Effect Of Discovery Method In Teaching And Learning Mathematics

Mathematics Education Project Material

Effect Of Discovery Method In Teaching And Learning Mathematics


The study examined the effect of discovery method in teaching and learning mathematics in secondary school students in Lagos State: Implication for counselling. A total of 100 (one hundred) sampled students were selected and used for this study. A total of 2 null hypotheses were formulated and tested using the Pearson product moment correlation and the independent t-test tools at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the data analysis, results obtained include the following:

  1. There is a significant relationship between discovery learning method and students’ academic performance in school.
  2. There is a significant relationship between the academic performance of students taught by discovery learning method and those taught by other method of teaching in school.
  3. Finally, there is a significant gender difference in the academic performance of students due to the application of discovery learning method in schools.

Table of Content

  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
  • 4.5 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

In this era of technological quest and high attainment in modernization, no nation can afford to allow her teaming population to shy away from mathematically related sciences, Obiefuna (2005). This is because technological development is hinged on strong mathematics foundation. It is therefore no longer conventional fact that mathematics and mathematical sciences are indispensable. The issue at hand is which method can change the attitude of the learners and attract their interest towards mathematics and mathematical sciences.

Mathematical sciences in this context are those school subjects like Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. At the tertiary institutions of learning, all science courses that usually involve mathematical calculations are included under the topic mathematical sciences. According to Okunade (2000) one may ask the question why mathematics should be taught in schools. Mathematics as a discipline has many advantages for human beings some of which are:-

  • Utilitarian: In almost all human activities, both in academic pursuits or professional training and practice, mathematics is an effective tool for realizing results. Onogu (2002), said it is engineering language through which insights are presented to analyze and synthesize engineering problems. This made the subject to be taught from lowest to the highest levels of knowledge that the child‟s ability can allow.
  • Social Activities: Mathematics is used in the area of social activities like birth/ death control, census, marketing, and a host of others.
  • Cultural Activities: Human beings right from inception express their cultural heritage by means of figures and signs using mathematics. It could be said that its study originated from cultural activities, like Egyptian‟s irrigation plots, pyramids and a host of others.
  • Aesthetic: Ogbodu (2004), Observed that, Men derive pleasure and joy in beautiful mathematical designs found in their domain, the beautification also takes its origin from mathematics that are used in art, architecture and textiles.

As a result of its uses,Fatius (2000), said that, the world is becoming more mathematical, while Makarfi (2001), commented that the role mathematics played in social, economic, technological and industrial development of any nation cannot be over emphasized. In line with this, Olumase (2004), stressed on the need for strong mathematical foundation among the youth. Mathematics as explained by Audu (2005), is the queen of all sciences, because it is the tool for all disciplines since no scientific advancement (practical applications and approach) could be achieved without it. Kajuru (2005), emphasize on the impacts mathematics make on all aspects oflife. The usefulness is therefore extended to the field of physical sciences, technology, social and business sciences. Besides these numerous advantages, Nigerian Students seem to approach the subject with coldness and no sense of zeal Njku (2004).

Every nation has set goals for the education of her citizens. The national policy on education spells out government‟s ways of attaining those goals through education. One of the goals set for secondary education in Nigeria after leaving the school is to contribute to national development through technological manpower training. In demonstrating the resolve of government towards the provision of qualitative education at secondary schools level, the national policy of education stressed on the need for all teachers in secondary schools to undergo training in the methods and techniques deof teaching.

According to Bello (2001) with the advancement in the socio-economic and technological field, life of the individual is becoming more and more complex with a lot of problems, which the individuals and society have to face in the near future. Therefore, the role of the school becomes increasingly important in developing scientific attitudes in students so that they will be able to solve their problems independently and adjust well in the future complex society. The students need mathematics to develop the scientific thinking and aptitude, which is synonymous to mathematical thinking. Odeyemi (2005) asserts that, if thinking is a way of improving understanding and extending control over the environment, mathematical thinking uses particular means to do this. Therefore, the need to have good methods of teaching the operations processes and dynamics of mathematics cannot be over emphasized.

According to Ojoloye (2005) students are ill equipped from secondary schools to handle mathematics problems, because there are poorly taught. Ahmed (2002), said, therefore, it is important that mathematics educators should work closely with the secondary school teachers in finding better alternative methods of instruction and discuss what should be included in the mathematics programmes. Hence thepurpose of this study was to find out instructional method, which will suit students, especially those having mathematics aversion. He further stated that due to poor teaching methods and lack of qualified mathematics teachers and public prejudices against mathematics, students view mathematics with apprehension. Therefore the search for a better instructional method that should reduce such apprehension and aversion in students cannot be over emphasized.

According to Agosto (2000), the learning difficulties among students which one observes as a teacher of mathematics raises many other questions that one might seek an answer from theories and methods of teaching. For example, although reflection on our own experience should suggest to us that learning cannot be achieved in a hurry, Elaime, & Johnson, (2002), havethis to say, that some students appear to learn slowly, some make very rapid progress and few even make outstanding progress given the opportunity to learn at their rate rather than the class rate. Therefore, it is only possible to accelerate the learning of mathematics for the majority of students when one uses the appropriate instructional method for each type of students.Individual differences are very significant in many spheres of human activity. Some of us are barred from particular subject because of physical characteristics, like being too small, too heavy or having poor sight. Bolaji (1995), in discussing mathematicians drew attention to great differences in the kind of mathematical aptitude, which individuals have displayed. He further explained that, in the classroom, it might be that different learning environment and different styles are needed for different students. Therefore any acceptable theory or method, which enables us to understand individual differences among our students, would be very valuable.

As has been suggested by Agosto (2000), the learning environment might be an important factor in promoting and understanding mathematics. It might therefore be seen that the richer (encourage) the environment, the more efficient the learning. Hence, what constitutes a rich environment is a subject which is basically a creation of a human mind and in which the aim is to enable abstract arguments to take place through manipulation of symbols, appropriate learning techniques, learning materials and most of all understanding the needs of students within the rich environment.

The theory of meaningful learning proposed by Ausubel (1980) was a general theory and was not specific to mathematics alone. He states that meaningful learning is a process through which new knowledge is absorbed by connecting it to some existing relevant aspect of the individual‟s knowledge structure. Achuonye & Ajoku (2003), viewed it that if there are no relevant concepts already within the mind to which knowledge could be linked, the new knowledge would have to be learnt by rote and stored in an arbitrary and disconnected manner. Offoma (2003), said, if a new knowledge was assimilated within the existing knowledge structure as a related unit, and appropriate modification of prior knowledge took place, the result is meaningful learning. It is therefore not necessary for all, or perhaps even much knowledge to be acquired by process of discovery method. According to Akudolu (2002), Good expository knowledge teaching could ensure that new knowledge should be relevant to existing ideas, and this might not only be more economical (in terms of time) than discovery, it might be more effective in terms of length and breath of teaching. Therefore if one could really ascertain what the students already knew, who they were (with or without aversion), one would then know how and what to teach them.

Apart from the introduction of new contents and the proposal for better organization of mathematics curricula, the dominant themes of revisionists is emphasizing on understanding, students‟ involvement and discovery learning. McCain (2000). Inview this, Onukaogu (20002), said discovery approach is an important method for improving students‟ performance, then finding out the relationship between mathematics and this method and how it affects mathematics achievement becomes very important to kill down the assumption student may have toward mathematics.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem at hand for this study is revealed in a performance analysis of candidates in previous West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) carried out by Olarewaju and Alabi (2022). The analysis showed that out of the 1,572,396 candidates that sat for the examination, 786,016 candidates representing 49.98 % obtained credit and above in mathematics. The problem revealed by this analysis is the unimpressive number of candidates that failed to have a credit pass in English as a subject which is a prerequisite for employment, admission into higher institution or promotion in career occupation. It therefore becomes necessary to find out if guided discovery teaching method can have an increasing positive effect on academic achievement of male and female basic students in English studies.

Existing literature on this study revealed that Udo (2011) investigated on the effect of collaborative learning (a form of guided discovery method) and lecture method on student academic achievement in mathematics in Uyo Metropolis. Findings revealed that collaborative learning was more effective in facilitating students’ achievement in mathematics studies than lecture method. It was shown in the results that there was no significant difference between male and female students achievement in mathematics.

Ida (2017) conducted a quasi-experimental pre-test post-test control group design study to find out whether or not there was any significant difference in reading comprehension achievement between students who were taught by using guided discovery and those who were taught by using conventional method (lecture method) to the eleventh grade students of MAN Arahan, South Sumatra, Indonesia. The result of the study showed that there was significant difference between eleventh grade students of MAN Arahan in south Sumatra in Indonesia, who were taught by using guided discovery and those who were taught by conventional method.

Singaravelu (2012) carried out a study on the effectiveness of guided discovery teaching method in learning English Grammar for the learners at standard V from Bommanampalayam Middle School in India. The Findings of the study revealed that guided discovery teaching method was more effective than traditional methods in learning English Grammar for the students at standard V.

Adigun, Onihunwa, Irunokhai, Sada, and Adesina (2015) studied the relationship between student’s gender and academic achievement in computer science in New Bussa, Borgu local government of Niger state. In their results they observed that even though the male students had slightly better performance compared to the female students, it was not significant. Ekhasemomhe (2010) in a study explored the effect of guided discovery teaching on student’s achievement in final account in financial accounting in colleges of education in Edo State. The result revealed that guided discovery learning method was more effective in facilitating students’ academic achievement. There was no significant difference in the mean scores of male and female students who were taught using guided discovery learning. The female students benefitted more significantly than their male counterparts in achievement test using guided discovery teaching method.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of discovery method in teaching and learning mathematics. Specifically, the study aims;

  1. To find out if mathematics teachers of secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA know about the discovery method of teaching.
  2. To ascertain if mathematics teachers of secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA teach their students using the discovery method of teaching.
  3. To know the effectiveness of discovery method of teaching mathematics in secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA.
  4. To determine the relationship between discovery method of teaching mathematics and the performances of secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA.
  5. To ascertain the factors hindering the effectiveness of discovery method of teaching mathematics in secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA.

1.4 Research Question

The relevant research questions related to this study are:

  1. Do mathematics teachers of secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA know about the discovery method of teaching?
  2. Do mathematics teachers of secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA teach their students using the discovery method of teaching?
  3. What is the effectiveness of discovery method of teaching mathematics in secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA?
  4. What is the relationship between discovery method of teaching mathematics and the performances of secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA?
  5. What are the factors hindering the effectiveness of discovery method of teaching mathematics in secondary schools in Ikorodu LGA?

1.5 Hypothesis of the Study

The following research hypotheses were formulated and were tested at 0.05 level of significance:

  • Ho1: There is no significant difference in the mean scores of students, taught with discovery learning strategy and those taught with lecture method.
  • H02: There is no significant difference in the mean scores of male and female Mathematics students taught with discovery learning method.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The findings from this study would help teachers to know the effectiveness of discovery method of teaching. This study also educates some teachers who do not know about discovery method of teaching on the relevance of this method of teaching. The factors that hinders the effectiveness of discovery methods of teaching is also addressed in this study. The findings from this study can also act as template for other research work.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is restricted to the study on the discovery method in teaching and learning mathematics. Some selected secondary schools in Ikorodu Local government are used as a case study.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Academic Performance:

The outcome of students’ dealing with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by their teachers.


A personal feeling, thought and predisposition to behave or respond in some particular matter.

Expository Method:

An instructional method of teaching that deals with planning the lesson describes, informs and explains whatever is to be learned. (it is teacher’s centered).

Discovery Method:

An instructional method of teaching for teacher to acts as a guide to enable students gets useful information to what is to be discovered in a topic. It is student center.


An engine room (power or quality) that moves the students to go extra mile in a given task.


A branch of psychology which deal, with the measurement of mental traits capacity and processes.


Hold and retain the concepts taught or learnt in a course of study.

1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:


This chapter summarizes the findings on the effect of discovery method in teaching and learning mathematics in secondary school in Ikorodu LGA, Lagos State as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.

5.1 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the effect of discovery method in teaching and learning mathematics in secondary school in Ikorodu LGA, Lagos State as a case study. The study is was specifically set to determine whether there is a significant relationship between group learning strategies and students academic achievement, find out the extent group learning strategies are being adopted by mathematics teachers during teaching process, ascertain whether group learning strategies contributes to students academic engagement in mathematics and ascertain whether group learning strategies enhances students’ academic grades in mathematics.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are mathematics teachers and students of selected secondary school in Ikorodu LGA, Lagos State.

5.2 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.

The significance of discovery interaction in learning of Mathematics has been post rayed by the findings of this study. Emphasis has been laid on the poor performance of students in Mathematics. Mathematics being paramount in determining some course of studies, and considering its application in industries and many other professions, should be taught in such a way that students should achieve highly academically and acquire the necessary skill that will enable them to apply the acquired knowledge from education environment to society.

Also, findings of this study reveal that discovery interaction learning strategy makes more positive influence on students’ cognitive achievement than the conventional lecture based learning method. This implies that if every individual is provided with an equal opportunity and allow to participate actively in the classroom all the imposed barriers on Mathematics will no longer affect the academic achievements of students in Mathematics.

5.3 Recommendations

  1. Mathematics teachers should be encouraged to use discovery technique as an alternative and a supplement to lecture-based learning method.
  2. Textbook writers should shift emphasis from teachers’ activities to students’ activities that will promote the incorporation of discovery method in Mathematics textbooks.
  3. Curriculum planners should ensure the implementation of discovery teaching strategy which stimulate cognitive activities, promote higher academic achievement and knowledge retention.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does discovery learning method affect the students’ learning assessment in mathematics?

Based on these thoughts, discovery learning method will give a very big influence on the students’ learning assessment in mathematics. The results of the students’ mathematics learning taught by discovery learning method is different from results of the students’ mathematics learning taught by expository learning method.

What motivates students to learn math?

When your students are engaged, they become motivated to learn. A curiosity and motivation for math develops through this hands-on, discovery method of learning. It’s no longer just the learning of math facts.

How to make mathematics lessons more interactive and effective?

The teaching of mathematics lessons will be more interactive and effective if these simulations applied very well and in the correct ways in the classrooms. For what I read, I found that, the positive effects of discovery learning on student’s achievement happen if the simulations are attractive.

What is the difference between discovery learning and expository learning?

In the expository learning method that the lesson is directly transmitted by the teacher to the students by performing a demonstration that involves more of the teacher’s role, while the student’s discovery learning method is stimulated to express opinions, develop ideas through the role of the teacher as a mentor. 


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