Effects of Using Improvised Weighing Balance in Solving Linear Equation Problems and Attitude of Student Towards Mathematics in Junior Secondary School in Niger State, Nigeria

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Effects of Using Improvised Weighing Balance in Solving Linear Equation Problems and Attitude of student towards Mathematics in Junior Secondary School in Niger state, Nigeria BY
Etsu Shabamaliki MUHAMMAD
Niger State College of Agriculture Mokwa, Nigeria

Abstract
The study sought to determine the effects of using improvised instructional material (weighing balance) in solving linear equation and attitude of students toward mathematics in Junior Secondary Schools in Niger State. The study adopted a pre-test, post-test control group quasi experimental design. Six out of 224 junior secondary schools in the state were sampled from the three educational zones of the state. Two hundred and ten students were used for the study. Linear Equation Performance Test (LEPT) and Student Mathematics Attitude Scale Test (SMAST) are used as instrument for the research. t-test, group mean, and percentage mean scores were used for data analyses. The findings established positive effects of using weighing balance in solving linear equation and students’ attitude towards mathematics. Finally, some recommendations such as Mathematics teachers especially those teaching in Junior Secondary Schools should link theories with practical, to enable the students get proper concepts of mathematics and be discourage rote learning and cramming of procedures of obtaining solutions without proper understanding and Government should sponsor teachers for workshop, seminars and further studies to make them be mathematics teachers who can think mathematically as well as develop improved skills and competencies for effective teaching of the subject and in-turn, be able to foster mathematics mindedness in the students.

Introduction
If learning is to gain knowledge by experience or being thought, then, the variables that will lead to the acquisition of such knowledge must be the ones that permit easy transfer of information from source to the receiver for better understanding (Etsu, 2004) Linear equation is an algebraic expression which involves the use of equality sign and has the highest power of variable (unknown) to be one (Chanon and Smith, 1981). Understanding the concept of linear equation facilitates the general understanding of the process of finding solution to virtually all mathematical problems. This is to the fact that almost all problems in mathematics are resolved to linear equation before reaching final solution. Understanding its concepts becomes very imperative not only to mathematics but also mathematical related disciplines that requires the services of mathematics. Mathematics embodies various branches which are needed and used in day-to-day human endeavours. The creative nature of mathematics makes it easily useable to other subjects including itself. For example, we can use mathematics to test if 12345 can be divided by 3 exactly. One aspect of mathematics is creativity and creativity is in line with the National Policy on Education through Mass Mobilization for Self-reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER, 1987) and Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES, 2000) in Niger state. In recent years mathematics education proficiency as a factor for success in secondary schools and later in vocational roles has become an important educational issue both in and outside Nigeria. Mathematics has been described as bedrock of sciences and mastering of it assures a sound scientific and technological development which has been emphasis of every developed and developing nation such as Nigeria. Any nation that neglects its importance will be doing so at the risk of becoming a scientifically backward nation in the world that is dominated by Science and Technology (Ale, 1997). It is the recognition of its importance towards Technological Development; it is being made one of the core subjects for 6.3.3.4 system of education in Nigeria. Mathematics is highly structured subject in which various concepts and techniques depend on each...
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