Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The last quarter of 2009 was a difficult year for many who suffered in the worst flooding and landslide episodes that happened in many parts of the Philippines, coupled with the continuing effects of the economic downturn. However, it is inspiring to learn of some of the work being done by people, who bring creativity and innovation to the challenges they face.

UP NISMED can also be proud of the positive contribution it has made to raise the quality of science and mathematics education in the country. It has helped teachers through its professional development programs, innovative curriculum and instructional materials, and research outputs shared to varied education stakeholders. UP NISMED also conducted relief operations in a flooded area in Metro Manila.

We ourselves are confronted by array of difficulties and challenges, but UP NISMED will never cease to work for a better future for ourselves and for others. We will look ahead with a sense of anticipation and excitement towards the new things we want to do at the Institute, with our family, and the bigger community where we each belong.

With the many challenges ahead, 2010 is the new opportunity for us to work together to achieve practical solutions to problems. We need to reflect how many times we have started a new year without realizing the goals we had set before us or even taken the time to evaluate why those goals were not achieved. Now is the chance to set new goals and to make plans as to how we can meet those goals.

The UP NISMED connection and commitment especially in science and mathematics education, remain and will transcend political, religious, cultural, and economic circumstances.

I wish you all a peaceful and progressive 2010.

NISMED, in cooperation with the Bureau of Elementary Education of the Department of Education (DepED), organized and conducted a national seminar-workshop on the theme: Assessment for Learning (A4L) on October 28-30, 2009. Dubbed “Let Children Shine,” the 3-day event was attended by around 580 elementary school science and mathematics teachers and educators. The objectives of the seminar-workshop were the following: (1) Update teachers, administrators, educators, and researchers on innovative, creative, and productive assessment practices which sharpen children’s scientific and mathematical thinking skills and dispositions; (2) Enable participants to draw significant implications in improving the curriculum, teaching, and learning from findings in the classroom, district, division, regional, national, and international assessment tests; (3) Familiarize participants with assessment approaches that determine and promote scientific and mathematical literacy, and; (4) Create networking opportunities for various elementary school science and mathematics teacher organizations.

The seminar-workshop was opened by UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao and keynoted by Dr. Robin Groves of Curtin University, Australia. Dr. Milagros D. Ibe, Professor Emerita of the UP College of Education; Prof. Corazon S. Salumbides, a retired Fil-Am Chemistry and English teacher who is in the country under the Balik-Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); Dr. Marilyn U. Balagtas, a professor at the Philippine Normal University; the two deputy directors of NISMED, Dr. Marlene B. Ferido and Dr. Soledad A. Ulep, as well as the director Dr. Merle C. Tan, delivered plenary lectures.

Dr. Robin Groves of Curtin University. Australia delivers
the keynote address.

During the parallel sessions, speakers shared their research findings/experiences on pupil assessment. Parallel workshops for Science and Mathematics were conducted. The science participants were provided opportunities to construct and develop items intended to assess cognitive skills. On the other hand, the mathematics participants experienced answering assessment items and giving feedback on the answers provided by the pupils as well as sharing their ideas and experiences on how these items may be used to assess pupil learning. Two booklets on assessment, one for elementary school science and the other for elementary school mathematics, that provided models of assessment items and tasks in science and mathematics, were distributed to each participant during the parallel workshops.

The closing program on October 30, 2009 was graced by Dr. Yolanda Quijano, Director of the Bureau of Elementary Education of DepED, who issued the challenge to participants to improve pupils’ achievement through better assessment practices.

Due to the success of the national seminar-workshop, a similar international activity is being planned for secondary school science and mathematics in October 2010.

Eight science and seven mathematics teachers from the Lemery Special Science Elementary School came to NISMED on December 10-12, 2009 for Phase 2 of their training on science and mathematics teaching. The topics covered were those for the fourth and first quarters based on the Philippine Elementary Learning Competencies of the Basic Education Curriculum. The first phase of the training program was conducted on August 20-23, 2009 and covered topics for the second and third quarters. The training program, with assessment as its theme, was designed to: emphasize teaching through problem solving and science inquiry; address misconceptions; highlight connections of concepts, principles, and procedures in topics within the same grade level and across different grade levels; and engage participants in collaborative activities.

The science participants were divided into two groups: 5 attended the sessions for Grades 1-3, while 3 participants comprised the Grades 4-6 group. On the first day, NISMED Director Dr. Merle C. Tan discussed the topic Assessment for Learning. This was followed by the topics Sense Organs and Constellations for the lower grades and higher grades, respectively, through which assessment for learning practices were modeled and discussed by the ESS trainers. Topics on the 2nd and 3rd days were: Types of Soil, Proper Use of Water, and Investigating Mass for Grades 1-3 and Bones and Muscles, Reproduction, and Earthquakes and Volcanoes for Grades 4-6.

Science teachers learn how to use the platform balance and make accurate readings.

The mathematics participants likewise had a session on Assessment for Learning in the morning of the first day. In the afternoon, a discussion on computational estimation was conducted. Activities that require pupils to invent their own strategies of estimating were provided. In the discussions, mathematical reasoning, communication, connection, and representation were also emphasized. The second day was devoted to various topics on measurement. The activities in this session modeled how the relationships of linear, area, and volume/capacity measurement can be explored and how the lessons on these topics in the higher grades can be built upon those that are in the lower grades. The focus of discussion on the third day was on data and graphs. In this session, the commonly used graphs: pictographs, bar, line, and circle graphs were discussed. To make the learning of graphs more meaningful, the learners themselves generated the data by conducting a survey or performing an activity/experiment. Various situations were likewise presented that require the learners to make reasonable judgement and decisions based on the graph.

Mathematics participants perform an activity on estimation.

The participants had a stargazing activity on the first evening during which they viewed the moon, stars, constellations and the planet Jupiter. On the last day, the participants received a booklet on assessment tasks in their respective subject area. These booklets were developed by NISMED to provide models of assessment items and tasks in elementary science and mathematics. In addition, the science participants were given instructional materials and models while the mathematics participants received posters on tangram, division algorithm, and sum of the interior angles of a triangle. A copy of the book titled Addressing Misconceptions in Mathematics and Science, a joint publication of UP NISMED and DOST-SEI, was given to the school.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mr. Christopher Go, a local amateur astronomer from Cebu City and a member of the Astronomical League of the Philippines, delivered a public lecture titled Adventures of an Amateur Planetary Imager on November 20, 2009 at UP NISMED’s Science Teacher Training Center Auditorium. One hundred forty-one (141) school children and their teachers coming from Metro Manila public elementary and secondary schools attended the lecture.

Christopher Go stands next to the image of Jupiter.

Mr. Go related how, on February 27, 2006 (universal time), he made the biggest discovery of his life on the surface of the planet Jupiter: Oval BA. According to Go, the oval spot was white in November 2005, slowly turned brown in December 2005 and started to redden after several weeks. He immediately alerted the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), the first to do so. Oval BA, also known as Red Spot Jr. or Red Jr., is believed to have been born in 2000 when three smaller spots collided and merged. For this, as well as for his long-term contributions to planetary imaging and his exceptional studies, this Physics graduate of the University of San Carlos in Cebu, received the ALPO’s 2008 Walter Haas Award and a Presidential Medal of Merit from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Recently, he joined the Hubble Heritage Team to image Saturn using the Hubble Space Telescope. His enthusiasm and encouragement fired up the audience of young people who asked him countless questions and had their pictures taken with him.

NISMED catered to more than 400 science teachers of private schools for the seminar-workshop on Understanding by Design, a curriculum development framework which begins by identifying the enduring understandings and essential questions for a unit topic. It was titled Aligning Science and Technology Education Program with Understanding by Design and held at the Ateneo de Manila University Grade School on November 21, 2009 for the Association of Science Teachers and Educators of the Philippines (ASTEP).

NISMED Director Dr. Merle C. Tan and Deputy Director for Administration Dr. Marlene B. Ferido provided inputs regarding the backward design process while NISMED academic staff members gave concrete examples prior to the workshops. Dr. Marina E. Balce, Dr. Risa L. Reyes and Mr. Rolando M. Tan of the Elementary School Science Group; Ms. Evelyn L. Josue and Mr. Eligio C. Obille Jr. of the High School Earth/ Environmental Science Group; and Ms. Cerilina M. Maramag of the High School Physics Group conducted the workshops. The workshop ended with the presentation of the participants’ outputs and critiquing by the other participants.

Eighteen NISMED staff led by the director, Dr. Merle C. Tan, completed a two-day in-house seminar-workshop on Collaborative Content Development using Web 2.0 Tools on December 3 - 4,2009 at the Information Science Lab. The staff development focused on how to leverage Google Docs and wikis to enhance collaborative development work at NISMED. In addition to viewing samples of actual use in education and learning the essentials of Google Docs and wikis, the group had many opportunities to reflect on current practices in content development and on how incorporating Web 2.0 technologies in the processes and tools may improve efficiency and productivity.

In Google Docs, the NISMED staff practiced sharing and collaboratively edit documents and spreadsheets and as output, they identified specific collaborative curriculum projects and activities that can benefit from incorporating Google Docs. Initial ideas included: collaborative lesson planning with partner teachers, end-of-training report writing, on-going work in the science curriculum framework, committee work and report. Some were able to set up Google Docs versions of existing documents and sent out email invitations to collaborators.

Ms. Balbin explains the features of Google Docs.

The group was likewise introduced to the features and functionalities of iskWiki!— the UP’s community wiki ( As output, they created a wiki to support the Institute’s Assessment for Learning agenda. Dubbed “Assessment-and-Learning-in-SME”, the wiki can be accessed by anyone at, but currently accepts edits only from members.

Aside from the technology sessions, the seminar-workshop likewise included activities that foster collaboration such as the “Find someone who....” exercise and the “NISMED Postage Stamp” activity. In the stamp activity, participants paired up, designed, created, and showcased their original versions of a NISMED commemorative stamp.

Facilitated by Celia Balbin of the Information Science Group, a second run of the seminar-workshop is scheduled in January 2010.

NISMED celebrated its four and a half decades of existence on November 20, 2009 through a series of activities. The celebration started with a thanksgiving mass officiated by Fr. Anil Talakhutor, one of the guest priests of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice. It was followed by a public lecture attended by school children and their teachers from different public elementary and secondary schools in Metro Manila. The lecture titled Adventures of an Amateur Planetary Imager was delivered by Mr. Christopher Go.

Mr. Regino Lamorena receives his certificate of loyalty from
Deputy Director for Administration Dr. Marlene Ferido (left)
and NISMED Director Dr. Merle Tan (center)

In the afternoon, NISMED, led by its Director Dr. Merle C. Tan and Deputy Director for Administration Dr. Marlene B. Ferido, handed out certificates of loyalty to its academic and administrative staff who have served the Institute for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years. This year’s awardees were: Regino L. Lamorena, and Rodolfo V. Sangel Jr., 40 years; Felix G. Pio, 35 years; Honorio S. Saulog Jr. and Ma. Lourdes S. Agad, 25 years; Lydia M. Landrito, 20 years; Arlene P. dela Cruz, Ma. Helen dH. Catalan, Ma. Lourdes G. Espiritu, Edna G. Callanta, and Willie A. Dineros, 15 years.

A raffle and musical/fashion show livened up the awarding ceremonies.

NISMED's Parol

NISMED once again participated in the Paligsahan ng mga Parol 2009, one of the most anticipated events in the university, on December 18,2009. The parol entry of NISMED, which was designedand executed by selected NISMED staff, highlighteda model of a living organism that was represented bya big fish. It may be explained thus:


Sa natural na proseso ng water cycle makikita kung paanong nanatiling bago, malinis at patuloy ang supply ng tubig para sa buhay ng mundo. Nakapokus ang parol ng UP NISMED sa isda, na ginagamit ding simbolo ng pagka-Kristiyano, masayang gumagalaw at lumalangoy sa malinis at umaagos na tubig o kaya’y sa umiindak na mga alon sa ating karagatan.

Ang malaking isda at iba pang mga maliliit na parol na kumakatawan sa living organisms ay ginamitan ng mga recyclable “found” objects tulad ng basyong lata, boteng plastic, retasong tela, papel, lumang CD, atbp. Mga kalakal at scrap rubber ang ginamit sa pagpapakita ng paggalaw ng isda at tubig na ikinabit sa karitong detulak – karitong detulak, bilang pag-alaala sa mga kababayan nating naghihirap ngunit matiyaga at marangal na nabubuhay para sa kinabukasan.

NISMED staff march during the lantern parade.

Tubig-buhay/buhay na tubig ang ipinararating sa dahilang kung wala ito, wala ring Kapaskuhan, Kapaligiran at Kinabukasan. Mahigpit nating tutulan ang pagkasira ng tubig at kapaligiran – magtulong-tulong tayong mapangalagaan ang kapaligiran para sa kinabukasan sa dahilang sa pagkamatay ng mga isda at iba pang mga living organisms, tayo’y mawawala rin sa mundo.

Kasama ang ibang living organisms sa tubig, mangroves, at maging ang mga nasa lupa – na ipinapakita ng kulay berde naming kasuutan – isang makaKalikasan at mapayapang Kinabukasan ngayong Kapaskuhan ang bati sa inyong lahat!

NISMED Staff Attend Various International Conferences

4th Global Forum

NISMED Director Dr. Merle C. Tan participated in the 4th Global HR Forum 2009 under the theme “Creative Education for All.” The forum discussed education reform, government policy, evolution of the business sector, efforts of public sector, and international alliances to cultivate creative talent.

The forum was held on November 2-6, 2009 at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill, Seoul, Republic of Korea. The participants from East Asia and the Pacific Countries were allotted time to discuss issues that their country team would like to take up during the forum.

International Conference on Science and Mathematics Education

Three academic staff presented papers during the Third International Conference on Science and Mathematics Education held at RECSAM, Penang, Malaysia on November 10-12, 2009. Dr. Teresita R. MaƱalac and Dr. Aida I. Yap of the Elementary School Mathematics Group co-presented a paper titled Collaborative Lesson Research and Development for Teaching and Learning Mathematics while Ms. Jacqueline Rose M. Gutierrez of the High School Chemistry Group presented a paper titled Response Pattern Analysis on the Burning Candle Experiment: TIMSS-based Study.

The theme of the conference was Improving Science and Mathematics Literacy: Theory, Innovation, and Practice. The conference aimed to provide a forum to review issues, exchange ideas and share experiences especially on the development of scientific and mathematical literacy at all levels; review and recognise the integration of ICT to develop science and mathematics literacy; review and enhance continuous professional development as a means to sustain the development of science and mathematics literacy; encourage the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences of experts working on new strategies to sustain science and mathematics literacy reforms in teaching and assessment; strengthen professional networking among science and mathematics educators both locally and globally, and; maintain professional contacts to enhance cooperation among a consortium of international organizations and educational institutions to facilitate greater dissemination and exchange of expertise at an international level.

national Science Education Conference 2009

Dr. Merle C. Tan, UP NISMED Director, and Mr. Dennis L. Danipog of the High School Chemistry Group attended the International Science Education Conference (ISEC) 2009 as paper presenters held at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on November 24-26, 2009. Dr. Tan presented a paper titled Curriculum Reform Towards Scientific Literacy Enhancement while Mr. Danipog’s paper was on Art-based Chemistry Activities: Effect on Students’ Conceptual Understanding and Attitude.

The conference theme was Science Education: Shared Issues, Common Future which implies that the universality and centrality of science has the capacity to link t
he different cultures and countries of the world. Science education can enhance the process through emphasis on shared issues and a common future. Participation in the conference allowed more than 700 science educators, professors, researchers, curriculum developers, administrators and teachers in different parts of the world to share practices that work, to interact with their peers as well as to learn about the most current research movements in science education.

World Association of Lesson Studies International Conference 2009

Dr. Erlina R. Ronda of the High School Mathematics Group presented a paper titled Lesson Study for Teaching thru Problem Solving at the World Association of Lesson Studies International Conference 2009 held at the Hongkong Institute of Education last December 7-10, 2009. The theme of the conference was Collaborative Knowledge Creation through Lesson and Learning Studies.

Dr. Ronda presented the result of her research with a group of high school mathematics teachers to show how Lesson Study, a form of professional development for teachers and Teaching thru Problem Solving, a strategy for teaching mathematics, can support each other to improve mathematics teaching and learning.

NISMED Staff Participates in the Japanese Government
Teacher Training Scholars Reunion Program

Ms. Ma. Lourdes S. Agad, Chair of the Audiovisual Group, joined the delegation from the Philippines in attending the reunion of former Japanese Government Teacher Training Scholars from Southeast Asian countries and China on November 29 - December 5, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan. Ms. Agad was a recipient of the Japanese Government Teacher Training Scholarship at the University of Tsukuba in 1991-1993.

-two participants from ASEAN countries and China attended the program. The objectives of the reunion were to strengthen ties between former students and Japan; build networks among alumni associations of neighboring countries, and; promote the activities of alumni organizations in each country. Highlights of the activities included visits to academic and research institutes, industrial facilities, and other venues in Tokyo. During the program, Ms. Agad visited the University of Tsukuba where she met and exchanged views with her former adviser and other professors who are partners of NISMED.


Dr. Erlina R. Ronda’s paper titled Growth Points in Students’ Developing Understanding of Function in Equation Form was published in the Mathematics Education Research Journal, Volume 21, Number 1 (2009). MERJ, an official journal of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australia, Inc. (MERGA), is an international refereed journal that provides a forum for the publication of research on the teaching and learning of mathematics at all levels.

The p
aper proposes a framework for describing students understanding of function when it is in equation form. The study combined the process-object theory and property-oriented perspective to analyze students’ performance and solutions to tasks involving function. From this analysis, “big picture ideas” or major nodes in students developing understanding of this concept were identified and described. These “big picture ideas” were set in a framework to describe students’ typical learning paths leading towards generality and abstraction in students’ thinking about function in equation form. The data were collected from Grades 8, 9 and 10 students using a set of tasks involving linear and quadratic relationships in order to identify and describe “big ideas” in this domain. The framework can provide teachers with structure for analyzing and monitoring students’ understanding of functions in equation form.

Dr. Ronda is a member of the High School Mathematics Group.


New Graduates

Mr. Guillermo P. Bautista Jr. of the High School Mathematics Group obtained his M.A. Mathematics degree from the University of the Philippines College of Science, Diliman in October 2009. His research is titled Parameterization of Heron’s Triangle and its Distribution in the Moduli Spaces.

Ms. Jacqueline Rose M. Gutierrez of the High School Chemistry Group graduated with a degree of Master of Education at Hiroshima University in October 2009. Her thesis is titled Response Pattern Analysis on the Burning Candle Experiment: TIMSS-based Study.

NISMED Bowling Team

The NISMED Bowling Team placed 6th runner-up (Class A category) in the recently concluded 2009 UP Open Mixed Team Bowling Tournament. The members include Ms. Wilhelmina L. dela Paz, Mr. Alberto C. Falcon, Mr. Ferdinand C. Damasco, Mr. Nilo M. Rocas, Mr. Doddie C. Bergado, Ms. Cherry A. Velasco, Mr. Regino L. Lamorena, Ms. Mariel T. Atregenio, Mr. Mario C. Gallardo, Ms. Ester A. Bautista, Dr. Merle C. Tan, Ms. Nancy T. Gandeza, and Mr. Renante N. Lunas. The championship game and awarding ceremonies was held on November 21, 2009 at the UP Alumni Center Bowling Alley.

Ms. Teng Bautista prepares to throw the ball.

Since the tournament was a big success, the UP Alumni Association decided to hold another one starting in January 2010. NISMED will be joining the tournament again with higher hopes of winning the championship trophy.

NISMED's Christmas Party

Christmas celebration started early at NISMED. The Institute held its annual Christmas party on December 8, 2009 with the theme Pasko sa Nayon. The celebration, which was organized by the Socials Committee, started with a get-together lunch at the STTC inner garden. Afterwards, the staff proceeded to the auditorium for the games and raffle. The staff, which was divided into four groups, presented short cheers and competed in group games and dancing. Gifts and raffle prizes were distributed in between the numbers during the program. Before the winners of the contests were announced, the usual exchanging of gifts was done. The ceremonies ended with a brief Christmas message from the director, Dr. Merle C. Tan.