Effects Of Simulation Games On Attitude And Performanc In Microorganisms Among Secondary School Students In Zaria Nigeria

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 This study was carried out to determine the “effects of Simulation game on Attitude and Performance in Biology among Secondary School Students, Zaria, Kaduna State Nigeria. The target population was all SS1 Biology students in Zaria Educational zone. Two Schools were sampledusing the stratified random sampling techniques. Intact Classes were used, where 153 subjects of 94 males and 59 females were sampled from the total population of 2,005. Three research questions and three null hypotheses guided the conduct of the study. The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. A pretest and posttest quasi experimental control design was used. The experimental group was taught microorganism using the simulation game strategy, while the control group was exposed to lecture method. Two validated instrumentsMicroorganisms Performance Test (MOPT) and Biology Attitude Questionnaire (BAQ)were used for both Pretest and Post-test.The reliability of the Instruments was calculated using Split-half method of Gutman. Based on the analysis of the Scores obtained from the Pilot testing of the Microorganisms Performance Test (MOPT), the reliability coefficient for the test was 0.82, while that of Biology Attitude Questionnaire (BAQ)was0.75. The two Instruments were used to collect data, which were analyzed using independent t-test, Two-Way Analysis of Variance and Kruskai Wallis. The findings revealed that (1). There was a significant difference in the mean scores of the experimental group when taught microorganisms using simulation game strategy compared to their counterparts in the control group when taught using lecture method. (ii) There was a significant difference between the attitude change of the students before and after exposure to simulation game strategy. (iii) There was no significant difference interms of gender academic performance of male and female students when taught using simulation game strategy and those taught using lecture method.Among the recommendations given, was that simulation game strategy should be encouraged for the teaching and learning of Biology at the secondary school level. Professional associations and educational researches, should organize seminars etc, to sensitize the need for adaptation of the simulation game strategy at the secondary school level.




1.1         Introduction

 The importance of science as a requirement for technological development cannot be over emphasized. Science is a way of solving problems. The study of science helps us to answer the how, what, where and why of our surroundings. According to Shaibu (2008), science is defined as human activity that leads to the production of a body of universal statements called laws, theories, or hypotheses which serve to explain the observable behavior of the universe or some aspects of the universe. Science is important in the development of a country. It is also the root of economic and technology development. Science helps to eliminate ignorance and superstition among the Populace. .Science and technology are conceived as the two sides of the same coin, technology itself is the result of scientific knowledge (Ochu, 2010). National development cannot take place without emphasis on science and technology.


According to Acquaye in Oboh (2012), today apart from raising man‟s standard of living, science has enabled developed nations to improve on their desire to match the fact of advancement made in industrialized countries in all facets of development. These include health, agriculture, Shelter, communication, transportation, environment and many more. Modern development is no longer possible outside, the frame work of science and technology, hence the need to teach science in schools is in line with this observation. Some states in Nigeria such as Oyo, Kano, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Kaduna have established special science schools in order to popularize science and make its teaching and learning more effective.


Science generally consists mainly of the three basic science subjects via, biology, chemistry, and physics. According to Obeda (1998) and Oboh (2012), Science has contributed to human civilization by providing.


·                     Information on the care of the human  body

 ·                     Breakthrough in medical science by the discovery of new drugs and invention of excellent diagnostic method;


·                     Means of prevention and cure of human diseases;

 ·                     Breakthrough in agricultural techniques and practices, development of improved varieties of crops, control of large number of diseases and pests of agricultural plants and animals.


·                     Breakthrough in field of engineering


·                     Improvement in man‟s environment and supply of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing as well as recreation, transportation, communication and a host of others. With the aid of science, new machines and processes have been developed, which not only help to improve the quality of living but also enable science itself to open new fields.


According to Usman (2010), Education in science is man‟s attempt of trying to understand the world he lives in for the primary purpose of survival and improvement of the quality of his life. Ukwungu (2004) observed that Science Education in Nigeria has continued to be ineffective in promoting the Socio-economic transformation of our nation. Nworgu (2001) also observed that contrary to the spirit of Science, the Science teachers still teach without the necessary activities needed for proper understanding of the concepts. It becomes necessary therefore, for the teacher to know how Science can be presented through the use of appropriate method of teaching.

  Biology is the study of life. It is the science that studies living things and it is therefore very vital to man (Fatubarin, 2003). Biology like any other science subject, uses the scientific method usually characterized by accurate observation, careful analysis and faithful recording among others. The teaching and learning of science by effective use of scientific methods in solving problem, enable the students to develop scientific skills and attitudes.


The Federal Ministry of Education of Nigeria in the revised National Policy on Education (FRN, 2013), stressed the need for the teaching and learning of Science Subjects in Secondary Schools. Biology, English Language and Mathematics are made compulsory as basic Subjects that all Students must offer. This has attracted large enrolment of Students in Biology, compared to other Science Subjects in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, as was stated by Timothy (2013). As a result of this a large number of Students without interest in Biology, study and sit for the Biology examinations, which has led to Poor PerformanceinBiologyattheSeniorSecondarySchoollevel.ThisUnderperformance/Underachiev ement is evident in (Table 1.1), where Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) results of Schools in Kaduna State from 2008 to 2012 are outlined below. This Examination results released revealed that there were poor performance of students in Biology especially in 2011 only 41% of the 78,616 candidates that sat for the WASSCE. May/June passed the examinations. The remaining 57% Failed, of those that sat for the Examination.


Table 1.1:         Analysis of SSCE result of science subject in Kaduna state between 2008 - 2012




Total no of

No of

% passes







at credit

of P7 &




that sat


level and



















































































































Source: WAEC Office, Lagos (2014)


 The need and importance of biology as a subject cuts across all aspects of human life. Biology is one of the three Science Subjects in Nigerian Educational Curriculum. It is the study of living things and how they interact with one another, and their environments. For students to function proficiently in biology and effectively in the modern society, then attention has to be given to theSecondary School Biology education, which plays a prominent role in the future careers of students (Amoo& Rahman, 2004).


Academic Performance according to Njoku (2013) is the measure of what a Learner has comprehended over a period of time during the Teaching-Learning Process. Performance is the Sum total of the number of Tests given. Level of performance is attained after being examined on a number of given Tests. Such tests are given after series of instruction and training. This poor performance of students in Biology is of major concern to all and especially those on the mainstreams of science Education in Nigeria (James, 2000). Several factors that led to poor performance in Biology at Senior Secondary School have been researched by various authors, among them was Nwosu (2004) who studied biology students and found out that teaching strategy can also influence the performance of students, positively or negatively. Examination result released from 2008 to 2012 by WAEC revealed that there were poor performance of students especially in 2011 only 41% of the 78,616 candidates that sat for the WASCE May/June passed the examinations. The remaining 57% failed, of those that sat for the examination. (See Table 1.1).Isah (2011) observed that many science students experience difficulty in science courses due to lack of understanding of the method and process of science.

 Attitude is a way of feeling, thinking or behaving. Pearson (2003) reported that attitude is a way of feeling, thinking or behaving towards a particular thing. Once the attitude of a student is known, suitable instructional materials can be devised to meet the interest of the student. In this study therefore, attitude deals with the interest, aspiration and behavior exhibited by secondary school students towards the studying and learning of biology. Positive attitude is described as interest which influences choice of subject, particular activities or areas in a given subject area. Attitudes have both perceptual and affective components. A child may acquire certain attitudes about a particular subject through the parents, teachers and adults.

 Gender is another variable in this study. Gender is the state of being male or female (with reference to social or cultural differences). The role of gender in academic Performance has led a lot of Researchers to carry out studies on it. According to Ezeliora (2004), gender difference in science can be attributed to the fact that, from birth the girl child is exposed to avoid science. The societal set up did not give her the opportunity to experience the

environment which is the pre-requisite to learning of science; rather, she is kept in doors to do the house work, while her brother is left, to explore the environment. Several Studies have shown that one of the variables affecting learning in general and Science in particular is gender. According to Ishaya (2003), they stated that females are not only under-represented in science but their levels of achievement in Science and Technology is low compared to their male counterpart. Evidence

 Evidence of gender differences in science (Seeappendix ix, Table 4 item 1.3.3) Gender balance in Chief examiner‟s reports. From 2009-2013, percentages of females to male, are 62.8, 59.6, 57.8, 57.3 and 55.5 while for males they are 37.2, 40.4, 42.2, 42.7 and 44.5. That is to say, that females are enrolling in larger numbers in science than males. In 2011 females performed better than males with more ABC grades of 61.8% while male was 55.5% failure for females. For females, 3.0 and for males it was 4.7 (Chief Examiner‟s Report, 2011 Table 10). i.e. comparison of Achievement by lettered grade between female and male students.


It is therefore based on this, the study attempts to use the effects of Simulation game Strategy to investigate if Attitude and Performance in Biology among Senior Secondary Schools, has any gender difference.

 The desire to improve science through more effective instructional strategies and the increasing awareness in recent years of learner- centeredness has led to selecting other teaching methods like Simulation games strategy and Lecture Method for study on their effectiveness. Meaningful learning and teaching of scientific and technological development needed can be enhanced as stipulated in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2013). The objective of National Policy on Education will not be achieved as desired if appropriate methods are not employed in the teaching and learning of scientific concepts at various levels of Education.




Simulation games strategy is one of the activities – based strategies of teaching science. Simulation means to imitate something or someone. Ahmed (2009) defines simulation game as a way little children imitate the way elders behave and perform their responsibilities in actual life situations. The most powerful method of learning is through the learning by doing approach, also known as the experiential learning Novak (2000). Experiential learning increases Attitude, Performance and Retention, it motivates Students to learn and also encourage group cooperation.


 In this Study, the use of Microorganisms which is a branch in Biology, would probe the Knowledge of the learner and the level of their organization, and also to see why there are failures in this concept at the SSCE Level, See chief Examiner‟s Report (appendix Xi Table 3.1 Section c). At this point, it is therefore necessary to look into the attitudes of students as it affected their academic Performance.


 An acronym VIBAPROFA coined from Virus (VI), Bacteria (BA), protozoa (PRO), Fungi (F), and algae (A); was done for the purpose of this simulation game, and was operated using the cyclic model and simulation process (Chapter three). This was used for the treatment of the experimental group.




The acronym coined from Virus (VI), Bacteria (BA), Protozoa (PRO) Fungi (F), Algae (A) is defined below as follows:-




Virus (VI)


 Michael (2005) defines virus as microorganisms that are too tiny to be seen with an ordinary microscope except with the use of electron microscopes. They are the simplest and the smallest microorganism which do not have a cell structure. Some are rod-like in shape while others are spherical.


  Bacteria (BA)


 These are microorganisms that can be seen with light microscope. They occur in clusters and colonies. A bacterium has a shiny capsule, cell wall, a cell membrane dense cytoplasmic granules with no clear nucleus, but has a nuclear material called DNA (Deoxyribose Nuclear Acid which spreads throughout the cell, according to Michael (2005).


 Protozoa (PRO)


 Michael (2005) defines Protozoa as the Microorganisms that are microscopic and free-living unicellular animals, e.g Amoeba and Paramecium. Some are Parasites e.g Trypanosomes which cause Trypanosomiasis and Plasmodium which cause Malaria fever.




Fungi (F)


 According to Michael (2005). These are saprophytic or parasitic non green plants. The saprophytic fungi cause different types of diseases. Wikipedia (2005) has it that fungi or fungus is any member of a large group of Eukarotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as Yeasts and Moulds as well as most Mushrooms




Algae (A).


 Algae are microscopic green plants with the majority mainly found in aquatic environment e.g. diatoms, spirogyra, volvox, chlamydomonas etc.Michael (2005).According to Wikipedia (2014) there is no generally accepted definition of algae. One definition is that algae “have chlorophyll as their primary photosynthetic pigment and lack a sterile covering of cells around their reproductive cells.


 The above acronym was used for the treatment of the Experimental group. Gender is under-represented and also has under achievement of girls in Science and Science related Courses (Lawal 2009).According to Nnachi (2002), Positive Attitude of Student towards Science affect their academic achievement.Olorukooba(2001) reported that Students taught using Cooperative learning Strategy had positive attitude to the educational benefits derived


from group work. It is based on this that this Study attempts to investigate if attitude and performance in Microorganism is gender difference when the Students are taught using Simulation games strategy.




1.1.1     Theoretical Framework


 The theoretical framework for this study is based on a Constructivist approach. It is an approach that acknowledges a learner‟s prior experiences, promotes challenging situations and impromptu tangents and supports learning that is imaginative and creative Kalm (1999) in Abdullahi (2013). Constructivist view of learning as a process of transformation verses a replacement or mere stacking of one‟s former knowledge. Bruner (1962)‟s theoretical framework, is based on the theme that learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon existing knowledge. Learning is an active process. Facets of the process include selection and transformation of information, decision making, generating hypotheses, making meaning from information and experiences. Bruner‟s theories emphasize the significance of categorization in learning –“ to perceive is to categorize, to conceptualize is to categorize, to learn is to form categories, to make decisions is to categorize” according to the author interpreting information and experiences by simulative and differences is a key concept. Enlisted below are Bruner‟s tenets of constructivism for course design:Student come with a world view, their world view acts as a filter to all their experiences and incoming observations, changing a world view takes work, Students learn by doing, when all participants have a voice, construction of new ideas is promoted. Constructivism works best when the learner prepares something for others to see or hear, Sunny (2009) when the learner prepares visuals such as text, graphics, websites, or activities in which another can participant, or endeavors to explain materials to other students, or works in a group context, where learning is especially powerful. In addition to what is stated about learner-centeredness is the discovery learning, which is a method of Inquiry-based Constructivist Learning.


 Theory discovery learning believes that it is best for learners to discover facts and relationships for themselves. According to Bruner (1962), Models that are based upon discovery learning include: Guided discovery, Problem-based learning, Simulation-based learning, Case-based learning, Incidental learning, among others. We can learn by reading, listening and having experiences. The best way for most people to learn is often a combination of all the learning Processes, but with a strong active component. The use of Simulation Game strategy is hinged on this Inquiry-based Constructivist Learning Theory, which is a kind of „trial and error‟ as a primary source of knowledge acquisition. This study therefore seeks to investigate the effects of simulation games strategy on the attitude and performance on Biology among senior secondary school students.


 1.2         Statement of the Problem


 Despite the emphasis on theneed to teach biology meaningfully, to equip learners with skills and knowledge relevant for national development, the Academic Performance of students at senior secondary school level is still below expectation as reflected in the Senior Secondary Examination (SSCE) Results(Table 1.1). This poor performance of students in Biology, is of major concern to all and especially those on the mainstreams of science education in Nigeria (James, 2000). Several factors that led to poor Performance in Biology at Senior Secondary School have been observed by various authors, among them was Usman (2002), he observed that lack of improvised materials for practical activities and field work contributed to inadequate preparation and poor performance of students in biology. Teaching strategy can also influence the performance of students positively or negatively such as that found in the study of students in Biology by Nwosu (2004). Examination result released in 2008 to 2012 by WAEC revealed that there were poor performance of students in Biologyespecially in 2011 only 41% of the 78,616 candidates that sat for the WASSCE. May/June passed the examinations. The remaining 57% Failed, of those that sat for the Examination.Isah (2011) observed that many science students experience difficulty in science courses due to lack of understanding of the method and process of science.



The traditional methods commonly used by teachers do not caters for the individual rates of learning.Adeneye&Adeleye (2011),stated that, Biology teachers need to identify methods that will be suitable for teaching, such methods must make room for individual differences in learning. Simulation game Strategyhas been found to enhance performance since it provides for working in small groups, encouraging participation by everyone and exchange of scientific ideas/concepts when students are given instructional materials to work with. This Study therefore, investigated whether Simulation game Strategy would improve significantly or not, the Performance and attitude of students towards Biology at the Senior Secondary Level.


 1.3         Objectives of the Study


 The objectives of this study are outlined as follows to:


 1.                  determine the effect of Simulation Games Strategy on academic performance of students when taught Microorganism concepts.


 2.                  find out whether there is Change in the Attitude of Students to Biology when taught Microorganisms Concepts using Simulation Games Strategy.


 3.                  determine whether there is difference in mean Score of male and female Students when taught Microorganisms concepts using Simulation Games Strategy.


 1.4         Research Questions


 1.                  What is the mean difference between the academic performance of students in microorganism when taught using simulation games strategy and those taught using lecture method?


 2.                  What is the mean difference in the attitude change of students towards Biology, when taught using Simulation Game Strategy and Lecture Method?


 3.                  What is the difference between the Mean Scores of Male and Female Students when taught Microorganisms Concepts using Simulation Games Strategy and those taught using Lecture Method?



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