Background to the study 

 One of the aims of science education is to help students gain an understanding of as much of the established body of scientific knowledge as it is related to their needs, interests and capacities (Mankilik, 2011). This is in line with the general aim of teaching science as stipulated in policy on Nigeria’s education [Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), 2004].

Physics has been as the most utilized basic science subjects in most technology and technology-related professions. Hence the gigantic role that Physics plays in the socio-economic development of a nation must not be undermined. Boyo (2010) viewed Physics as a course of study which is perceived to be experimental and that almost all aspect of life science, both living and non-living has something to do with Physics, ranging from Engineering to Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry. The understanding  of practical Physics may help students to learn Physics concepts. Such is necessary as modern society requires some understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge in order to evaluate claims that may affect their everyday decisions (for example, about energy resources and environment) and to reach informed views on public policy  matters (for example, methods of generating electricity).

Practical knowledge, according to James (2000), refers to that knowledge that is connected with reality rather than ideas and theories. It is the knowledge acquired through the practical approach to carrying out scientific investigation and teaching. In the words of Mankilik (2011:4),

Practical approach means any teaching and learning activity which involves at some point the students (learners) in observing or manipulating real objects and materials.

The term practical is used in preference to laboratory work because location is not a salient feature in characterizing this kind of activity. This means that the observation and manipulation of objects could take place in a school laboratory (a specialized defined building equipment with apparatus) or in an out-ofschool (outdoor laboratory) setting, such as the learners home (boilingband freezing of water, switching on/off light, A.C, TV, Radio, using mirrors, laundry, making soap to bubble and foam, etc), mechanic, blacksmith, carpenters (workshops), industry, school farm/garden, the environment, etc when studying aspects of Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Health science, Basic science and so on.

It then means that learning of Physics is incomplete without the acquisition of practical Physics knowledge. Physics, according to Ndupu & Okeke (2007), is a practical subject and every scientific discovery has been made as a result of experimental investigation. If students are to understand the theoretical aspect of Physics taught in the classroom so as to translate them to real live situations, they must master the techniques of practical Physics.

Over the years, students of Physics in secondary schools have found it extremely difficult to perform well in the subject (Nelkon & Ogborn, 1998). The development of any nation, which depends on science and technology, hinges on science education. In Nigeria, in spite of the enormous role (importance) that Physics provides for national development and the efforts of government and other stakeholders in improving science education, Physics results in most certified examinations like the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have not been satisfactory. These have been attributed to many factors which include utilization of inappropriate teaching methods in schools, poor quality school science teachers, school location and students’ poor attitude and interest towards Physics.

It had been reported that a problem confronting Physics students in Nigeria is that some of the teachers are poorly qualified. Some of them are unfamiliar with the names and uses of some science equipment and facilities (Odili, 1990; Akpan, 2001).

Another problem confronting the learning of Physics in schools is the lack of equipment and facilities, and their inadequacy (in some case) which hinder the effectiveness of learning of Physics in schools (Jegede & Okebukola, 1995; Nwaokolo, 1998; Anikweze, 2000; Anele, 2001).

The attitude and interest of students towards Physics in schools have been known to be poor and a hindrance to the learning of Physics for a long time now ( Eze, 1996; Nwaokolo, 1998; Onyedineke, 2002).  Allocation of time to Physics in school lesson time-table is insufficient.

Activities to be undertaken, therefore, suffer. This constitutes an enormous problem to the learning of Physics in schools (Mistler-Dackson & Butler, 2000; Polman, 2000). Science teacher stress is another problem confronting the learning of Physics in schools. A stress results when the teacher’s experience is unpleasant, giving rise to tension, frustration, anger, anxiety and depression. Poor working conditions resulting from lack of resources for teaching have been identified as sources of stress in some

parts of the world (Akpan, 2001). This is not a unique case in the Nigerian context. Physics teachers in Nigeria find these poor working conditions stressful (Jegede and Okebukola, 1995). Such a teacher who is often subjected to stress especially within the work environment cannot perform optimally. Consequently, learning of Physics  concepts suffer.

The utilization of inefficient teaching strategies is another hindrance reportedly confronting the learning of Physics in schools (Adeyegbe, 1993, Griffin, 1994; Rennie & McClafferty, 1995). Recent time calls from almost all quarters of Nigeria for government to rescue the education sector from complete collapse attest to the already identified problems confronting the learning of Physics leading to the dwindling

standard of Physics education.

Another likely factor contributing to the poor achievement in Physics in schools is the poor acquisition of practical knowledge of most physics concepts in order to supplement the theoretical knowledge of the concepts. Acquisition of practical knowledge should enable the students to develop certain basic  manipulative skills and scientific attitudes for the simplification of Physics concepts. Digby (1989) opined that the teaching of practical Physics in many schools has not been adequately weighted.

Many students in secondary schools do practical Physics only towards the end of their studies. They, therefore, lack the necessary basic experimental techniques which can only be acquired through regular exercise from the beginning of the Senior Secondary School course. They are also incapable of applying measurements and graphical analysis to the solution of practical problems in Physics. Such students are deprived of the knowledge of the relationship between theory and practical, the result being the inability to interpret the numerical and graphical results in terms of theories underlying the experiments. This problem could also negatively affect learning. It was in the light of the aforementioned that the researcher delved into finding out the effects of practical Physics knowledge on student’s academic achievement in Physics as a secondary school subject  


     Practical work constitute an integral part of science, it involves various activities it has been discovered that physics is very expensive in nature. For example, the equipment (pulley, stop watch, pendulum bob e c t.) are fragile and easily be destroy during practical. Also the lens, the prism and expensive and despite that, most of them are dispose after every experiment student are exposed to hazards and some of them would tamper with harmful chemicals. There are also no store room to keep the bulky chemical and apparatus in school.

      In teaching practical physics, the strive to operate in an environment characterized by grossly in adequate instructional materials and poorly motivational factors. Specifically, this research is to find out the relative effect of practical activities on Student Educational Academic Achievement in physics in Secondary School of the important of integrity theory with practical work. To what extent does practical affects student performance and why student fail to show interest in learning physics.

Objectives of the study

    The main objectives of this research is to find out the effect of practical activities on academic achievement of student in physics.

The specific objective is

1.      To determine the effect  of Practical activities  on students academic performance in physics?

2.     To investigate the attitude of Physics   student and teacher towards the use of  laboratory in teaching and learning of Physics  

3.     To find out if  there are enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching of Physics practical  

4.     To find out the problem students and teacher facing in teaching Physics   practical

Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study

1.     What are the effect of Practical activities on students academic performance in physics?

2.     What is the attitude of students and teachers’ toward the use of laboratory practical in teaching of Physics  ?

3.     Is there enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching and learning of physics?

4.     What are the problem facing teaching and learning of Physics   practical in senior secondary school

Research hypothesis

Ho. Practical activities  does not have significant effect on students academic performance in Physics   

H1. Practical activities  have significant effect on students academic performance in Physics   





Significance of the Study

The study found out students’ involvement in meaningful practical work contributes to improved achievements in Physics. This information may be helpful to Physics teachers who embrace the practical approach in their teaching. Teachers training institutions may be in a position to change their training approaches and emphasize practical work. Curriculum developers will have to change their approach in designing the curriculum and incorporate more practical aspects in the curriculum.

The result may be useful to  WAEC and NECO and other examination bodies when setting Physics examination so that the examination can emphasize evaluation of science process skills rather than the product. The inspectors of schools may find the findings useful. They may need to change their approach to inspection so that they can inspect the practical and skill acquisition processes.






Scope  of the Study

 The study was undertaken in five slected   secondary schools in ------------ local government area of ------ state. 

Limitation Of The Study

        If there is any slight deviation from the extent situation to seek to highlight it must be due to the fact that most secondary school principal and teacher refuse to accept the deficiency of laboratory equipment in  their school for fear of low admission and recognition of the school by government agency.

      The research work was also limited by time and money as a student prepared to test and examination very soon there might not be time to visit all the secondary schools schedule for survey and there not be sufficient financial support to transport to all the appropriate area probably planned to visit the research work was also limited by the correction of appropriate teachers for instance where chemistry teachers was appointed to set up laboratory for physics practical forgetting that the apparatus use in the chemistry laboratory was not the same with that of physics. This can also limit the study of good performance of physics student in practical’s.






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