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THE NEED FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF LABORATORY PRACTICE TO PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL CURRICULA

ABSTRACT Laboratory studies not included in primary and secondary schools curricula has been identified as one root causes of the poor performances of science students from secondary schools and which extended to tertiary institutions.

This paper examined the helpless situations surrounding science training in our educational system, it equally make effort to design laboratory practice skeletal curriculum which can be very useful in primary and secondary schools. The proposed skeletal curriculum is to involved identification and drawing of simple laboratory apparatus, their classification into material type, uses of simple apparatus and maintenance/care. List of simple apparatus common and required in primary and secondary school experimental work in biology, chemistry and physics were compiled and divided into six years work, and further subdivided into eighteen terminal parts. The paper suggested laboratory practice studies should start from primary 4 to JSS 3 in secondary school while the senior secondary school continues with the application of knowledge from the above studies.

INTRODUCTION In paper work and policy, primary and junior secondary school were designed to contained simple and introductory laboratory where simple experiment can be carry out by pupils under supervision of science teachers. Unfortunately, this structure is not practically in existence to help students understands the rudiment of science experimental details. The effect of these inadequacies in our educational structure had grave effect on the product of science students from our tertiary institution of learning. For instance a first year university student cannot distinguish between beaker and conical flask, tripod and retort stand, round and flat bottom flask etc. Such ignorance we should know accompanied the student from secondary school where these types of instruments may or may be available. In some situations they are available but no competent hand to use them in training the students. If identification of simple instruments/ equipments is a problem, how can the students know the uses, its

materials, maintenance and care? This becomes an accumulated ignorance that multiply even till graduation since the tertiary institutions curricula has no provision for this study. For any elementary idea one fail to acquire at the right time tends to present complication to future interest of learning most especially in the same direction. This is very true with scientific formulae, calculation, symbols and other relevant ideas about problems.

Science education has no meaning if no reasonable and function able experimental work are done or demonstrated before students.

According to L.B. Kolawole 1997, science is any department of knowledge in which the results of investigation have been logically arranged and systematized in the form of hypotheses and general laws subjects to verification. How can investigation and verification be possible when practicals are not done? It is easier to describe what you see, touch, taste or smell, because science learning employ ones complete senses. Imagination, prejudice, superstition and dogmatic assertion are enemies of progress and vigorous development in scientific studies (L.B. Kolowale 1997). Though elementary science textbooks in primary schools are pictorially rich to assist pupils understanding, but other sense of touching, tasting and smelling are completely denied. The pupils only see the picture and continue to imagine how it is use, set up and probably how to operate it. This nature of scientific training extended to junior secondary school class three, and over there in senior secondary school the science of imagination cast spirit of timidity and fear into students as they may be afraid to touch/use laboratory equipments/instrument and reagents all in the name of precaution and safety codes. The problem is further compounded when schools authority employ incompetent hand to handle science and sometimes wrong professional. Another factor which promoted darkness in science training in secondary schools is the alternatives to practical questions; this is already creeping silently into some tertiary institutions curricula.

This issue of curriculum therefore arrives. What is curriculum? Why is curriculum necessary? Curriculum is a directive educational planning which acts as a guide towards training in any systematized former education. It direct teacher on what, when to start and stop in

a particular subject. It classifies the required subject, topics into various stages of learning. Without it educational system becomes haphazard in process and meaningless.

Evaluating Nigerian primary and secondary schools science curricula, direction towards practical class has no distinctive emphasis and planning. Therefore science teachers takes decision whether or not experiment should be carried out. Secondly their academic timetable has no provision for practical work on science subjects, while theoretical topics are carefully arranged to occupy available weeks in each term. The matter get worse when such teacher is either to teach the subject in more than one class or appointed to teach other science subjects. In the case of primary school nonscience teachers are engage to teach all subjects, this is another error which is drawing back scientific training in our educational system.

An investigation is inadequate if problems are identified but solutions are not proffered. In view of this fact, out primary and junior secondary school science curricula need the introduction of laboratory practices to complement theoretical work already in existence. With this introduction a teacher will not have any excuse for not conducting practical to pupils/students. Laboratory practice will not only create more understanding to learners but also established courage and build scientific interest in pupils/students. For these sake of maturity in relation to safety and care laboratory practice curriculum can be designed to start from primary four a class when pupils are believe to be matured enough to handle instruments with care and respect to instructions from teachers or laboratory staff. This training should continue or extended to junior secondary class three so that their interest toward science is completely nurtured till senior secondary where knowledge gained in laboratory practice are competently applied. At such stages less attention of teacher may be needed by students in laboratory experiment work. The prerequisite in the development of laboratory practices curriculum involves developing comprehensive list of elementary/basic laboratory apparatus/instruments, reagents and some simple laboratory machine. There are six classes or sessions from primary four to junior secondary class three. And each session has three terms. It therefore implies that the comprehensive laboratory equipment/reagents must be divided into six major parts while each major part is subdivided into three parts for real practical teaching by competent laboratory Technologist.

LABORATORY EQUIPMENT/INSTRUMENTS List of Simple Science Equipment, Apparatus and Reagents 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. Petri dish Hand lens Magnifying glass Simple microscope Aluminum foil Filter paper Distilled water Test tubes Thermometer Beaker Metre rule Chemical balance Spring balance Stop/watch clock Calorimeter Funnel Measuring cylinder Retort stand Round bottom flask Condenser Clamps Flat bottom flask Tripod stand Tistle funnel Spatula U-tube Chemical thermometer Ball and ring apparatus Bimetallic strip Plane mirror Concave mirror Convex mirror

33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66.

Magnet Screen Lens (concave) Lens (convex) Rectangular glass block Triangular glassblock (prism) Weight Hydrometer Optical pins Ammeter Resistors Accumulator Switch Voltmeter Dry cell Galvanometer Lamp Barometer Rain gauge Anemometer Pendulum bob Bunsen burner Wire gauze Wooden block Blockened calorimeter Metal foil Rheostat Heating coil Lagging Ray box Pair of dividers Spiral spring Plasticine Pointer

67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100.

Boss head Drawing board Pulley G. clamp Knife edge Jockey Potentiometer Metre bridge Asbestos Constantain wire Resistance box Key Electrodes Tetraoxosulphate (vii) acid Electrolytes Carbon rod Zinc rod Torch bulb Compass Soft iron rod Copper Wooden retort Tall glass cylinder Tuning fork Sonometer Vernier caliper Micrometer screw gauge Level balance Capacitors Wind vain Friction board Power supply Conical flask Reagent bottle

101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134.

Evaporating basin Boiling tube Water trough Potassium nitrate Blotting paper Dropping tube Iodine solution Microscope slide and cover Scissors Alcohol Potassium hydroxide Sodium bicarbonate Copper I chloride Right-angled tubes Zinc chloride Benedicts solution Glucose Maltose Hydrochloric acid Clinistix or other test paper strips Millions reagent Forceps Saline solution Scalpel Stirring rod Crucible Thermometer (minimum, maximum and Clinical) Wet and dry bulb hygrometer Light meter pH Volumetric flask methyl orange indicator phenolphthalein Cleaning agents

135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. 141. 142. 143. 144. 145. 146. 147. 148. 149. 150. 151. 152. 153. 154. 155. 156. 157. 158. 159. 160. 161. 162. 163. 164. 165. 166. 167. 168.

ammonia litmus paper Retort flask Standard flask Ignition tube Filtering flask Distillation flask Pipe clay triangle Tile Evaporating dish Mortal and pistle Burrette stand Bell jar Crystallizing jar Beechive shelf Dessicator Chromatographic jar Weighing bottle Sample bottle Aspirator bottle Woultts bottle Filter funnel Bunchner funnel Separating funnel Dropping pipette Bulb pipette Sample tube Pipette filter Watch glass Water bath Hoffman voltmeter Deflagrating spoon Crucible tong Drying tubes

169. 170. 171. 172. 173. 174. 175. 176. 177. 178. 179. 180. 181. 182. 183. 184. 185. 186. 187. 188.

Filter pump Kipps apparatus Liebig condenser Brushes Syringes Crocodile clips Aquaria Dissecting needle Test tube rack Dissecting board Autoclave Incubator Oven Leishman stain gas jar Stoppers (rubber, wooden) Kjeldah/flask Slide projector Winchester bottle Cork-borers Specimen tube

SKELETAL DESIGNED OF SUGGESTED SCIENCE LABORATORY PRACTICE CURRICULUM PRIMARY 4: IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS.

The following laboratory apparatus/tools should be available for pupils

to see and touch. Teachers teacher or an instructor appointed teaches them their uses as well as material used in their design.

1st term (Knife edge (wooden), Drawing boards, wood block and plane, wooden retort, meter rule and Ray box. Spring balance Scissors,) 2nd term (Retort Stand and Clamps, Tripod Stand, Magnet, G. Clamp, Lever balance, Cork (wooden and rubber) Cork borer 3rd term (Pulley, meter bridge, forceps, pendulum bob, weights, tuning forks, hand lens, sonometer, jockey, aquaria, crocodile clip)

PRIMARY 5: The following laboratory apparatus/tools should be available for pupils to see and touch. The teacher or an instructor appointed to teach and demonstrate to them their uses as well as material used in their design.

1st term (Ball and ring apparatus, calorimeter, key, wind vane, petri dish (plastic), measuring cylinder (plastic), funnel (plastic), mirror (plane, concave and convex),2nd term (rain gauge, water trough, microscope slide and cover, evaporating basin and dish, reagent bottle, thermometer, beakers, conical flask, compass etc) 3rd term (.Pupils should be taught how to use hand lens to identify specimen and using forcep to pick them, how to measure volume of water using plastic measuring cylinder, how to measure length using meter rule).

PRIMARY 6: As stated in 4 and 5 above: 1st term (Test tube rack, test tube, beehive shelf, bimetalic strip, bunsen burner, wire gauge, pair of divider, boss head, deflagrating spoon) 2nd term (dissecting needle, funnel (glass), round bottom flask, flat bottom flask, lens, rectangular glass, triangular glass block, u-tube, touch bulb) 3rd term (pupils should be taught how to collect specimen such as insects and worms, how to filter simple solution like sand in water, how use beam balance to weigh).

JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ONE: The following apparatus/tools should be available for students to see, touch and draw. The teacher or instructor appointed should teach and demonstrate their uses, describe type of material and how to draw them.

1st term (Meter bridge, burrete stand, burrette, vernier caliper, micrometer screw guages, heating coil, carbon, zinc rod),scapel, spring, thistle funnel, hydrometers, anemometer,2nd term ( boiling tube, tall glass cylinder, dropping tube, dessicator, weighing bottle, sample bottle, volumetric flask, standard flask, retort flask),3rd term ( respirator bottle, separating funnel, dropping pippette, sample tube gas jar, glucose, maltose, iodine solution, iodine (dry), litmus paper, leighman stain.)

JUNIOR SECONDARY TWO: As stated in JSS I and setting and up of simple equipment like heating and distillation, microscope mirror and some simple circuit.

1st term (Condenser, distillation flask, delivering tube, tuber, chromatographic jar, filter funnel, Buchner funnel, voltmeter, drying tubes, specimen tube, kjeldah flask, 2nd term (alcohol, benedicts solution, saline solution, methyl organe indicato, potassium hydroxide, phenol phthalin, millions reagent, amnonia, 3rd term hand lens, dissection of rat, storage of parts using formalin,10% alcohol.Using thermometer to know boiling and melting points filtration,using ruler for simple measurement, using venner caliper, micrometer screw gauge

Junior Secondary Three: At this stage students are now expected to de demonstrate simple application of the above apparatus/tools and instruments identified. This simple application should be part of required knowledge for experiment. They are carried out in senior secondary section. Some simple experiment in biology, chemistry and physics should be done in JSS 3, such as: 1st term (In Biology:, Preparing 10% alcohol and formalin, testing for glucose, protein and fat. In Chemistry: how to operate burser burner, heating seting up distillating apparatus, testing acid and bases using litmus paper,weighing using mettler balance transferring specific volume of water from one container to other using pipette and delivering specific volume using burrette.using spring balance, lever balance. 2nd term ( In Physics: measurement of time using stop clock or watch measuring cylinder, connecting simple circuit such as battery + bulb + connecting wire, passing current through ordinary and salt dissolved water. 2ndterm General revision on Jss 1 and 11

Our other colleagues in sports, fine arts and home economics, believe and demonstrate that primary school pupils and lower secondary school students can be taught practical activities successfully, why should we in science not exploit this their understanding and practice so as to further extend science training and create more interest in students thereby making science simple, relevance and acceptable to all.

DISCUSSIONS This curriculum is designed taking safety, pupils' maturity and apparatus/instruments care into consideration. Primary 4 are to be introduced to simple wooden, plastics and metallic apparatus because glass apparatus are fragile and may be delicate for them to handle.

But at primary 5 the pupils should be to handle some plastics and surface glass apparatus that require no special techniques in washing. While at primary 6, pupils are already well acquainted with the use of laboratory apparatus/instruments.

CONCLUSION

AND

RECOMMENDATIONS

This paper is of the view that laboratory practice if included in science curriculum will not only reintroduce science training in a special way but reorient ate the science teachers interest of creative process and advance unquenchable hunger for

technological breakthrough. The propose curriculum skeletal framework drawn above is subject to any reasonable amendment and reform by educational experts: The aim is to draw the education planning sector's attention to primary and Secondary Schools need of laboratory training. It is true that government may not be able to provide adequate laboratory apparatus/equipment to all primary and Secondary Schools. One or two school(s) in a local government area can be equipped up to standard. Science teachers/instructors of other schools should be able to take their pupils/students to that school at least once in two weeks for laboratory training. In that case government should provide schools with mobility facilities. Alternatively, government should design and provide four or five mobile science laboratory to each state including FCT. Such mobile laboratory can be design in a spacious vehicle. Cartons and shelves may be use to carry apparatus, equipment and reagents. They have to move from one school to the other, and accompanied by team of science laboratory technologists in case of those schools having none.

For laboratory practice studies to be effective and succeed as focus by this paper, well trained and experienced technologist should be employ on permanent or temporary (because of scarcity of technologists) basis into primary and Secondary Schools. They are to teach this laboratory practice course and demonstrate to students various uses of apparatus/instruments listed above. Laboratory assistances are equally needed to assist in this direction.

REFERENCES G.O. EWELUKWA 1995, A Handbook of practical Physics for senior secondary schools. National Primary Education commission (NPEC) 1988 Edited by Bajah and C.B. guntonade Longman Primary Science Pupil's book 6.

Thomas .b. Igwebuike 1995, curriculum planning and development: Principles and practices. Jim Olabode Oluwatayo 1998, Comprehensive practical chemistry fo senior secondary schools G.A. odunze; G.O. Ewelukwa Revision Integrated Science for junior school certificate Examination

Oghojafor Wilson A.I.S.L.T Department of Physics, Delta State University, Abraka 08077416431, 08034737216. wilonos2006@yahoo.co.uk.