**EFFECTS OF USING MATHEMATICS LABORATORY IN TEACHING JSS III STUDENTS IN MATHEMATICS**

**CHAPTER ONE**

**INTRODUCTION**

**Background of Study**

Mathematics is the foundation of science and
technology and the functional role of mathematics to science and technology is
multifaceted and multifarious that no area of science, technology and business enterprise
escapes its application (Okereke, 2013). Ukeje (2010) described mathematics as
the mirror of civilization in all the centuries of painstaking calculation, and
the most basic discipline for any person who would be truly educated in any
science and in many other endeavours.

Mathematics is
the study of quantity, space, structure, and change.

Mathematicians seek out patterns

^{ }and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity.
Mathematics Laboratory is a place where students can
learn and explore mathematical concepts and verify mathematical facts and
theorems through a variety of activities using different materials. These
activities may be carried out by the teacher or the students to explore, to
learn, to stimulate interest and develop favourable attitude towards
mathematics. (Igbokwe 2014).

Despite the importance placed on mathematics,
researchers (Odili, 2014; Salau, 2015; Amazigo, 2010; Agwagah, 2011; Betiku,
2012; Obioma, 2015; Maduabum and Odili, 2013; Okereke, 2012) had observed that
students lack interest in the subject and perform poorly in it. Ukeje (2012)
observed that mathematics is one of the most poorly taught, widely hated and tough
understood subject in secondary school, students particularly girls run away
from the subject.

The West African Examination Council (WAEC) chief
examiners [2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016] consistently reported candidates’ lack
of skill in answering almost all the questions asked in general mathematics.
WAEC Chief Examiners [2013, 2015] further observed that candidates were weak in
Geometry of circles and 3- dimensional problems. According to their reports,
most candidates avoid questions on 3-dimensional problem, when they attempt
geometry questions; only few of the candidates showed a clear understanding of
the problem in their working.

WAEC [2014] also reported candidates’ weakness in
Algebraic expression and word problems among others. Obioma (2015), Obodo
(2014) and Okereke (2013) reported gender as a significant factor in
mathematics achievement and Onwioduokit and Akinbobola (2015) reported it as a
significant factor in physics achievement when physics students are taught with
advance organizers. However Okonkwo (2011) reported gender as non-significant
when students are taught with tangram puzzle game. Okereke (2013) attributed
students’ poor performance to factors such as the society view that mathematics
is difficult, shortage of qualified teachers, lack of mathematics laboratory
and lack of incentive.

The abstract nature of mathematics should be reduced
through demonstration and practical methods. Agwagah (2012) observed that the
problem of ineffective teaching can be tackled through planned and intelligent
application of the mathematics laboratory. Thus Agwagah recommended the use of
laboratory approach to the study of mathematics. The method of drill and verbal
recitation makes learning boring and lacks motivation for further learning.

Srinivasa (2014) had earlier recommended the use of
mathematics laboratory in teaching mathematics. According to Srinivasa, this
will lead the students to formation of concepts out of experiences with
discrete objects. In this case the vague theories and imaginary objects take
real shape and the students understand better and perform better. It is
important therefore to consider strategies that may help to improve the
performance, with the view of considering their effect on teaching and learning
of mathematics. Such strategies include the use of mathematics laboratory
(Ogunkunle, 2010).

Mathematics
laboratory is a place where students can learn and explore various mathematical
concepts and verify different mathematical facts and theories using varieties
of activities and material (Igbokwe, 2014). The use of mathematics laboratory
helps to integrate theory and practical work in mathematics teaching and learning.
Ohuche (2012) advocated the need for moderately equipped mathematics
laboratories. Ogunkunle (2010) itemized the advantages of using mathematics
laboratory which include;

1. Display mathematical information of Avenue for experimentation through
practical work

2. Pool
of storage of mathematical materials for easy access

3. Removing
abstractness and increasing effective teaching and learning.

Based on the advantages of mathematics laboratory,
it is expected that teaching and learning of mathematics with mathematics
laboratory may help to reduce the abstract nature of the subject and draw the
students to follow. Hence, this study
intends to investigate the impact of mathematics laboratory for effective
teaching and learning of mathematics in Junior Secondary School in Ikere-Ekiti
Local Government Area of Ekiti state.

**Statement of Problem**

Evidence of poor performance in mathematics by
secondary school students point to the fact that the most desired
technological, scientific and business application of mathematics cannot be
sustained. This makes it paramount to seek for a strategy for teaching
mathematics that aims at improving its understanding and performance by
students.

Evidence abound (Srinivasa, 2012; Ogunkunle, 2010),
that lack of mathematics laboratory and Mathematics teachers non-use of
laboratory technique in teaching
mathematics is one of the major
factors that contribute to poor
achievement in mathematics
by secondary school students. Therefore the study is designed to find
out the impact of mathematics laboratory for effective teaching and learning of
mathematics in Junior Secondary School in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Area of
Ekiti state.

**Purpose of the Study**

The purpose of this study is to investigate the
effects of using mathematics laboratory in teaching JSS III students in
mathematics. Specifically, the study sought the following;

1. The
difference in achievement of mathematics students taught with mathematics
laboratory and those taught with lecture method.

2. The
difference in the achievement of male and female mathematics students taught
with mathematics laboratory.

3. The
difference in the achievement of private and public mathematics students taught
with mathematics laboratory.

**4.**The difference in the achievement of single school and mixed school mathematics students taught with mathematics laboratory.

**Significance of the study**

The findings of the study will be useful to lecturers and tutors when training
mathematics teachers who are to teach mathematics topics when teaching using
mathematics laboratory as it will enable both teachers and students understand
the practical aspect of mathematics. It will also be beneficial to the policy
formulators in the Ministry of Education and Nigeria Institute of Curriculum
Development as it will help in constructing appropriate and standard
mathematics laboratory for Junior Secondary School (JSS) students.

The finding draws the attention of mathematics
laboratories that are available for use in teaching mathematics and provoke the
Nigeria Institute of Curriculum Development and other commercial publishers to
come up with good and standard infrastructures of mathematics laboratory to be
used in mathematics teaching and learning. The practical value of mathematics
will enable the students understand its concept while the theory of behind teaching
and learning of mathematics will enable the learners to logically understand some
abstract aspects of mathematics.

**Scope of the Study**

This study is limited to some randomly selected
Junior Secondary school Students in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti
State. This study will be conducted with Junior Secondary Class Three (JSS III)
Mathematics students in the Local Government Area.

**Research Questions**

The
following research questions were raised to guide the study:

1. What
is the difference in achievement of mathematics students taught with
mathematics laboratory and those taught with lecture method?

2. What
is the difference in the achievement of male and female mathematics students
taught with mathematics laboratory?

3. What
is the difference in the achievement of private and public mathematics students
taught with mathematics laboratory?

**4.**What is the difference in the achievement of single school and mixed school mathematics students taught with mathematics laboratory?

**Hypotheses**

The following hypotheses were formulated from the
stated research questions above and tested at 0.05 level of significance.

1. There
is no significant difference in achievement of mathematics students taught with
mathematics laboratory and those taught with lecture method

2. There
is no significant difference in the achievement of male and female mathematics
students taught with mathematics laboratory.

3. There
is no significant difference in the achievement of private and public
mathematics students taught with mathematics laboratory.

4.
There is no significant difference in
the achievement of single school and mixed school mathematics students taught
with mathematics laboratory.