**Effects of Games Based Learning on Student Academics Performance in Mathematics in Private Junior Secondary School in Port Harcourt Metropolis**

**Abstract **

The topic of the study is effect of games based learning on student academic performance in mathematics in private junior secondary school in Porharcourt metropolis. The researcher formulated two research questions and two hypotheses that guided the study. Mathematics achievement test was used as instrument for data collection. The reliability of the instrument was 0.79 was establishish at using Richard Kuderson formula 20 and the instrument was validated by three research experts. The population of the study was 950 and a sample size of 280 was obtained using the Taro Yamane’s simplified formula in the four selected private secondary schools in portharcourt metropolis in Rivers state. The Data collected was analyzed using mean, standard deviation for the research questions and t-test for the hypotheses analysis. The study revealed that game based learning is an interactive form of learning that gives learners the opportunity to work in group competitively and at the same time learn mathematics in a fun filled way. Results also show that male students perform better than their female counterparts when exposed to game based learning approach. The following recommendation was made, teachers should be trained on ways of using game based learning approach in the classroom and Educational planners should implement it in the school curriculum among others.

**Introduction**

The value of mathematics to any developing country is not debatable in one form or the other because the supremacy of mathematics over every other subject is extolled by the national policy on Education (FRN, 2004), when it stated that mathematics should be made a core subject at the primary and secondary school levels as earlier mentioned. Among the present day application of mathematics are the building of models to eliminate or bound recessions and inflations, selecting portfolio of stocks, plan industrial capabilities, plan transportation networks, study the nature of competition and the effects of business rivalry, investigate economic growth.

Mathematics remains a service provider for all disciplines and its contributes immensely in deciding directions of activities such as economy, banking, market transactions, industrial functions, research, leadership, legal jurisprudence, engineering and others too many to mention ( Salman,2015; Odili, 2006; Umar &Aliyu, 2016, Ugwuanyi &Agwagah, 2014). The development of any nation is dependent on its improved mathematics education which establishes bases for technological advancement. Thus, science is the bedrock that provides the spring board for the growth of technology and mathematics is the gate to the science (Aguele & Usman, 2017). The pertinent virtue of mathematics in contributing to the development of mankind calls for its improved teaching and learning.

Despite its robustness and utilitarian value, mathematics remains one subject in the school curriculum where majority of learners have shown negative interest and attitude and achieved poorly in internal and external Examinations(Ezeugo & Agwagah, 2010; Unonyang, 2019; Iweka, Onwuka & Moseri, 2010; WAEC, 2010-2016). The falling standards in mathematics education have become so discussed and researched in recent times (Adetula, &Adeyanji, 2013). Indeed, the performance in mathematics has become so deplorable all over the country that there is a consensus of opinion about the poor state of secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics (Adebule, 2014; Adesemowo, 2015; Asikhia, 2012). The situation has degenerated to a level that calls for a close look at all the critical factors in teaching and learning of mathematics. Improving student attitudes is not an insignificantly frivolous achievement because negative attitudes about mathematics if not changed in schools, may reverberate to the next generation of students as some of the students who in our classes struggle with or even hate mathematics will soon be in the classroom teaching other school students mathematics and passing along the same attitudes. It is imperative, therefore, that these attitudes be changed now. Among such factors are improved instructional techniques such as the use of game based learning as against the conventional method which is widely used in schools today. Game based learning is a relatively young concept if compared to the traditional learning procedure and with the interesting novelty of engaging interactivity (Breuer & Bente, 2010).

Over the years, researchers have been mandated with the task of unveiling many of such improved techniques aimed at proffering solution to the problem of poor achievement in mathematics. Even though the problem still persists, there seems to be growing evidence ( Galadima & Okogbenin, 2012; Ukpebor & Omole, 2012) that the use of games in instruction can produce better achievement and generate more favuorable attitude in mathematics than the use of conventional method. There are many methods that are familiar; game based learning is one of such methods. Agwagah (2011) defines a game as “a situation in which two or more participants confront one another in pursuit of certain objectives. From this definition one may look at game as an activity involving two or more persons operating under some rules with the objective of winning or payoff. So a game must produce a winner and a loser. They stimulate mathematical thinking and also generate excitement and spirit of competition. It deals with the use of games in teaching and learning environment. It uses competitive exercises, either putting the students against each other or getting them to challenge themselves in other to motivate them to learn better. Today, we are confronted with the reality of the dearth of games in our schools (Agwagah, 2011) in addition to the fact that teachers have deficiency in the construction and use of games. The issue of updating teachers in the construction and use of game based learning of mathematics and their popularization in schools present a huge challenge to mathematics teachers. Plato (Gutek, 2005) maintained that knowledge occurs only in the mind of the person seeking it, and it is the teacher who should create the right environment for such learning. Since there is dearth of mathematical games in schools, in addition to the challenge posed to the teachers in the construction and use of games, one way of tackling this challenge is to start from the basics of identifying some mathematics concepts in some readily available games and how these concepts can be taught using such games. This attempt will open the eyes of the mathematics teachers to the reality of mathematics in games just as in other endeavors of humanity. However, since mathematics is practical in nature, it is pertinent to device games which will give a positive result to the study.

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**Statement of the problem**

** **Mathematics is the science of patterns and layouts. It is also a universal language written with symbols and shapes that involves information processing (editing, analyzing, interpreting and sharing), producing, predicting and solving problem (MEB 2009) but the rate at which students fail mathematics is alarming and has been a bone of contention in the Nigerian Educational system. Some of the reasons for this failure may be lack of interest from the students, unqualified and non-dedicated teachers in the subject, phobia of the subject by students and constant changing of mathematics teachers in schools. Since games are fun filled and enjoyable, the researcher picks some games to study and they include geoboard game and ludo or dice game among others. Will these games bring a turnaround in the academic performance of students in mathematics?

**Objective of the study**

The objectives of the study are;

- To determine the effects of game based learning on junior secondary private school students’ academic performance in mathematics.
- To find if there will be difference in male and female student’s academic performance in Mathematics when using game based learning.

**Research question **

- What is the difference in the mean of academic performance score of students taught mathematics with game based learning approach and those taught with conventional methods?
- What is the difference in the mean achievement score of male and female students taught mathematics with game based learning approach?

**Research hypotheses**

- There is no significant difference between mean of academic performance scores of student taught mathematics with game based learning approach and those taught with conventional method.
- There is no significant difference between the mean of academic performance score of male and female students taught mathematics with game based learning approach

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