Effect of cartoons on pupils’ interest and achievement in environmental education in basic science and technology.

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This study investigated the effect of cartoons on pupils’ interest and achievement in environmental education (EE) in Basic Science and Technology. The specific purposes of the study are to determine the mean achievement scores of primary school pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons; find out the mean interest scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by cartoon method; determine the effect of gender on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons. Find out the effect of location on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons; determine the mean interest scores of rural and urban pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons; determine the mean interest scores of male and female pupils taught EE by conventional method and by use of cartoons; The design of the study was quasi experimental non-randomized pretest-posttest control group. The sample consisted of one hundred and fifty seven (157) primary three (3) pupils in four public primary schools in Enugu South Local Education Authority in Enugu Education Zone.

The instruments used for the study were a researcher developed achievement test, Environmental Education Achievement Test (EEAT) and interest scale, Basic Science Interest Scale (BSIS) which were validated by five (5) experts. The reliability method used for determining the reliability was Kudrar Richardson (K-R21) formular. Mean, standard deviation and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used for data analysis. Major findings of the study showed that using cartoons as instructional materials greatly enhanced achievement and interest in environmental education. Those pupils exposed to the use of cartoons performed significantly better than those exposed to conventional method of teaching. Gender and location had no significant effect on the mean scores of primary three pupils exposed to cartoons.

Urban pupils performed better than rural pupils. Urban and rural pupils taught with cartoons showed more interest than pupils taught with the conventional method. Based on the findings, conclusions were drawn and the educational implications were extensively discussed. Major recommendations from the study were that Federal and State Ministries of Education should make available quality cartoon books to primary schools both in the rural and urban areas, and teachers should be encouraged to adopt and use them, since the use of cartoons has been proven to enhance interest and achievement in environmental education.

Background of the Study
Basic Science and Technology is one of the core subjects in the primary
education curriculmu as enshrined in the National Policy on Education (Federal
Republic of Nigeria, 2004). McGraw-Hills (2005) has it that science is the knowledge about the structure and behaviour of natural and physical world, based on facts that one can prove, for example by experiments. Science and technology can be said to be a system of organising the knowledge about particular subject, especially one concerned with aspects of human behaviour and society.

The term science can be used to refer to a product (body of knowledge), a
process (a way of acquiring new knowledge through observation, questioning and experimentation), and an enterprise (an institutioanl pursuit of knowledge of the natural world/environment (Egbuna, 2010). The current development of science and technology has greatly affected the lives of every human being that no one can fane ignorance of their significance.

Basic Science and Technology as defined by Asun, Bajah, Ndu, Oguntonade
and Youdeowei (2010) is the foundation knowledge given to primary school pupils to help them learn and understand science and acquire basic scientific training to become creative and capable of innovative thinking. It is an activity-oriented course which follows strick thematic approach whose aim is to make learning science effective through a series of activities and exercises, as well as a modern approach of discovery methods.

The overall objectives of Basic Science and Technology curriculum under the Universal Basic Education Programme are to:
i) develop interest in science and technology;
ii) acquire basic knowledge and skills in science and technology;
iii) apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet
societal need;
iv) take advantage of the numerous career opportunities offered by science and
technology; and

v) become further prepared for further studies in science and technology. The interaction of about 150 million Nigerians with their environment creates indelible marks on the landscape.

The Vision 2010 Committee of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1997) and Omoogun (2004), catalogued Nigeria’s environmental problems to include soil erosion (sheet, gully, coastal), flooding (coastal, river, urban), over population in cities and urban centres, drought and desertification in the northern parts and deforestation in the southern parts of Nigeria, municipal solid waste and loss of biodiversity,climate change and global warming, urbanization, diseases, all types of pollution and poor sanitation as problems confronting Nigeria and other developing countries.

Pollution is the introduction of substances that contaminate the environment and are dangerous to the health of human beings and other living organisms (Onoh, 2007). Corvalan (2005) reported that the world’s biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate requiring important efforts and new decisions on conservation.

According to the McGraw-Hills (2005: 828), the term environment is “the sum
of all external factors, both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) to which an
organism is exposed to.” Here, the biotic factors include influences by members of the same and other species on the development and survival of the individual. It is important to note that for each environmental factor, an organism has a tolerance, in which it is able to survive. For this reason, different individuals or species have different tolerance ranges for particular environmental factors. This variation represents the adaptation of the individual to its environment. In general, the environment provides all support systems, in the air, on water and on land, as well as the materials for fulfilling all developmental aspirations.

These impacts on the environment occur as the people attempt to satisfy their
seemingly endless desires for food, shelter, recreation, infrastructural facilities and to generally subdue the physical environment in order to achieve economic growth.

The quest is based on their mentality supported by two assumptions. Firstly, the earth has an unlimited supply of resources for human use for full exploitation to advance human civilization. People employ advanced and sophisticated technology for the intensification of the exploitation of resources within the environment and to subdue the earth. According to Emeh (1997), there is a gradual but painful realization of the falsehood of this assumption evidenced from the myriads of environmental problems.

The second assumption is that humans see themselves as separate from the
environment, rather than being a part of it. This anthropocentric view of humans has led to a seeming biological terrorism, an attempt to overcoming nature to fulfill their needs with little regard for the consequences (Asoegwu, 2009).

Although, these wants and desires contribute to the development of the
country, which everybody clamours after, the unwise use of the land and its resources produce negative impacts on the environment, thereby leaving the biophysical environment degraded, sometimes permanently. All these negative impacts amount to unsustainable development (Omofonwan and Osa-Ado, 2008), since development is sustainable if it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission, 1987). Concerted efforts are being made by national and international communities to save the environment, yet the rate of degradation is moving at an alarming rate.

For instance, the United Nations (UN) Earth Summit in 1992, the 1994 UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and the 2003 UN Decade for Sustainable Development are all efforts to save the environment. The UN Millenuium Development Goal 7 seeks to ensure environmental sustainability in member countries. Sustainability means improving the quality of human life, while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems (Urbanito, 1994).UNESCO Tblisi Declaration (1978: 3) defined environmental education as
“the learning process that increases people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges, develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, and fosters attitudes, motivations, and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible actions”.

Environmental education helps to create awareness, and will be particularly useful in teaching pupils in the primary school, who are future generations and tomorrow’s leaders, to correct the existing anomaly in the environment and mobilize action by the general public. For this study, EE is the learning process that teaches children the skills, attitudes, and expertise of environmental cleanliness, wise use of natural resources and active participation in environmental improvement and protection.

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