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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 Introduction

Science is an important subject. It cuts across all levels of educational sector. The topics in the

primary science syllabus have been carefully selected to introduce pupils to the enquiry process

of science as well as the basic ideas in science. The topics in the primary school science

discipline covers: agriculture, health and industry.

The course has been designed to offer a body of knowledge and skills to meet the requirement of

every living and provide adequate foundation for those who want to pursue further studies of

related vocations. The course focus on science enables pupils to understand the natural world.

The purpose of the primary level school science syllabus is to include the scientific literature and

culture for all so that pupils can make informed choices in their personal lives and approach

challenges in their work places in a systematic and logical order. Also the subject aims to

introduce competent professionals in various scientific disciplines who can carry out research

and development at higher levels.

Science is a distinct form of creative human activity, which involves one way of seeing,

exploring and understanding reality. It is both a way of finding out about the world and a

growing body of ideas and information about the way things work.

Science is one of the essential features of any society, having profound effects on people’s lives

and the environment, especially through its application for practical purposes. It is not a

homogenous activity generating a single form of knowledge but consists of a variety of

distinguishable, interconnected and overlapping disciplines within the scientific domain.

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At the heart of scientific activity is the desire to explore and understand the world and to do so

using a distinctive mode of enquiry? Central to this mode of enquiry is a set of systematic

processes such as hypothesizing, observing, measuring, designing and carrying out experiments,

recording and analyzing data, and evaluating investigations.

It is this mode of enquiry that allows students to collect the type of data needed for acquiring a

view of the world that can complement other perspectives. Consequently science has earned a

place in any balanced education and is a crucial factor in enhancing sustainable development in

nations.

The overall goal of science education is to develop scientific capability in all young people from

5 – 18. The term “scientific capability” is used instead of “scientific literacy”, since it conveys

more clearly the focus of science education for action as well as for personal enlightenment and

satisfaction.

Scientific capability encompasses five distinct but connected aspects:

1) Competence – ability to investigate scientifically

2) Curiosity – an enquiring habit of mind

3) Understanding – making sense of scientific knowledge and the way science works

4) Creativity – ability to think and act in a non linear way

5) Sensitivity – critical awareness of the role of science in society combined with a caring and

responsible disposition

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Becoming scientifically capable therefore involves not merely the acquisition of skills,

knowledge, understanding and development of appropriate personal qualities and attitudes but

also focuses on integrating and applying these personal and intellectual resources for both

cognitive and practical purposes in a variety of contexts.

The foundation for the learning of science and mathematics is laid in primary schools. Science

must therefore be given greater emphasis at the primary school level; teachers in primary schools

should be given effective preparation and support to enable them to provide exciting and

fulfilling teaching and learning of science and mathematics. To strengthen science teaching and

learning in primary schools,

 A cadre of primary science and math specialist teachers must be created to provide

support, mentor and guide other primary teachers in a cluster of schools in science and

mathematics teaching.

 Primary teacher education programmes in the universities and Teacher Training Colleges

should provide opportunities for students to specialize in science and mathematics

teaching.

 Primary teachers with weak skills in science and mathematics should be given support to

upgrade their knowledge and skills.

 Primary teachers must be fully funded to upgrade their knowledge in science and

mathematics.

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Gumani Hassaniya JHS is situated in the Gumani community of the Tamale Metropolitan

Assembly. The people in the community are mainly private business men and women and some

are government employed workers. This is a Dagomba community and majority of the

inhabitants are Muslims with a few of them being Christians and traditional religion followers.

The inhabitants are well ingrained in the traditional methods of doing things. This shows that

their knowledge in the scientific process is very poor.

1.1 Perceived Problem

The inability of pupils to find the density of an irregular object was realized through a thorough

scrutiny of pupils’ exercise books, it was observed from the previous classes that they were

always fed with information or scientific concepts without allowing them to experiment the

concepts practically. This method of teaching brought the problem of little or no understanding

of most of the basic concepts in science.

1.2 Evidence of the Problem

During one of the researcher’s science lessons in Gumani Hassaniya JHS, it was observed that

the pupils performed poorly in a test that was conducted on the topic “determining the density of

an irregular object”. Out of forty pupils in class, JHS one, ten (10) pupil passed and the rest

failed the test conducted by the researcher which represents 25% and 75% respectively. As a

result of this, the researcher discovered the inability of the pupils in Gumani Hassaniya JHS to

understand the basic concept.

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1.3 Problem Diagnosis

The main aim of the study was to find out why pupils in Gumani Hassaniya JHS form one cannot

understand the concept ‘determining the density of an irregular object”. The instrument used for

the data collection was tests. The following questions were asked:

 What is Density?

 What is the unit of measurement for density?

 Describe with the use of practical activities to determine the density of an irregular

object.

With the test, the researcher discovered the problems of the pupils’ ability to understand basic

science concept.

1.4 Causes of the Problem

The researcher found the following causes of the pupils’ problems as:

The wrong perception that science is a difficult field of study and this affects them

psychologically. For example, some pupils think that science is for brilliant pupils and they

would consider themselves lucky if they manage to pass a class test in science.

Also, the abstract nature of lesson presentations by teachers and poor working attitude among

some teachers accounts for the reasons why pupils do not perform well in basic science concepts.

1.5 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to provide enough evidence on the problem of the pupils in science

education. The research work seeks to come out with interventional activities which when

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effectively implemented would solve the plight of pupils. The research work further seeks to

equip teachers on the various methods they could adopt to help in the lesson presentation in order

to meet their lesson objectives. The research work also seeks to remove the abstract nature of the

science lessons so that experiment could help the pupils understand what is taught in class. On a

general note, the research works seeks to help students explain some of the activities they see

around their environment.

1.6 Objectives

The researcher carried out this research work with the following objectives.

By the end of the intervention process pupils in Gumani Hassaniya JHS will be able to:

(i) Define density

(ii) Mention the unit of measurement for density

(iii) Describe with the use of practical activities to determine the density of an irregular

object

To find possible ways through which this problems could be solved. To help teachers identify the

appropriate methods of teaching pupils to increase their interest in the study of science.

More importantly, it is also to hint science teachers to know that there is the need for

improvisation in the teaching and learning of science.

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1.7 Significance of the Study

The study is useful to the study of science since it will help solve pupils’ problem in

understanding the concept “density of an irregular object”. The practical nature of the subject of

study will help provide solutions to the pupils of understanding basic science concepts.

The study will help come out with possible suggestions to help solve the problem.

More importantly, the study will also help to provide resource materials to help teachers and the

pupils as well. In all, the study will help increase the interest of pupils in science.

1.8 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are:

1. To find out the causes of pupils inability to determine density of an irregular object

2. To determine the methodology to assist pupils to understand the concept of an irregular

object.

3. To determine how practical activities can be used to help pupils understand the concept

of density of an irregular object.

1.9 Research Questions

To direct focus of the study, the following questions were put up:

1. What are the causes of pupils’ inability to understand the concept of determining the

density of an irregular object?

2. Which methodology can be used to assist the pupils to overcome the problem of

understanding the concept “density of an irregular object”?

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3. Could the use of practical activities enable the researcher to address the pupils’ problem

of understanding the concept “density of an irregular object”?

1.10 Delimitations

The study is taken in form one in the subject science, but it is limited to study of basic science

concept “density of an irregular object”. The researcher could have extended it to cover all

classes in the school. The researcher could also look at the performance of pupils in integrated

science in general.

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CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.0 Meaning and Scope of Science

According to Conant, (1951), science is an interconnected series of concepts and concrete

scheme that has developed as result of experimentation and observation. Also, Stephen and john

(2008) said, science is acquiring knowledge through investigation, experimentation, observation

and evaluation of information found in relation to established bodies of knowledge.

In simple terms, science can be defined as the process of acquiring knowledge through

observation, experimentation and drawing ao conclusions. The scope of science is basically put

into three main branches, these are: biology, physics and chemistry.

According to M.C. Michael (2001) defined biology as the study of life in the book essential

Biology for senior high school. Thus biology is part of science that deals with the study of living

things and nature. The sub-branches under biology includes; zoology- the study of animals’

botany-the study of plants.

Physic is the study of study of energy and forces on matter.

Chemistry is the study of the composition and existence of matter, chemicals and their reactions

in nature.

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2.1 Objectives of Teaching and Learning of Science

The primary school syllabus is design to help pupils to develop the spirit of curiosity, creativity,

critical thinking and also develop enquiry attitude towards life and explore to show appreciation

of their knowledge. It also enables both the teacher (researcher) and the pupils to develop

appropriate intervention strategies aimed at finding solutions to the problems identified in the

teaching and learning of science.

Many scientist as well as science teachers have come out with reasons why pupils have

difficulties in understanding basic concepts in science, example, air occupies space.

According to Ghana Associations of Science Teachers (GAST), (2002), the reasons are that, the

teaching of science does not relate to the pupils experience. The subject methodology is always

boring due to e way it is presented by the teachers. The lessons are always taught without using

teaching and learning materials.

The vision of the National Science and Technology Policy is “to support national socio-

economic development goals with a view to lifting Ghana to a middle income status by the year

2020 through the perpetuation of a science and technology culture at all the levels of society,

which is driven by the promotion of innovation and the mastery of known and proven

technologies and their application in industry, and other sectors of the economy”. (MEST, 2000)

This vision can become a reality when science education is given a boost at all levels of

education. It has been suggested that the promotion of science education hinges on three pillars –

funding, teaching and intervention, and research. Without adequate funding, quality teachers,

supportive intervention activities and research to illuminate our understanding, science education

will have no impact on the everyday lives of Ghanaians; and the observation made by the

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National Development Planning Commission will remain true. Our national vision for science

and technology will be therefore being meaningless.

The youth constitute an important resource that can be developed to hold the reins of the country

through science and technology. Opportunities through job creation should be provided for them

to take up careers in science and technology. A science and technology programme that does not

stimulate curiosity and problem solving in the youth and prepare them to face the world of the

future would have failed.

Before considering the data relating to hands-on science, it is necessary to establish precise

meanings of terms used. In this report, hands-on science is taken to mean any practical or

investigative work in which the pupils themselves handle the materials, living things and/ or

equipment. Such experiences afford pupils concrete opportunities to understand and learn about

the world around them. In addition, hands-on science enables pupils to develop key scientific

skills as outlined in the Primary Science Curriculum (DES, 1999a) including, for example,

observing, In this report, pupils’ pictures are shown as drawn, without re-sizing or amendment,

for authenticity. Predicting and measuring. In this report hands-on science also encompasses

design and-make activities. Hands-on science includes closed activities, teacher-directed

approaches and child-led open investigations. These types are described in detail in the Primary

Science Curriculum Teacher Guidelines and would serve different purposes in relation to the

development of conceptual understanding and/ or scientific skills (DES, 1999b).

Investigations represent a subcategory of hands-on science. The current report considers

investigations to be quite pupil-directed, typically characterised by pupils trying to answer a

question, which they may even have posed for themselves.

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Investigations may contain some aspects of teacher guidance but from third class onwards, the

curriculum indicates that there should be some element of independent decision-making (DES,

1999a). Such work would include the use of key scientific skills, for example, questioning

(pupils raising questions), planning, fair testing and perhaps problem-solving.

The term experiment was used by the researchers in the pupil questionnaire and frequently by

pupils in their responses. It was felt that pupils would not necessarily be familiar with the term

hands-on science or the specific meaning of the word investigation, so these terms were avoided

when wording the questionnaire. In focus group discussions when developing the questionnaire,

the term “experiment” was understood and used by pupils to mean any form of scientific

practical work. It should be noted here that experiments could include those conducted by

teachers as a teacher demonstration, as opposed to those being carried out by pupils. Teacher

demonstrations would not constitute hands-on experiences for pupils and their value in

developing pupils’ own scientific skills would therefore be rather limited.

2.3 Basic/Activity Method of Teaching Science

According to Olyede and Benjamin (1994), there can scarcely be any good science lesson which

can achieve its objectives just by using a single approach.

There is a difference in strategy or approaches of teaching science. One of these approaches is

the activity method.

The activity method is method of teaching science in which the pupil is placed at the centre of

teaching and learning process is made to internet with material (provided either by the teachers

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or by the pupils) to discover concepts and facts unaided or with minimum interference of the

teacher .

The activity method takes into consideration the learners’ natural tendency to explore (curiosity)

and play, pupils also learn through firsthand experience when the teacher uses the activity

method. The method also considers the previous knowledge of pupils and play materials.

Despite the above, the success of the method depends on how best the teacher relates with the

pupils.

2.4 The Pupils’ Inability to Understand Basic Science Concepts

Pupils should dominate in activities during lessons, that are answering questions orally, writing,

discussions of pictures and chats, drawing, modeling using learning aids like chats, cards,

cassettes and engaging pupils in experiments. The activities can be done individually or in

groups. Out of the lots teaching methods, the activity method has been adopted.

Dunedin (2002), enumerated the following reasons for choice of activity method; the child is the

central focus in the delivery stage of lesson, thus children are recede to perform activities. The

level of pupils intellectual attainments are considered when lesson is been delivered. At the

primary school, children cannot sit for long periods to listen to the teacher or even learn, they

need short term breaks for various activities that they like to perform activities. The activity

method therefore fits into their natural setting. Children become highly motivated when they are

able to perform activities and get praises from teachers and friends in the process of teaching and

learning of science hence covered both teacher and child centred methods of teaching.

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According to Nartey and Menyah (2003) the reasons for using activity method to teach the basic

levels are as follows:

The activity method takes into consideration learners’ natural tendency to explore and play, in

addition, the activity method also takes into consideration the learners’ previous knowledge and

experience and also cater for individual difference and abilities.

The researcher therefore decides to use this method, thus, the activity method to teach his pupils

because of its advantages over other methods.

2.5 Methods of Teaching Science in Basic School

This study supports research (Ünal & Coştu, 2005) that has emphasised the need to target

students‟ misconceptions about scientific concepts. The literature (e.g., see California Journal of

Science Education, 2005, which devotes Volume 5 Issue 2 to “Dealing with science

misconceptions”) highlights targeting students‟ misconceptions as an effective science teaching

practice. This study showed that challenging students‟ understandings created an impact on

learning about science concepts. For example, Participant 26 testified, “In about grade 5, we did

an experiment to see if it was possible to blow triangular or square shaped bubbles. This was

successful in proving me wrong because I thought it was possible.” The experimental challenge

to the misconception was indelibly printed on the learner‟s mind. Participant 50 wrote, “We

learnt about the development of the egg to chick. I thought the egg yolk became the chick‟s

internal parts and egg white became the chick‟s external parts.” Further evidence for targeting

students‟ misconceptions can be provided through concept mapping or asking students to write

on a topic prior to commencing a science unit of work.

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2.5.1 Enthusiasm from the teacher

Teacher enthusiasm for a subject can play a role in students‟ likes or dislikes of a subject and

their memory of the subject. Before discussing this enthusiasm, the adults in this study had

mixed feelings about their own primary science education with seven specifically claiming they

could not remember doing science in primary school, which may have to do with the age of the

participants (i.e., six of these respondents were >40 years old). These participants, who could not

remember a primary science lesson, responded accordingly, “I cannot remember, but I am sure it

was ok - I have not been turned off for life” (Participant 98). Others purported that science was

more “embedded into the KLAs [Key Learning Areas]”. One participant stated without any

context to the science taught, “Yes, it was interesting and no because it was repetitive”

(Participant 39). Conversely, 16 participants acknowledged the teachers‟ enthusiastic nature for

teaching science. Those who emphasised teacher enthusiasm highlighted positive experiences in

science, while the reverse occurred for those who experienced unenthusiastic teachers.

The following three responses were typical of positive experiences in primary science education

and each emphasised teacher enthusiasm as key to the process of learning: “Although we did not

do much science study, when we did it was always interesting and educational because of the

teachers” (Participant 112); “I thoroughly enjoyed all of the science investigation undertaken at

primary school. The teachers and students were enthusiastic about science, and the science

experiences were made relevant to life” (Participant 116); and “I remember studying the solar

system a number of times, but the most interesting time was when we studied it in grade 6 and

that was due to my creative, enthusiastic teacher who made learning a great adventure”

(Participant 14). On the other hand, a typical negative response indicated the experience to be:

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“Not positive because the teacher was boring and failed to get my interest. It made me feel like a

failure” (Participant 159).

2.5.2 Group work

As science knowledge is socially constructed (e.g., Vygotsky, 1986), group involvement seemed

to have an impact on these participants‟ long-term memories. The discovery or investigation of

science with peers provided opportunities for social interaction and an element of fun, for

instance, Participant 120 wrote, “Experimenting with magnets. It was a fun group activity”.

Participant 72 also highlighted her experience of interacting with her peers with the science

behind the activity, “Standing on an upside down table on top of balloons and adding more

people until the balloons popped. It was the first time I had thought about pressure and the

spreading of weight to achieve balance”. One participant recognised group experiments in

primary science as a foundational experience for secondary work, “We used to do a lot of group

Science teaching strategies experiments that were simplifications of experiments I did later at

high school and university. They created the building blocks of my knowledge” (Participant

131). Group involvement provided opportunities for independent discovery, “Doing an

experiment on electricity. We were actually allowed to do it on our own. So because we could

conduct it ourselves it made it more enjoyable” (Participant 77). Once again, science concepts

were uncovered as a result of high-impact teaching that facilitated group involvement, “In Grade

4 we used straws to construct a bridge together. The aim was to see how strong we could make

the bridge and figure out what shapes were needed in the bridge construction to give it strength”

(Participant 164).

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2.5.3 Usable and practical science

Usable scientific knowledge was valued by learners, who noted potential practical applications,

for example, Participant 27 affirmed, “Learning about the human body, growth and reproduction

I always found fascinating and I think helped me understand what makes human beings so

similar (scientifically)” [parenthesis included] and Participant 33 stated, “Simple electric circuit -

conceptualize the way electricity works and gave an understanding of the delivery of electricity

to our home.” Even more difficult science concepts can be presented in practical ways and assist

students to remember their learning of science, to illustrate, “Pulleys and levers introduced me to

the notions of physics and instilled in me a great interest in the cause and effect of physics”

(Participant 130) and “Studying inertia/friction experiment in year 5. Such a complex concept on

paper but once we played with ramps and cars it all made sense. This is when I understood the

need for practical experience” (Participant 131).

Integrating science with other key learning areas also demonstrated usable and practical science,

“Making paper airplanes and learning and calculating its speed etc. (tied in with maths). It helped

me get my head around it because it was fun, I wanted to learn” (Participant 161). These three

participants (Participants 130, 131, and 161) were males; however females were also encouraged

by experiments that lead to practical knowledge. Participant 78 explained, “Creating a cage to

protect an egg when dropped 5 metres taught us more than just science – it was enjoyable,

interesting and worthwhile - application in life - not just science” and Participant 102 stated, “We

were studying leaves, plants, flowers. We were able to exit the classroom, find flowers and point

out the name and parts of them. It was an enjoyable experience.” Connecting experiments to

real-life scientific knowledge appeared to have long-lasting effects on these adults, particularly

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as it was between 7 and 38 years ago when these participants (n=167) attended their primary

schools.

2. 5.4 Hands-on experiences

The literature frequently highlights the need for hands-on experiences for learning about science

concepts. Participants in this study commented on hands-on activities such as “Creating mini-

green house inside water bottle [as] exciting and fun” (Participant 123), and learning “about

different Australian native plants and where they grow best. From this we designed and planted a

garden in the school and looked after it for the year” (Participant 8). Whether the hands-on

activities are “planting seeds and watching them grow over a period of time” (Participant 25) or

“making mousetrap cars and racing them in the school” (Participant 9), participants emphasized

that “science can be fun” (Participant 9) and remembered these as positive experiences. Hands-

on science education experiences can have lasting and personal effects on students. For example,

Participant 154 (9 years after primary school education) built and shaped a boat from a

rectangular block of wood to test its buoyancy, she wrote, “I still own the boat as it is special to

me and I was proud of my efforts”. It was claimed that hands-on experiences needed to be

purposeful with links to scientific knowledge. Yet, some adults in this study remembered certain

hands-on activities but Hudson’s guide for teaching primary science did not understand the

relationship to scientific knowledge. For example, Participant 117 stated, “Volcano eruption was

fun but the teacher did not provide any scientific knowledge” and similarly:

We used light bulbs and made circuits and series. We experimented with switches for them. Not

sure of the effect on me – I guess it helped me learn about electricity, power sources. I remember

it today, so it must have been positive! (Participant 114)

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Scientific concepts that have little relationship to a designated experiment may be misleading.

For example, the exploding volcano using bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, and red dye may prove

to be visually effective but this chemical reaction may not provide accurate information on

volcanoes‟ eruptions. The scientific purpose of the experiment needed to be explained clearly.

2.5.5 Interactivity with life

These adults remembered science activities that had an element of interactivity with life, as

illustrated by the following three comments:

Life cycles of chickens - hatching and growing in an incubator in the school classroom. I was

fascinated to watch them grow. It was the most interesting bit of science that I could relate to.

(Participant 13)

The study of the tadpole changing into a frog. My teacher let us each have our own tadpole in a

jar, which we fed daily. We had to draw pictures of our tadpole every few days and note any

bodily transformations - I was amazed and excited and I felt like I had discovered this

phenomenon. (Participant 100)

In grade 4 we incubated chicken eggs and watched 4 chicks hatch. We raised the chicks taking

them out to play on the school oval every day. This experience was a prominent one for me, as

we learnt a lot about the lifecycle of chickens though real-life experiences. (Participant 116)

Real-life interactivity with fauna and/or flora provided stronger focuses for learning, as students

appeared genuinely interested in living things. Facilitating learning opportunities where students

discover for themselves unique characteristics of living things appeared as a high-impact

teaching strategy. This study showed that interactivity with living things can also facilitate life-

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changing experiences that lead to employment prospects or understandings for sustainable living.

For example, Participant 88 stated, “I remember studying the science of plants - I went on to

study agriculture/biology at high school and left at end of year 12 - continuing to get a trade

certificate on horticulture - nursery. I love plants” and “Growing plants in different

environments. I think this (plus the support of my parents) has had a lot to do with my ability to

grow vegies and flowers in the garden. It provided a starting point that I‟ve built throughout the

years” (Participant 97). In other cases, simple real-life experiments provided a greater

appreciation of living things and an avenue for developing recreational activities, “Growing a

seed in a cup with cotton balls and water. Its effect has been, I suppose, that I enjoy plants and

gardening” (Participant 103).

2.5.6 Purpose for learning is clearly articulated

Comments from several adults about their schooling on science education pointed to the need to

have clear reasons for learning science content. Five participants claimed that the purpose for

learning a science concept made the activity meaningful. On the other hand, Participant 86, who

could not state the purpose of a science lesson, reflected on her primary school science: Science

teaching strategies.

In an experiment when we dropped food dyes in milk then drizzled washing detergent into the

bowl the milk was in, to watch the coloured dyes swirl around. I am not sure what I learnt but I

will always remember that. I think it was in the topic of „changes‟ perhaps.

For some adults, practical experiences for learning about the weather and measurement

instruments (e.g., thermometer, rain gauge, and barometer) prompted positive and purposeful

responses, yet, when reasons were not clearly articulated for learning about the weather there

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was a distinct sense of “why do I need to do this?” (Participant 4), to illustrate, “Basically, I

remember the lifecycle of frogs because I really liked frogs at the time. I thought it was fun but

did not really think too much about it” (Participant 51) and “Teaching me about photosynthesis

in year 6, the teacher only drew a diagram but never really told us how it worked properly”

(Participant 96).

2.5.6 Excursions for developing science understandings

Many of these adults had strong memories of their science excursions while attending primary

schools. Visits to a planetarium, science centre, and museums provided “enjoyable and great

experiences” and showed “how fun (sic) science can be”. Participant 128 stated:

Going to the science museum was very exciting as we learnt a lot about science which motivated

me to want to study science. I now believe that hands-on experiences and field trips are an

integral part of kids‟ learning about science.

Thoughtfully-organised excursions can provide students with memorable science investigations.

There were several adults who remembered camping in bush lands to investigate flora and fauna.

There were others who remembered exploring the Earth and beyond. Participant 110 claimed he,

“started looking for and collecting fossils after an excursion to Shorn cliffe to study fossils and

sedimentation”. Another commented on a “space night” sleepover at school “where we got to

look through a telescope at a few planets and the moon and stars. It was the most exciting school

experience I have ever had”

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2.6 The concept of density

Density is regarded as the degree of compactness of a material or substance. If a body is very

compact, it has a higher density and when less compact, it has a lower density.

In a well-known but probably apocryphal tale, Archimedes was given the task of determining

whether King Hiero's goldsmith was embezzling gold during the manufacture of a golden wreath

dedicated to the gods and replacing it with another, cheaper alloy.[3] Archimedes knew that the

irregularly shaped wreath could be crushed into a cube whose volume could be calculated easily

and compared with the mass; but the king did not approve of this. Baffled, Archimedes is said to

have taken an immersion bath and observed from the rise of the water upon entering that he

could calculate the volume of the gold wreath through the displacement of the water. Upon this

discovery, he leapt from his bath and ran naked through the streets shouting, "Eureka! Eureka!"

(Εύρηκα! Greek "I have found it"). As a result, the term "eureka" entered common parlance and

is used today to indicate a moment of enlightenment.

The story first appeared in written form in Vitruvius' books of architecture, two centuries after it

supposedly took place. Some scholars have doubted the accuracy of this tale, saying among other

things that the method would have required precise measurements that would have been difficult

to make at the time.

From the equation for density (ρ = m / V), mass density has units of mass divided by volume. As

there are many units of mass and volume covering many different magnitudes there are a large

number of units for mass density in use. The SI unit of kilogram per cubic metre (kg/m3) and the

cgs unit of gram per cubic centimetre (g/cm3) are probably the most commonly used units for

density. (The cubic centimeter can be alternately called a millilitre or a cc.) 1,000 kg/m3 equals

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one g/cm3. In industry, other larger or smaller units of mass and or volume are often more

practical and US customary units may be used. See below for a list of some of the most common

units of density.

The density at all points of a homogeneous object equals its total mass divided by its total

volume. The mass is normally measured with a scale or balance; the volume may be measured

directly (from the geometry of the object) or by the displacement of a fluid. To determine the

density of a liquid or a gas, a hydrometer or dasymeter may be used, respectively. Similarly,

hydrostatic weighing uses the displacement of water due to a submerged object to determine the

density of the object.

If the body is not homogeneous, then its density varies between different regions of the object. In

that case the density around any given location is determined by calculating the density of a

small volume around that location. In the limit of an infinitesimal volume the density of an

inhomogeneous object at a point becomes: ρ(r) = dm/dV, where dV is an elementary volume at

position r.

2.7 Procedure for Calculating Density of an irregular object

(i) Find and record the mass, m, of the object.

(ii) Pour water into the measuring cylinder about a third of its depth

(iii) Record volume V1, of water in cylinder

(iv) Attach the object to a piece of thread

(v) Lower solid gently into liquid, avoiding splashing

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(vi) Record volume V2,of the water plus solid

(vii) Empty the contents of the cylinder

(viii) Repeat procedure (i) to (vii), using different values of V1

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CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.0 Introduction

This chapter outline research design, population instruments sample sampling, technique, pre-

intervention, intervention, post-intervention, imitations and analysis of data.

3.1 Research Design

Action research is used to carry out this study. The research used this design because of its

appropriateness to the problem identified as well as the merits it lass over other design.

The following are some of the strengths of the design: it helps the teacher to understand what

actually goes in the teaching and learning process, it is also important because it enhance

teacher’s professional status and improve their practices.

Action research does not only focus on generating new knowledge, but it also enables both the

participants to develop the appropriate intervention strategies aimed at finding solution to

problems in the teaching and learning situation.

Through action research, a teacher can evaluate his or her teaching effectiveness. Also action

research provides the teacher with opportunity to acquire a better understanding of all aspects of

their own practices.

This research however is not without weaknesses. However these weaknesses are applicable to

only the classroom situation and therefore may not be applicable to many fields of study.

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The design is only aimed at solving an immediate problem and not long term educational

challenge.

3.2 Population

Gumani Hassaniya JHS one has a total number of pupils of forty eight (48), thirty (30) pupils

were selected to represent the sample size, and thus, the whole class was taken. The class has

sixteen (16) boys and fourteen (14) girls. The technique for selection of sample size is simple

random sampling technique. The elements or individuals in the population have an equal chance

of being selected.

3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique

The pupils were selected using the simple random selected since the project affected the whole

class. Pieces of paper with “selected” and “not selected” inscriptions were put in a basket and

students were asked to come out and pick a paper. Each student had the opportunity to pick only

once.

The sampling method (simple sampling method) was employed because it gave each student an

equal chance of participation and this could only increase the validity and reliability of the

research work.

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3.4 Research Instruments

The instruments used in collecting data for the research work are the questionnaire, the test and

observation.

Test will be used for this study. Test is chosen because it can be used to determine the

effectiveness of the intervention activities. Test can be conducted within a short period. It can

also help to produce an objective judgment of pupils without any assumption.

Questionnaires are set formal questions formed and written down for the respondents to provide

answers to. The researcher employed questionnaires as one of the instrument for collecting the

data. Questionnaires were considered appropriate for both teachers and pupils. The

questionnaires sought to find out from the respondents (teachers and pupils alike), why pupils do

not have positive attitude toward integrated science. In the process of administering the

questionnaire, the researcher provided further classification when necessary.

The questionnaire also sought to find out the reaction of the pupils during lessons, when teaching

and learning materials are used and their process. The researcher designed appropriate questions

that were intended to find out from pupils why they have negative attitude towards integrated

science.

Observation is a method of data collection that employs the sense of vision as its main tool. In

addition to questionnaire and interviews that were used for collecting data, personal observation

by the researcher was also employed.

The researcher himself is a teacher in the school, therefore during science lessons, the researcher

critically noted pupil’s attitude towards integrated science lessons.

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Also, when other science teachers were teaching the researcher observed pupils behavior towards

the lesson. The observation was meant to see practically what teachers and pupils do during the

teaching and learning process. These in diverse ways helped the researcher to have firsthand

information on how teaching and learning with or without teaching and learning materials

stimulated pupils interest toward integrated science.

Finally, the researcher also observed pupils exercises and test items in primary six and other

classes to see how pupils performance in integrated science is. This assisted the researcher to

have a wider view of pupil’s attitude towards integrated science.

3.5 Data Collection Procedure

The technique and methods employed to solve a specific problem in an urgent situation. It is also

a step-by –step procedure constantly used by the researcher over a varying period of time and by

varieties of methods. For instance, the tragedy used by the researcher in this study is: the

researcher conducted test to collect data which involves pre-intervention, intervention and post-

intervention.

3.6 Pre-Intervention

After identifying the learning difficulties of pupils during the lessons, the researcher conducted a

pre-intervention test to determine the severity of the problem.

In the results of the pre-test, pupils could not explain the concept of density; they could not also

calculate the density of an irregular. Describing practical activities to determine the density of an

28
irregular object was also a big problem in the pre-test results. Appendix A shows the pre-test

questions.

3.7 Intervention

Having conducted the pre-test and realizing the pupils difficulty in understanding the concept

“density of an irregular object” the researcher decided to intervene by planning and

implementing the activity based technique as his method of addressing the problem. The

activities are as follows:

This activity reveals to pupils the concept “density of an irregular object” by in involving them in

activities (child centered).

3.7.1 Instruments Used to Determine Density of an Irregular object

o Measuring scale

o Beakers

o Water

o Measuring flask

 Irregular objects of known densities

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3.7.2 Finding Density for an Irregular Object

1. Use the balance to find the mass of the object. Record the value on the "Density Data Chart."

2. Pour water into a graduated cylinder up to an easily-read value, such as 50 milliliters and

record the number.

3. Drop the object into the cylinder and record the new value in millimeters.

4. The difference between the two numbers is the object's volume. Remember that 1 milliliter is

equal to 1 cubic centimeter. Record the volume on the data chart.

5. Compute the density of the object by dividing the mass value by the volume value. Record the

density on the data chart.

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3.8 Post-Intervention

After the researcher used appropriate teaching and learning materials through activity method,

the researcher conducted a test again, using the same questions in the pre-test. This was to

ascertain whether the use of improvised materials and activity method had improved upon the

pupils learning. See appendix B for the post-test questions.

3.9 Analysis of Data

Analysis of data will do taking the research questions into consideration: it is important to note

that all information on research the instruments will be presented using tables containing

frequencies and simple percentages.

3.10 Limitations

In carrying out this project work, the researcher came across some obstacles which posed some

challenges to the progress of the research work. Majority of the pupils in the class were new to

the equipments used in the study. The size of some equipment inconvenienced the teachers as he

had to always carry them to and from school any time he needed to use them. The school also

has no laboratory making it more difficult to carry out the practical work

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CHAPTER FOUR

DISCUSSION OF RESULTS OR FINDINGS

4.0 Introduction

This chapter presents the results or finding of the study.

4.1 Table one causes of pupils’ inability to understand the concept of determining the

density of an irregular object

Causes Number of responses Percentage (%)

Poor teaching methods 7 23.33

Inadequate teaching and 15 50.00

learning materials

Wrong perception of pupils 8 26.67

about science

Total 30 100

From the table above, about seven pupils responded that their inability to understand basic

science concepts was because their teachers used wrong methods to teach them. Fifteen students

were of the view that the problem was from the fact that there were inadequate teaching and

learning materials in the school for science teachers to use to make lessons more practicable.

Also, eight pupils identified that most students have the perception that science is difficult and is

32
reserved for the intelligent ones. From the table it can be concluded that most students were of

the view that the main cause of their inability to understand the concept of determining the

density of an irregular object was because they do not have enough teaching and learning

materials.

4.2 Table two: Methodologies that can be used to assist the pupils to overcome the problem

of understanding the concept “density of an irregular object”

Methodologies Responses Percentage

Experiments 19 63.33

Group work 6 20.00

Field trips 5 16.67

Totals 30 100.00

From table two, 19 students were of the view that the use of experiments could solve the problem

of pupils in understanding the concept of determining density of an irregular object. 6 pupils

were of the view working in group could help them understand better while 5 pupils were of the

view that embarking on trips to resource centres could also help in solving the plight of pupils in

understanding basic concepts in science.

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4.3 Table 3: Performance of pupil before the intervention process (pre-test)

Score/Marks No of Pupils Percentage (%)

0-4 20 66.67

5-7 8 26.67

8-10 2 6.66

Total 30 100

Table 3 reveals pupil performance in their inability to understand the concept of determining the

density of an irregular object before the intervention which gave an indication that performance

was very poor.

From table 3 above, about twenty of the pupils representing 66.67% of the pupils scored between

0 and 4 out of the total marks of ten in a test that was conducted before the intervention process.

It also revealed that about eight (8) of the pupils representing 26.67% were able to score between

5 and 7, while only two (2) pupils out of the total representing 6.66% were able to score more

than 7 marks. This implies that pupils’ performance in the teaching of the concept energy was

poor due to the problems stated above.

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4.4 Table 4: Performance of pupil before the intervention process (post-test)

Score/Marks No of Pupils Percentage (%)

0-4 3 10

5-7 9 30

8-10 18 60

Total 30 100

Taking a critical look at the marks as shown in table 3 above, it is clear that, there had been a

tremendous improvement in the performance of the pupils after the intervention stage of this

action research work.

Before the intervention process (pre-test), pupils who could score between 8 and 10 marks were

two (2) representing 6.66% in the test and the remaining ninety-six (93.4) percent scored less

than eight (8) marks. All the same, the average mark scored had not changed much after the

intervention.

However, on the whole, pupil’s performance in the lesson has been increased due to the use of

appropriate teaching aids and methods as well as reinforcement of pupils’ performance. That was

because 60% of the pupils were able to score above 8 marks in the post-test. This gave a sign to

the researcher that, pupil’s knowledge and interest in the concept has improved.

35
4.5 Outcomes of the Intervention

The intervention has helped improve the knowledge of pupils in the concept of determining the

density of an irregular object. Pupils have also seen the need to take active apart in the teaching

and learning of the density of an irregular object. The teachers of integrated science have also

seen the need to use appropriate teaching and learning materials and methods in teaching the

concept energy.

4.6 Research Findings

In order to ensure effective continuation of the study for the future generation, the researcher

interpreted and analyzed the results of the study for clarity. After employing and administering

the various research instruments, the researcher has come out with varied ideas on the topic.

Pupils attribute inadequate or the inappropriate use of teaching aids as the main cause of the

problem.

However, other factors also accounted for their poor performance. During and after the

intervention process, it was discovered that, pupils faced the problem of inadequate teaching and

learning materials and teachers not employing the best strategies such as demonstration and

activity method of teaching which are very useful in integrated science lessons.

Finally, it was later deduced that pupils’ knowledge in the subject had been improved after the

intervention process of this educational action research work as shown in the post-test scores.

36
CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

5.0 Introduction

This chapter focuses on discussion of results, conclusion and recommendation of the research

study.

5.1 Summary

This constitutes the overview of the researcher’s shortcomings or problems and the methodology

used in solving them. The problem under study was “density of an irregular” with specific

reference to pupils in Gumani Hassaniya Junior High school. The survey that was conducted on

a sample size of school revealed the following problems as being responsible for the lack of

positive attitude on the part of the pupils towards integrated science, among them include lack of

qualified science teachers, teaching in abstract, lack of integrated science materials for teaching

and learning, lack of literates in the home to influence pupils learning of the subject and lastly

lack of motivation.

The survey also brought to light some methods may be employed to help pupils develop positive

attitude towards integrated science. This include the use of teaching and learning materials such

as visual aids, motivation, activity based teaching and the use of varied teaching methods or

techniques to suit different topics or lessons and finally, qualified teachers should be made to

handle the subject.

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Dr. Paul Kasambira (1993) views teaching methods as a measure by which a teacher attempt to

impact the desire learning experiences by the use of skill. To him for a teacher to teach

effectively there is the need for him or her to employ various methods. Of course, methods that

is learner-centered.

5.2 Conclusion

From the results and discussions carried out so far, the following conclusions have been drawn:

1. Pupils will be able to understand concepts clearly if it is related to their previous

knowledge.

2. Teachers should involve pupils in activities by using effective teaching and learning

materials during lessons.

3. Children are happy and learn effectively only when they interact with teaching and

learning materials. When teaching and learning materials are used, it helps to arouse and

sustain pupils’ interest.

4. The first thing the child learns is what is being introduced to him at the early years. The

survey revealed that parents do not introduce science oriented materials to pupils at their

early ages also, the survey revealed that teachers do not encourage develop interest in the

discipline during their early development stage.

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5.3 Recommendations

The following recommendations were put forth in the light of the findings and the conclusion of

the study. To promote reading skills and eliminate the threat of reading disabilities among pupils,

the following recommendations are made:

Teachers must acknowledge the importance of reading skills and must plan an effective

programme of reading instruction with a focus on promoting reading culture among pupils in

their schools.

School authorities should introduce informal education on readiness for reading. Non-structured

reading instruction should be introduced and the child's ability to respond to the reading

materials be observed.

Parents should provide a stimulating reading environment for their children and wards. They

should encourage their children to read at home. Books should be provided for them to improve

their reading. They should also encourage their children to watch children's educational

television. This will go a long way in improving their phonetic and vocabulary development.

They should cultivate the habit of using their leisure to read for pleasure.

Government at the federal, state, and local levels should provide appropriate materials for

teaching reading skills. Libraries should be provided for our primary schools, since the absence

of libraries is a factor in the deficiency in reading skills. There is a need to resuscitate the mobile

Teaching and learning materials arouse pupil’s interest in lessons and aids understanding.

Therefore, the Ghana education service and other stakeholders should always organize in-service

39
training to educate teachers on the need for improvisation and effective use of teaching aids in

their lessons.

Also, teachers should use the activity method in teaching because; it makes pupils to understand

concepts practically or in reality. The researcher therefore is of the view that if the suggestions

and recommendations are followed, it will go a long way to solve the problems of pupil’s

inability to understand the concepts “density of an irregular object”

Considering the problems that have been identified from the survey and the methods that exist or

that are available, the following suggestions are made to address the problems and to help to

raise pupil’s interest in integrated science.

All science teachers should employ child centered method of teaching in order to attract pupils’

attention in their lessons.

Effective use f teaching and learning materials should be adopted. The teacher should vary his

or her teaching methods.

Ghana Education Service (GES) should organise in-service training programme to update the

skills of teachers to enable them teach the subject effectively.

Curriculum planner should also supply curriculum materials such as textbooks to schools on

time.

40
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