EFFECTIVENESS OF SCIENCE MODEL ON MANIPULATIVE SKILLS ACQUISITION BY NURSERY THREE CHILDREN
EFFECTIVENESS OF SCIENCE MODEL ON MANIPULATIVE SKILLS ACQUISITION BY NURSERY THREE CHILDREN
1.1 Background of the Study
A child’s ability to manipulate scientific apparatus is an important issue. In a study conducted in United Kingdom, it was discovered that students not only lack appropriate manipulative skills but also lack confidence in conducting practical work due to a lack of practice (Abrahams, Reiss & Sharpe, 2013). Reading about skills and concepts is not sufficient, thus students need to manipulate scientific apparatus in the laboratory (Hofstein & Mamlok, 2007; Lunetta et al., 2007). Consequently a lack of student exposure to hands-on activities at the primary level could lead to a deficiency in manipulative skills. Students will carry this problem to the secondary school level and possibly to higher levels of education, as Ferris and Aziz (2005) claim. In their research on students’ manipulative skills at tertiary level institutions, Ferris and Aziz (2005) found that students displayed a lack of skills during practical work, while even those who performed well in examination did not show competency in manipulative skills.
A wide variety of materials used in child care and early education programs fall into the category of “manipulative” including different types of building bricks and toys, collections of objects for sorting, small dolls and animals, and many other types of toys. Manipulative, sometimes referred to as table toys, are an important part of the early childhood curriculum because children can use them to practice a wide variety of skills. Some of the most common skills children learn by using manipulations which include: fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and visual discrimination, recognition of shapes, colors, and textures, comparison of similarities and differences, matching, classification, and pattern recognition
Following directions, sequences, and concentrating for completing tasks are chances to practice creativity and problem solving. During the early years of development, as children are in the process of refining fundamental movement skills, involvement in a series of coordinated and developmentally sound experiences provides a wealth of information on which to base perceptions of themselves and the world about them (Gallahue & Ozmun, 1998). Fundamental movement skills do not evolve automatically; they are related to age but are not determined by it. Mature motor patterns result from suitable educational intervention (Bouchard, McPherson, & Taylor, 1991; Gallahue, 1996). Therefore, the selection of appropriate learning experiences is one of the most crucial problems of physical education curriculum construction. The physical education teacher must constantly reflect on the extent to which the program contributes to the maximal development of each objective.
There is a general acceptance that the fundamental motor skills are refined and combined to form complex movement skills (Gallahue, 1996; Graham, 1987; O’Connor, Walkley, & Holland, 2000). The Victoria Department of Education (1996) suggests that, “most skills used in various sports and generally in physical activities are advanced forms of fundamental motor skills”. From a practical perspective, the acquisition of fundamental motor skills is of great importance for children because it increases self-confidence and leads to more active participation in specialized movement skills in sports during school years, as well as contributing to lifelong sport behavior (Lee, Carter, & Xiang, 1995; Rose, Larkin, & Berger, 1994). In contrast, children who do not develop fundamental motor skills sufficient to meet the requirements of games and sports tend to avoid motor challenges while at the same time exhibiting behavior problems such as low self-confidence, self-esteem, and social immaturity (Larkin & Hoare, 1991; Rose, 1994).
Over the last two decades, the development of fundamental motor skills in young children has become a priority issue in many countries. For example, in 1986, the Outcomes Committee of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education attempted to establish specific performance standards for children to achieve by completion of each grade in elementary schools (NASPE, 2004). The resultant content standards emphasized activities to develop locomotor, manipulative, and stability skills such as running, catching, etc.
The study of science and technology has been accepted as very relevant to the survival and progress of the human race. This claim is strongly supported by the place of science and technology in the education process. The educational systems of all nations include elements of science and technology at all levels. As bodies of knowledge, there are acceptable methods through which skills in them can be acquired. The Nigeria Government, through its policy on education, very well supports the teaching and learning of science and technology at the primary school level of education. Specifically, the provisions in the National Policy on Education (2013) for primary education spell out the goals as including:
1. Lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking
2. Give the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable him to function effectively in the society within the limits of his capacity.
3. Provide the child with basic tools for further educational advancement including preparation for trades and crafts at the locality.
In interpreting the goals that relate to scientific and technological undertaking, government has prescribed that the following subjects be included in the curriculum for primary education.
• Science usually interpreted as primary science, or integrated science , or general science, or simply as science;
• Mathematics which helps to develop reflective thinking;
• Physical and Health Education for development of a sound mind and body;
• Agriculture/Home Economics to be seen as an applied science that easily relates to the immediate society of the child;
• Cultural and Creative Arts which includes drawing and handicrafts among others, as preparing the child for trades and crafts of the locality. These two undertakings easily go by the name local crafts, which is interpreted as one of the foundations for technology at this level of education (Ivowi, 1995).
That no content area seems to support the improvement of fundamental motor skills among young children, especially when considering the trends reported above, is discouraging. The level of fundamental motor skills in most young Greek children has been reported as below average (Derri, Zissi, &Pachta, 2001; Evaggelinou&Pappa, 1996).
Though the development of all three categories of fundamental motor skills are equally important, manipulation skills are more complex to learn because they incorporate elements of both stability and locomotion. Therefore, they often develop later than skills from the other two categories. Gross motor manipulation involves an individual’s relationship to objects and is characterized by giving force to objects and receiving force from them. Such skills include throwing, catching, trapping, kicking, volleying, rolling, striking, and dribbling. Participation in many individual (e.g., tennis) or group (e.g., soccer, basketball) games requires prior development of the manipulative skills used in them (Rose, 1994).
All these science models and approaches have lit the researchers’ interest in assessing the effectiveness of these science models on the manipulative skills acquisition by Nursery three children in Pankshin Local Government of Plateau State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is clear that development of fundamental manipulative skills in nursery science requires specific content and teaching methods based on developmental needs derived from qualitative assessment (Burton & Miller, 1998; Gallahue, 1996). At the moment, it appears that the programme for science and technology at the nursery education level is not sufficiently articulated to encourage the acquisition of the related skills. This arises from a number of factors, which include absence of special programmes and projects in science and technology for nursery schools that have as target the use of selected media for skills acquisition; lack of sufficient personnel with relevant expertise in the teaching and learning of science and technology at the nursery education level; poor method of teaching science and technology at the nursery school, where undue emphasis appears to be placed on the cognitive domain to an almost exclusion of the other domains; inadequate practice of the curriculum provisions for science and technology at the nursery school, where a little science is done sparingly and almost nothing in the area of technology in Nigeria; absence of learner-friendly environment with particular reference to science and technology in many nursery schools.
For many years, educators have wondered why learners fail science woefully, this could be as a result of poor foundation of manipulative skills (Tobin, 2000). When a child has a solid foundation in science, he develops interest in science. This interest in science can be sharpen by exposing this little children to scientific models in order to acquire manipulative skills. There are certain skills in science that are a-must acquired such as mounting a microcope, viewing an object through microscope, interpreting what is seen through microscope, etc. When these skills are difficult, children can become easily frustrated and avoid activities involving manipulation, resulting in less refined skills due to a lack of practice. Children who are lacking in these skills often have poor self-esteem and confidence as a result.
It is in the light of the above that the researchers will venture into the effectiveness of science model (microscope) on the manipulative skills acquisition by nursery three children in selected nursery schools in Pankshin Central.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of science model on manipulative skills acquisition by Nursery three children in Pankshin central, Plateau state. The specific objectives are as follows;
• To assess the ability of children who were not exposed to science model (microscope) in manipulating the microscope.
• To determine the ability of children who were taught with science model (microscope) in manipulating the microscope.
• To determine the mean differences in the mean differences in the performance of children who were exposed to microscope and those who were not exposed to microscope.
• To proffer possible solutions accordingly.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study;
1. What is the ability of children who were not exposed to science model (microscope) in manipulating the microscope?
2. What is the ability of children who were taught with science model (microscope) in manipulating the microscope?
3. What is the mean differences in the performance of children who were exposed to microscope and those who were not exposed to microscope.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Ha: There is a significant mean difference in the manipulative skills of children in experimental and control groups.
Ha: There is no significant mean difference in the manipulative skills of children in experimental and control groups.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study cannot be overemphasized especially now that the society has become a global village and the importance of science is at the forefront of every nation that seeks to develop. Therefore, the study shall be of importance to teachers, curriculum planners, government, and the children who are the central purpose of this research.
To the teachers, they will see the importance of teaching children manipulative skills in science as this becomes a basis or foundation for their scientific knowledge. They will also see the scientific model (microscope) as a handy tool for the development of these manipulative skills in science.
The study will also be of importance to curriculum planners as it will serve as a suggestion to them to incorporate the science model (microscope) as an instructional aid in the teaching and learning of science at the nursery school level.
The government who serve as the purse string of education, will also find this study beneficial. Since science model (children microscope) is expensive, the government will see the importance of it in the academic achievement of nursery school children, therefore they will make provision of at least one microscope in every nursery school in the local government, state and the country at large.
Finally, the recommendations provided by researchers will help bring improvement to the overall development of the manipulative skill acquisition of nursery children and the science model that will help in achieving them.
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study covers the effectiveness of science model on manipulative skills acquisition by nursery three children. The study is limited to Panksin central of plateau state with particular attention to some selected nursery schools. However, despite the fact that the study is restricted to the selected local government, its findings can be generic or generalized to other parts of the state and country at large.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Science Models: Is a science activity which is aimed at making a particular part or feature of the world easier to understand, define, quantify, visualized or simulated by referencing it to existing knowledge.
Manipulative skills: In this work, manipulative skills refer to nursery 3 children’s ability to handle and use some equipment effectively.
Skill: skill is seen as the ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience. Skills are often gained through session or after practical.
Acquisition: an asset or object bought or obtained, typically by a library or museum
Skills acquisition: is the ability to learn or acquire skills through development of new skill, practice of a way of doing things usually gained through training or experience.
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