Sunday Ng'andu, Goodwell Kaulu
Abstract: This study investigated how learners use science process skills (SPSs) to solve chemistry 5124 practical activities in selected secondary schools of Kitwe district, Zambia. The study was subsequently guided by the research question: how do learners use science process skills to solve chemistry 5124 practical activities, and an hypothesis: there is no significant difference between gender of learners and science process skills used to solve chemistry 5124 practical activities (null hypothesis). The skills which were considered include observing, measuring, classifying, predicting, interpreting, communicating, and inferring. The study used a mixed methods approach and a descriptive survey design to investigate the issues involved. The study sample consisted of 48 grade 12 learners randomly selected from four secondary schools. Data collection instruments included practical instructions called SPSAI and observation schedules. Qualitative data were analyzed through establishment of common themes while quantitative data were analyzed by descriptive (frequencies) and inferential (t-tests) statistics generated by statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Findings indicated that learners used observing, measuring and classifying at least at satisfactory levels, but failed to use interpreting, inferring, predicting and communicating in Chemistry practical activities at the least required level. It was further established that, there was no significant difference with regard to use of SPS according to gender of learners (t=-0.283, df=335 & p value=0.77>0.05). The study concluded that learners did not use most of the science process skills in chemistry 5124 practical activities at the required level, and gender had no significant impact on how learners used the SPSs. In view of the findings, the study recommend that teachers should emphasize more on acquisition and enhancement of developed science process skills among learners, the cognitive development level of learners should be considered when designing practical activities, and a longitudinal study to be done on Chemistry teachers in order to get in-depth understanding of the nature of chemistry practical activities teachers design and deliver to learners.
Keywords: Learner, Science process skills, Practical activity.