of science process skills. Shehu, (2010) discovered that the major problem of science subjects is rooted in the difficult nature of the science subject as a result of using poor teaching method to teach science concepts. Yusuf, (2012) added that the difficulty perceived by science students is their inability to make reasonable connection between concept areas and its application in solving problem in Biology as a result of poor methods used by many science teachers. The need to use appropriate method that will boost the acquisition of process skills, interest and performance in Biology is a point of concern. We propose here a distinct framework inviting students to learn on environmental science in outdoor and laboratorial activities under undergraduate biologist students’ tutelage. It is aimed at making environmental science education more accessible to students and their teachers and introduce concepts on conservation biology and biodiversity teaching for undergraduate students. Additionally all procedure was an experiment on environmental science education in which undergraduate students took part and also learnt environmental education in a scientific and quantitative viewpoint. Therefore, we are examining the analysis of parks and gardens in ahmadu bello university for student outdoor laboratory activities
The general objective of this work therefore is to examine analysis of parks and gardens in Ahmadu bello university for student outdoor laboratory activities. The specific objectives of the study are:
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of impact of parks and gardens on student outdoor laboratories activities.
H1: There is a significant impact of impact of parks and gardens on student outdoor laboratories activities.
H0: There is no significant relationship between parks and gardens and student outdoor laboratory activities.
H1: There is a significant relationship between parks and gardens and student outdoor laboratory activities.
The study will enable teachers to know the value of using parks and gardens in the outdoor laboratory activities apart from the numerous methods or approaches of teaching to enhance acquisition of science process skills. It would also be made clear to teachers that different methods could be used in teaching different concept in Biology instead of the traditional methods. These findings would assist educators and curriculum planners to understand and appreciate the way students would be taught using other strategies. It would also prepare ground for interested researcher who might wish to conduct further research in related areas and could contribute to the existing literature.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to analysis of parks and gardens in Ahmadu bello university for student outdoor laboratory activities.
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.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
ABU – One of Nigeria’s first-generation university located in Kaduna, founded in 1962 and named after the first Premier of the Northern Region Sir Ahmadu Bello.
Learning: the process of acquiring knowledge of a subject or skill through education.
Garden: A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, or enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature.
Parks: A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats.
Laboratory: A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed.
OTHER SIMILAR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROJECTS AND MATERIALS