Friday, August 1, 2014

A total of 50 Grade 8 and 65 Grade 2 science teachers from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) participated in a four-day training program dubbed as “Support for the Management of an Improved Learning Environment (SMILE).” The training of Grade 8 science teachers was held at UP NISMED on 24-27 February 2014, while the training of Grade 2 science teachers was conducted at the Pinnacle Hotel in Davao City on 4-7 March 2014. The program was intended to serve as supplemental training on science for elementary and high school trainers under the support of the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM - ARMM) of the Department of Education of ARMM (DepEd-ARMM) and the Australian Agency for International Development (Australian AID).
Participants arrange the bottles based on the pitch of the
sound created when struck with a spoon.
The objectives of the training conducted were to (1) explain the rationale, philosophy, and features of science and mathematics in the K to 12 curriculum; (2) show spiraling within science concepts and interconnections across concepts; (3) apply inquiry-based teaching in science, and; (4) demonstrate how content and inquiry skills are interwoven in the teaching of specific science concepts using the training modules written for Grades 2 and 8.

The training program helped to further orient ARMM trainer-participants on the new curriculum and its features, with emphasis on spiral progression and teaching science through inquiry. To develop inquiry skills that will facilitate meaningful learning of related concepts, Grade 8 teachers performed selected hands-on activities on various areas of science like Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, while Grade 2 teachers participated in the modeling sessions of inquiry-based science activities on selected topics like Sense Organs, Sounds, Weather, and Solids. NISMED trainers also had an opportunity to address misconceptions arising from the discussions and emphasize features of inquiry from the modeled science activities.

The trainer-participants are expected to conduct roll-out training sessions among all Grade 2 and 8 science teachers in various divisions in the ARMM region within the year.
The Elementary School Mathematics (ESM) Group together with the High School Mathematics (HSM) Group conducted a four-day training program on the use of interactive courseware in mathematics on 27-30 January 2014, at the DepEd Regional Education Learning Center (RELC), Marikina City. 
Grade 2 pupils answering the activities in the courseware during pilot testing.
Fifty teachers (30 Grades 2-4 and 20 Grades 5-6) from 20 schools from the various regions of the country attended the training. These teachers were divided into two groups, one group explored lessons for Grades 2 to 4, while the other group explored lessons for Grades 5 to 6. The group consisting of Grades 2 to 4 teachers participated in a workshop where they planned a lesson incorporating the use of the courseware, and implemented the lesson on the last day of the program. 

The courseware’s pilot testing was conducted from 5 February 2014 until 19 March 2014, with observers from UP NISMED, DOST-SEI, and DOST-ASTI. In some regions, some DepED personnel also joined the observations. 

The use of digitized materials in teaching and learning mathematics, particularly at the elementary school level, has been found effective. Pupils who used the technology package markedly showed interest and enthusiasm towards the lessons compared to those who did not use the technology.
NISMED Director Dr. Soledad A. Ulep and Earth Science Specialist Eligio C. Obille Jr. participated in the 8th APEC-Tsukuba International Conference held in Tokyo, Japan, on 12-17 February 2014. The conference was part of a three-year-long project that aims to ‘identify the best practices that ensure students are learning the foundation of mathematics and science, and applying this learning to real-world issues, such as preserving the environment, reducing damage due to disasters, and achieving green and sustainable growth.’ 

Since 2012, the project has been developing programs (e.g., booklets on e-textbook format with teaching materials) for APEC economies to educate teachers and children about disasters and how to save themselves from disasters such as tsunami and earthquakes, typhoons and floods, and fires and volcanic eruptions. This is achieved through the use of visual materials, sharing of essential evacuation strategies, and using actual data which are necessary to scientifically understand the mechanism and influence of disasters. These materials, developed through Lesson Study, are currently being used by APEC lesson study project institutions. 

In the APEC-Tsukuba International Conference, mathematics is considered as ‘the major literacy subject necessary for economic developments.’ Instead of simply solving hypothetical mathematics problems, the project promotes teaching mathematics in the context of natural disasters. Through lesson study, the project aims to produce an interactive textbook (e-book) that will help students prepare for an emergency, with emphasis for fires and volcanic eruption this year. The results will be presented in September 2014 at Khon Kaen University, Thailand. 
Through lesson study, specialists from the Asia-Pacific region identify ways to effectively
teach mathematics in the context of natural disasters
(Photo credit:
The conference was attended by various APEC economies such as Brunei, Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam. The three-year-long project is led by Dr. Maitree Inprasitha of the Center for Research in Mathematics Education, Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Dr. Masami Isoda of the Center for Research on International Cooperation in Educational Development, University of Tsukuba, Japan. 

Part of the week-long conference was a field trip to Nikko World Heritage Site. Due to heavy snowfall, the trip was cancelled and participants went instead to the Edo- Tokyo Museum, and Tokyo National Museum and National Museum of Nature and Science at Ueno.
Dr. Aida I. Yap of the Elementary School Mathematics Group and currently the Deputy Director for Administration attended the 27th UNESCO-APEIDHiroshima Seminar on Innovation and Reform in Teacher Education in the Asia-Pacific Region held at Hiroshima University, Japan on 30 March-1 April 2014. This annual seminar that started in 1987 aims to examine the problems and issues related to teacher education and development in the Asia-Pacific Region and to exchange experiences concerning the efforts to develop teacher competencies and design national and international cooperation frameworks and action plans to improve them. 
Representatives from Asia-Pacific countries during the 27th UNESCO-APEID seminar
held at Hiroshima University, Japan.
This year’s seminar focused on identifying the issues and trends in lesson studies around the world, particularly in nine Asia-Pacific countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Each country representative reported on the current status of lesson study in his or her country. Dr. Yap presented NISMED’s efforts in promoting lesson study in the Philippines. The other representatives were Dr. Sumar Hendayana of Indonesia, Oyunaa Purevdorj of Mongolia, Dr. Christine Kim Eng Lee of Singapore, and Dr. Narumol Inprasitha of Thailand. Prof. Takuya Baba and Prof. Kinya Shimizu presented the current status of lesson study in both Bangladesh and Cambodia respectively. In addition to country reports, a special report on JICA’s programs and projects in Africa was presented by Mr. Atsushi Matachi. 

The Vice President of Hiroshima University Prof. Masaki Sakakoshi, the Dean of the Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC), Hiroshima University Prof. Akimasa Fujiwara, the Chairperson of UNESCO-APEID Hiroshima University Project Committee Prof. Hideo Ikeda, and the Program Officer of UNESCO-APEID, Bangkok Dr. Lay Cheng Tan delivered messages during the opening ceremony. Prof. Eiji Kozuka and some foreign students of IDEC also joined the seminar as observers. 

As an output of this project, a book on lesson studies in the Asia-Pacific Region will be published. The expected date of its publication is January 2016. Editors of the book are Takuya Baba, Kinya Shimizu, Christine Kim Eng Lee, and Lay Cheng Tan.
As part of the activities in celebration of NISMED’s 50th anniversary, this year, Dr. Rogel Mari D. Sese, one of only three astrophysicists in the Philippines and the government’s focal person for space education, gave a public lecture on 6 March 2014 at the NISMED Auditorium before 143 science and mathematics teachers coming from various places in Metro Manila, Luzon, and Mindanao. Dr. Sese expounded on the different fields under space science, its many applications, as well as the challenges of space science education in the country. He also stressed the need to inspire young students to engage in this exciting field and to train science teachers in astronomy, physics, and related science courses so that they can encourage college students to major in these fields. 

After the open forum, a 15-minute orientation of the available scholarships for teachers and students from the Japanese government followed. The public lecture was organized in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan and the Philippine Association of Japanese Government Scholars. The lecture series aims to promote scientific literacy and contribute to the professional development of science and mathematics teachers.
NISMED recently released an updated version of the Periodic Table of Elements. It is available for downloading from the AgiMat website (curriculum. for educational and non-profit use. A poster-size version is also available and may be purchased at the NISMED Bookstore at the STTC Building, UP Diliman, Q.C. 

This updated version already includes the two newly named elements, flerovium (114) and livermorium (116). Moreover, it follows the current group numbering system which uses numbers 1 - 18 to designate the columns (groups) from left to right of the Periodic Table and adopts the reported atomic masses (except for elements with multiple atomic masses) by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The IUPAC is the internationally recognized body which prescribes standards and systems in chemistry. It was formed in 1919 by chemists from the industry and academe. Dr. John D. Petersen, IUPAC Executive Director, granted permission for the reproduction of the approved Periodic Table for use as a reference.
An umbrella program of NISMED, the Collaborative Lesson Research and Development (CLRD) Project, engaged in five major activities in the first quarter. These are reported below: 

In Balara High School

Using lesson study as the approach, a research lesson was developed collaboratively among four Biology teachers of Balara High School and the Biology Workgroup of UP NISMED. The research lesson identified was “How do intestines work?” The first cycle of planning and implementation was conducted from January to March 2014.
A student cuts different colors of yarn to represent various
parts of the small and large intestine.
During the planning phase, the team discussed and agreed on the content of the lesson. Decisions on who would be the first and second teacherimplementers of the lesson were also made. During the implementation of the lesson, students used different colors of yarn to represent the various parts of the intestines. They were also asked to describe the functions of each of these parts. As this was the last activity on the digestive system, the students were asked to trace the path of food from the mouth to the intestines.

This collaboration aims to promote teaching science through inquiry, practice collaborative lesson development, strengthen teaching practices, and improve students’ learning as a result of the well-prepared lessons.

In San Jose del Monte National High School

Early this year, Ms. Monalisa T. Sasing of the Information Science Workgroup and Mr. Michael B. Mantala of the High School Biology Workgroup, completed one lesson study activity with selected science teachers of San Jose del Monte National High School in Bulacan. The collaborative lesson planning which started in January aimed to develop a technology-enhanced lesson that will capture students’ interest to learn science. In addition to face-toface meetings, some planning sessions were carried out via email and SMS exchanges.
Ms. Peña clarifying to the student the instructions regarding the activity.
The research lesson focused on using technology to simulate the processes that different organs in the digestive system carry out to digest food and absorb nutrients. The lesson was implemented on March 3 & 4 by Ms. Marivic S. Rosales and Ms. Maricel Peña using an interactive Biology courseware. The Science Department Head of the school, Ms. Merlita Bautista, was one of the observers.

In Assumption University

On 15 March 2014, Dr. Amelia E. Punzalan and Ms. Arlene P. de la Cruz of the High School Chemistry Workgroup gave a one-day workshop on Lesson Study in Assumption University in San Fernando, Pampanga on invitation of Ms. Lani Junio, a student of Dr. Punzalan in the UP Open University.

There were eight (8) elementary school teachers who participated from Assumption University coming from the English, Mathematics, Filipino, and MAPEH College Department. The director of the Research Department also attended.

Long-term and short-term goals of the lesson study group were set during a brainstorming session in the morning. In the afternoon, there was a workshop on lesson planning and a teacher was selected to implement the lesson plan. Critiquing followed after the Science teacher demonstrated the lesson on density for Grade 6 pupils.

In the DepEd Division of Iloilo, District of Oton

The elementary school science and mathematics teachers, facilitators and district supervisor
pose for a group photo.
A three-day seminar-workshop on lesson study was held on 23-25 January 2014 at the Oton Central Elementary School for 69 science and mathematics teacher participants from the 16 elementary schools of the DepEd Division of Iloilo, District of Oton. This was organized by the district supervisor, school principals, and the Federation of Parents and Teachers Associations of the district, in cooperation with the local government unit. Professors Jonny Pornel (UP Visayas), Naci John Trance (Western Visayas College of Science and Technology), Roger Marapo (University of St. La Salle), and NISMED Science Education Specialists Dr. Amelia Punzalan and Ms. Arlene de la Cruz facilitated the seminar-workshop. The science and mathematics elementary school teachers were able to submit 10 revised drafts of K to 12 lesson plans in elementary school science and mathematics (one each for Grades 1-6 mathematics and Grades 3-6 science). These went through a series of revisions after two successive peer teaching implementations, post-lesson discussions, reflections, and revisions.

In Rizal High School

The Earth Science Workgroup is continuing its Lesson Study collaboration with Rizal High School – an activity that has been going on for about four years now.

One of the difficulties in learning a science concept is the student’s lack of prerequisite knowledge. During the group’s previous Lesson Study cycle (SY 2012-2013), it was discovered that students find it difficult to understand how seasons change because students have no in-depth understanding of the seasons themselves. Many students simply memorize the sequence in which the various seasons occur. The group then realized that in order to understand how seasons change, first, a good understanding of the seasons themselves is needed. The group decided to focus its forthcoming Lesson Study efforts on the topic “Description and Patterns of Seasons.”

Earth Science Workgroup continues its Lesson Study
collaboration with Rizal High School.
From January to March 2014 (SY 2013-2014), the group aimed for a lesson implementation before the school year ended. It was unfortunate, however, that just a few days after the group’s plans had been finalized, the school implemented a new policy requiring all teachers not to leave their students unattended. As a result, only four of the eight teachers would have been available to observe, and it was already too late to make any further adjustments. In a Lesson Study, it is best if all members are able to attend the research lesson implementation. Hence, the group decided to postpone the implementation and agreed to resume efforts in the second quarter of next academic year (SY 2014-2015).
Dr. Francis I. Molina, a Balik-Scientist, under a short-term program sponsored by DOST-PCIEERD delivered his exit presentation with the staff, guests from DOST-PCIERRD, and some faculty and students of the UP College of Education in attendance at the Audiovisual Room, Vidal A. Tan Hall on 12 March 2014. 

Dr. Molina during his exit presentation.
In his presentation, he emphasized the need to align all aspects of the K to 12 educational system of frameworks to the articulated goals for student learning. These include curriculum, instruction, assessment, and teacher professional development. Moreover, in alignment with the NISMED’s thrusts on curriculum materials development, he stressed the importance of age-appropriateness, research on student learning, and commonly held student ideas. 

NISMED served as the host institution of Dr. Molina from 1 October 2013 to 14 November 2013 (first visit) and 19 January to 4 March 2014 (second visit). 

The Balik Scientist Program (BSP) was established in 1975 to encourage overseas Filipino scientists, professionals, and technicians to return or reside in the Philippines, and share their expertise in order to accelerate the scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development of the country.
Ms. Ivy P. Mejia of the Earth Science Workgroup presented her research paper during the 6th World Conference on Educational Sciences (WCES) held at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Convention Center, Valleta, Malta on 6-9 February 2014. 

The title of her paper was Developing Pre-Service Teacher’s Constructivist-Oriented Scientific Epistemological View Through Metacognitive Group Discourse. She shared the effectiveness of metacognitive group discourse to preservice teachers’ development of understanding of the nature of science (NOS). She strongly suggested participation in a support group where members purposively check and monitor each others’ understanding of NOS. The process, which she termed as Metacognitive Group Discourse, brought desirable changes in her research respondents. 

Ms. Mejia presenting her paper during the 6th World Conference
on Educational Sciences (WCES) 2014.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Meral Aksu, a professor at the Middle East Technical University (Turkey), who described the qualities of an effective approach in developing a qualified professional. High-quality scientific papers were presented in parallel sessions with topics covering pre-school education to higher education, as well as topics about psychology of learning, instructional design, technology-based learning, and professional development. Aside from the keynote address, there were two plenary sessions, 563 papers, and 20 posters. 

On the last day of the conference, a free Malta Island wide tour was conducted. This one-day tour gave delegates a glimpse of Maltese culture.
NISMED staff Ms. Laura V. Ginoy, Dr. Helen D. Catalan, Dr. Amelia E. Punzalan, and Dr. Risa L. Reyes attended the UP Diliman-wide Extension Colloquium on 7 February 2014 held at Bulwagang Tandang Sora and organized by the University Council Committee on Extension Services (UCCES). There are three main objectives of this colloquium, namely: harmonize the basic definitions of extension services in connection to the public service thrust of the university as arising from the previous discussions; identify and firm up recommendations for future actions; and promote the extension services of UPD operating units among its stakeholders. Perspectives on the university extension services were presented by each of three speakers namely, Dr. Glecy Atienza, Dr. Darlene Occeña- Gutierrez, and Dr. Rosalinda Pineda-Ofreneo from the College of Arts and Letters, College of Social Science and Philosophy, and College of Social Work and Community Development, respectively.
Teachers and TEI faculty members who participated in the 24 January 2014 Unit 4 Grade 8 science webinar heard and saw how Grade 8 concepts spiral from Grade 7 through Grade 9 and across the four strands under Living Things and their Environment. Ms. Dulce O. Sebastian and Mr. Michael B. Mantala, both writers of Unit 4 modules, were the webinar‘s resource persons.

Mr. Mantala discussed the Unit 4 overview. He described the storyline that connects the five modules, identified the Grade 8 learning competencies targeted by each inquiry-based activity in each module, and explained how the five modules build on each other to achieve coherence across the four recurring strands of parts and function, heredity: inheritance and variation, biodiversity and evolution, and ecosystems. In the module presentations that followed, both presenters gave an overview of the module emphasizing the spiraling of concepts, presented the big ideas, learning objectives, and the rationale for the sequence of learning activities vis-a-vis the learning objectives. They also gave tips and additional resources for effectively facilitating the activities in class, and talked about possible issues and ways to address them. Ms. Sebastian discussed Module 1 (Biodiversity) and Module 2 (Interactions), while Mr. Mantala discussed Module 3 (The Digestive System), Module 4 (Nutrition and Wellness), and Module 5 (Cellular Reproduction and Genetics).

A recording of the webinar may be accessed at
NISMED’s radio program, Go Teacher Go! (GTG) aired every Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00 pm over DZUP 1602 AM band, continues to inspire science and mathematics teachers. Public and private school teachers who tuned in and participated in the radio program expressed their desire to continue touching other teacher’s lives by sharing their best practices in the classroom, as the programs’ resource persons.

The opening episode for Season 7 (February-July 2014), “Astronomy for Beginners” coincided with the celebration of the National Astronomy Week (17-21 February) with Mr. Anthony Guiller E. Urbano, of NISMED Earth Science Workgroup, as resource person along with four astronomy enthusiasts from different astronomical organizations within Metro Manila, namely, Kristine Atienza, Ehmir Cristobal, Josuel Racca, and James Ty. They discussed how to bring astronomy lessons to the classroom and emphasized the importance of the teacher’s creativity in teaching the topic, particularly on constellations.

Two episodes, “Modelling-Based Lesson Study in the Classroom” (13 February) and “Modelling-Based Lesson Study: Implementing Teachers’ Experiences” (27 February) focused on the effects of modelling-based Lesson Study on teachers’ perceived self-efficacy and instructional capacity as well as the critical thinking skills of Grade 7 students of Batasan Hills National High School.

L-R: Kae, Levi and Malu
Dr. Levi Elipane, lecturer at the UP Institute of Mathematics (Diliman) and one of the resource persons for the 13 February episode, discussed the importance of Lesson Study on professional development and in student quality learning. Ms. Kae Quilario, resource person for both the February 13 and 27 episodes, shared the process during the conduct of her research study, Modelling-Based Lesson Study, which was patterned after NISMED’s CLRD Project (Lesson Study) with a slight variation.

Robert, Rowena, and Lita inside the DZUP booth
The third episode “Collaborative Lesson Research Development (CLRD): Commonwealth Elementary School in Focus” aired on 20 February and featured the experiences of the implementing teachers, Robert Glen Pulgo and Rowena Albis, of Commonwealth Elementary School. They shared their experiences from the collaborative lesson planning to the first implementation, post-lesson discussion, revision, up to the second implementation of the lesson. Both teachers reinforced the statements shared by previous GTG guests that CLRD promotes professional development among teachers and enables them to develop inquiry-based science lessons. Ms. Sally Gutierez, Science Education Associate of NISMED’s Elementary School Science Workgroup, served as co-resource person for the three episodes.

To date, Go Teacher Go! has had a total of 158 aired episodes (visit for a complete listing). Listeners can also access the program via live streaming at

The academic staff of the Audiovisual Workgroup, Ms. Ma. Lourdes S. Agad (Chair) and Ms. Lolita M. Mondigo take turns in hosting the program.
Dr. Aida I. Yap has been designated as a member of the Screening Committee for the 2014 Japanese Government Scholarship Programs on Teacher Training and Japanese Studies (undergraduate students) through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The MEXT offers scholarships to foreign students who wish to conduct research on school education at Japanese universities. Other members of the committee include Ms. Ched Magaspar of the Ateneo de Manila University and Mr. Shinichiro Kato of the Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan, Philippines. Dr. Yap and Ms. Magaspar were former scholars of the Japanese government. 

The screening of local applicants for the scholarship was conducted on 4-5 March 2014 at the Embassy of Japan, Philippines. The Embassy of Japan will recommend those applicants who passed the local screening to MEXT. The MEXT makes the final decision on who among those recommended by the Embassy of Japan in different countries will get the grant. The Teacher Training Program is for 1.5 years while the Japanese Studies Program is for one year. Successful applicants will leave in October this year.
As part of the Institute’s extension program, a total of 653 elementary and high school students were able to attend seven overnight stargazing activities conducted at NISMED from December 2013 to March 2014. These sessions were facilitated by members of the Earth Science Workgroup of NISMED along with some members of the UP Astronomical Society. 
Students from Parañaque Science High School look at Jupiter and its four of its brightest moons.

One of the highlights of the stargazing session is the viewing of night-sky objects through one of the country’s largest telescopes housed at the NISMED Observatory. Students as well as their teachers are treated with telescopic views of craters of the moon, Jupiter and four of its brightest moons, Saturn with its beautiful ring system, and a glimpse of the current phase of Venus. Participants also listen to various lectures aligned with the K to 12 Earth and Space Science topics such as constellations, the solar system, comets, and many others. Sessions are conducted at the rooftop of the NISMED building where participants spend the overnight session under the stars. 

For further details and reservation, interested parties may contact Cecile, tel. (02) 928 3545.
Dr. Marlene B. Ferido of NISMED was given the 2014 Gawad Chanselor Natatanging REPS (Research, Extension, and Professional Staff) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the University and exemplary service to the development of science education in the country, during the 19th Gawad Chanselor Ceremonies held on 21 February 2014 at the Malcolm Hall in UP Diliman. 

The 2014 Gawad Chanselor for Natatanging REPS honors Dr. Ferido’s invaluable contribution to the advancement of Science Education in the country, particularly her (1) key role in the conceptualization and implementation of the K to 12 Science Curriculum of the Department of Education including (2) intensive research work on aligning teaching methods with the new curriculum, (3) designing appropriate curriculum materials, and (4) active involvement in training programs for science teachers from various regions in the country. 

Dr. Ferido holds the rank of Science Education Specialist V and is a member of the Chemistry Group of UP NISMED. She also serves as the Program Leader for Curriculum and leads the Science Inquiry research project of the Assessment, Curriculum, and Technology Research Centre (ACTRC), a joint partnership between the Assessment Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Australia and the College of Education, University of the Philippines Diliman.
Daniel “Dansoy” Coquilla a.k.a. Cox, Administrative Assistant of the Audiovisual Group, was a special featured artist in the IKOTOKI Para exhibit held on 27 February-1 March 2014, at selected sheds along the Ikot and Toki routes in UP Diliman. He was also one of the alumni artists from the University of the Philippines who participated in a drawing session organized by UP Diliman called, A Day with UP Artists held on 24 February 2014 at the Bulwagan ng Dangal, Main Library. Proceeds from the auctioned artworks were donated to the calamity-stricken areas in the Visayas, particularly UP Tacloban.

Cox is a multi-awarded artist. Among his awards are the 1998 UP Gawad Chanselor para sa Sining Biswal; 1997 Philip Morris Philippine and ASEAN Art Awards; Grand Prize and Juror’s Choice winner in AAP Competitions; finalist in the Metrobank and Shell National Painting Competitions; Philippine Finalist to the Windsor & Newton World-Wide Millenium Painting Competition; and one of the Thirteen Artists Awardees by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2006.