Monday, September 3, 2012

A three-day in-service training-workshop for NEHS science and mathematics teachers was held on 29 to 31 May 2012 at the Science Teachers Training Center of UP NISMED. It was attended by 40 teachers. 

Designed to "deepen science and mathematics teachers' conceptual understanding of science and mathematics topics and enhance their pedagogical content knowledge in order to improve student learning outcomes," NISMED's Comprehensive Academic Improvement of Nueva Ecija High School Project - now on its third year of implementation - provides "opportunities for teachers to experience teaching, learning, and developing science and mathematics assessment items and tasks that emphasize inquiry and problem solving."

Mathematics Training-Workshop

NEHS Math Teachers attend a Comprehensive Academic
Improvement Training-Workshop.

The mathematics group facilitated a training workshop for 14 mathematics teachers of Nueva Ecija High School (NEHS). The training focused on teaching mathematics through problem solving and on mathematical modeling. The objectives of the training-seminar were to: deepen teachers' content knowledge; enhance teachers' skill in designing lessons that teach mathematics through problem solving; and increase teachers' awareness of the need to work collaboratively to improve their teaching skills and math knowledge.

The three-day training-workshop exposed the teachers to a range of problem solving and modeling tasks. The teachers collaboratively solved selected open-ended problems in different ways, identified the different mathematical concepts that can be linked in the discussion of the solutions, thought of ways on how they can use the problem to introduce new concepts or deepen students' understanding of existing knowledge, and formulated possible extensions of the problems. The teachers also designed lessons based on the problems they solved and analyzed and implemented them; their peers observed and suggested further improvements to the lesson. The last day of the training introduced the teachers to problems that required formulation of a mathematical model and to the processes of mathematical modeling.

This training-workshop is a part of a series of professional development activities planned by NEHS and UP NISMED for school year 2011-2012. The earlier activities were a seminar on problem solving and assessment, test item construction workshop, lesson study, and training on the use of GeoGebra software in teaching mathematics.

Science Training-Workshop

NEHS teachers work on designing a classroom-days 
investigations as Dr. Treyes looks on.
Science education specialists and associates from the four high school science groups (Earth/Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) facilitated the Conducting Investigations in the Classroom seminar-workshop for 26 teachers. It had the following objectives: formulate questions and objectives, formulate appropriate hypotheses, write proper citations from related literatures, design experiments, analyze and interpret results, and draw conclusions from the results. There were seven plenary sessions and five workshops. While the bulk of the sessions focused on classroom-based investigations, inputs on science-fair investigatory projects were also given on the last day.

The participants were grouped into General Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Each group came up with a problem that served as context for their outputs in the different workshops. Several difficulties such as developing a research problem, formulating a hypothesis from a research, and aligning the experiment's design with the hypothesis were addressed during the workshops. Moreover, misconceptions about what a hypothesis is and how to cite references correctly also came out. These were addressed and clarified during the different workshops with the guidance of the workshop facilitators. On the last day, the different groups presented their experimental design for group feedback.

With the participants' experience from the three-day seminar-workshop, it is hoped that they will be more confident and capable in guiding their students in planning and carrying out simple yet interesting science investigations as well as investigatory projects for science fairs.