Starting Lesson Study in Elementary School Science

In mid-May 2013, a seminar-workshop on “Development of Inquiry-Based Science Activities” was conducted by the NISMED Elementary School Science Group for 15 Grade III science teachers from three schools in the Division of Taguig-Pateros (5 teachers per school).

PALS Inaugurated

The Philippine Association of Lesson and Learning Studies (PALS) Inc. was inaugurated on 10 December 2016 at the Pearl of the Orient Tower in Manila.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Strengthening the Capacity of Future Pillars of Science and Mathematics Education

The Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) invited three UP NISMED staff, Dr. Amelia Punzalan, Dr. Erlina Ronda, and Ms. Arlene de la Cruz, as resource speakers on its 2nd year of training workshop on research enhancement. The training workshop was held on 4-6 September 2012 at Punta de Fabian, Baras, Rizal.

The participants were 27 faculty members of Teacher Training Institutes (TEIs) representing different regions of the country. These TEIs were identified by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as Centers of Development.

From CHED Memorandum Order No. 33 Series of 2012, a Center of Development (COD) refers to a teacher education program in an HEI (Higher Education Institution), which demonstrates the potential to become a COE (Center of Excellence) in the future. A COE is defined as a teacher education program in an HEI, which continuously demonstrates excellent performance in the areas of instruction, research and publication, extension and linkages, institutional qualifications and one that provides excellent quality pre-service teacher education program to meet the needs of progressive teachers for elementary, secondary, and special education programs. The identified COEs and CODs are expected to serve as instruments in attaining and fulfilling the program’s mission of producing professionally competent and morally upright teacher education graduates.

Ms. de la Cruz started the session with De Bono’s six (6) thinking hats to set the tone of the workshop. Activities in the thinking hats were used as springboard for the participants’ research topics as well as in setting of goals for lesson study and other research projects.

Dr. Punzalan talked about teaching science through inquiry. She presented different ways to show how inquiry can be part of the participants’ researches in their classrooms and how it can be used as a teaching strategy.

Dr. Ronda talked about problem solving as strategy for teaching mathematics. She also used lesson study to further explain problem solving and showed a video on a mathematics lesson study implementation.

 On the third day, the participants presented their research topics as well as their planned methodologies. Critiquing of the research topics was done after each presentation. The Central Bicol State University of Agriculture - College of Development Education from Region V, and Xavier University - Faculty of Education from Region XII planned to do research related to lesson study.

National Summer Training Workshop on Lesson Study

Guro Foundation Forum (GFF) organized a National Summer Training Workshop on Lesson Study in view of the K to 12 implementation across disciplines on 7-12 May 2012. It was held at the Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. There were 40 teacher-participants from Metro Manila and Luzon and four Filipino teachers from Lebanon. All grade levels were represented in the said workshop.

The objective of the training workshop was to engage educators in instructional planning, management, and implementation of K to 12 curriculum using lesson study.

Five NISMED staff were invited as resource speakers and facilitator. Dr. Soledad A. Ulep, UP NISMED Director, spoke on Lesson Study in View of the K to 12 Implementation. Dr. Amelia E. Punzalan and Ms. Arlene P. de la Cruz talked on Teaching Chemistry and Teaching-Learning Science Through Inquiry. Dr. Erlina R. Ronda talked about Teaching Mathematics Through Problem Solving, with Mr. Allan Canonigo as facilitator.

 Lesson Study was done in four subjects, namely, English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Teachers had lesson planning, brainstorming, and critiquing of lessons. The lessons were based on the K to12 Curriculum.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


[This article presents the challenges faced by practicing teachers in the course of developing lessons in Physics from the point of view of a member of the study group.]

Ma’am, baka pwedeng bigyan n’yo na lang kami ng lesson plan at iexecute na lang namin?” (Ma’am, can you just give us a prepared lesson plan and then we will just execute it?) One teacher of our lesson study group in Physics asked during the initial planning of the lesson. What made the teacher to ask this question?
Lesson study is about planning together to develop, implement, and improve a research lesson. “Planning together” is not something new to teachers. They plan on activities in school such as Science Fairs and school foundation day celebration but “planning together to come up with a lesson” is something unusual to them. Teachers are used to prepare their own lesson plans and implement them as they see fit. In a school, where there may be five or more physics teachers, it is possible that these teachers differ in the way they teach the same topic. Hence, asking teachers to plan a lesson together faces a lot of challenges.
Finding time for planning the lesson was a challenge. In our lesson study group, the teachers had to meet around lunchtime to plan the lesson because they have classes in the afternoon. Requesting them to come at this time was sometimes inconvenient for them because they had personal matters to attend to. That was the reason why a teacher asked for a prepared lesson plan to execute instead of planning together to prepare a new one.
Finding the right activity for the lesson was a challenge. Teachers acknowledge that letting the students do an activity is a good practice. During the planning of the lesson, the teachers brought activities they used in the previous school year. As they presented the activities, they were asked some questions: 1) Will the activities help your students to discover the concept/s you want them to know? 2) Will the students be able to discover the concept on their own? 3) What skills will be developed through the activity? 4) Do you have the materials (or enough materials) needed for the activity? These questions were asked for teachers to realize that it was not enough that students perform an activity for the sake of doing an activity. Teachers had to evaluate the activity they were using. If the activity does not meet the objectives of the lesson, they have to select a more appropriate one or make some revisions. Moreover, the teachers were asked to tryout the activity. There were situations during the planning that they had to replace the activity or some materials because the activity or material itself was not working. As a result, it took several meetings just to come up with an activity. Thus, teachers would say, “Hindi pala ganito kadali gumawa ng activity (It is not so easy to come up with an activity).”
Finding the appropriate strategy for a lesson was a challenge. The usual sequence followed by the teacher in teaching a science lesson is as follows: motivation, presentation of the concept (including equation), performing the activity (if there is an activity), guided solving of a sample problem, individual or group problem solving, assessment, and homework. However, the formulated goal for the lesson study was “To develop and nurture self-directed learners who have enduring understanding of science concepts that can be applied in real-life situations.” Their usual way of teaching would not work to attain this goal because if the teachers would simply give the concepts and equations, then the students would become passive learners. Thus, there is a need for the teacher to shift from being the source of information to a facilitator of learning. They should guide their students to discover the concepts on their own. To do this, the teachers have to think of the questions they would ask to elicit thinking among the students as well as the possible answers the students might give. Writing these in their lesson plan would allow the teachers to anticipate different scenarios that might happen during the class discussion. Planning the lesson this way involves detailed and focused discussion and by itself a challenge to a teacher who is used to deciding by herself or himself on how to go about the lesson.

Indeed, planning together is not that easy. Yes, it takes time to plan, choose an activity, and find an appropriate teaching strategy. But to see the students enjoying the activity, asking questions, and participating in class discussions are enough rewards for the challenges faced. Going back to the teacher who asked for a prepared lesson plan to execute, she no longer asked this question in the succeeding cycles of planning. She became more participative in the discussions and even implemented two lessons made by the study group. Clearly, by embracing the challenges of doing a lesson study paved the way for her professional development. The experience with lesson study embodies this quote by Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

By May R. Chavez

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lesson Study Workshops in St. Scholastica’s College

The High School Department of St. Scholastica’s College invited Ms. Arlene de la Cruz of UP NISMED to give an overview of lesson study on July 20, 2012. This was attended by nine (9) subject coordinators, the principal and the assistant principal. The subjects covered were Communication Arts (English), Science and Technology, Mathematics, Communication Arts (Filipino), Christian Living, Social Studies, Physical Education, Health and Music, and Technology and Livelihood Education. Apart from the presentation on lesson study, a video of the process was also shown. The coordinators commented that they were delighted to know lesson study as a way of improving the achievement of their students and a strategy for teacher’s professional development. 

                                 Seated: Ms Arlene P. de la Cruz and Sr. M. Rosalina Rosas Fajardo, OSB, Principal                                                                           Standing fourth from the left: Mrs. Ma. Lourdes N. Cura, Assistant Principal 
On 11 January 2013, Ms. de la Cruz was again invited to give a seminar-workshop on lesson study to the teachers of the high school department of St. Scholastica’s College. There were about 25 teachers from different subject areas. They had lesson planning, brainstorming, and critiquing of lessons focused on Grade 7 which included the subjects English, Science, Mathematics, Geography, Filipino, and Christian Living. A teacher for each subject taught the lesson that they planned collaboratively. Critiquing of the lesson presented by each teacher was done. Revisions on the lesson plan were done at the end after each teacher demonstration. 

According to the teacher participants, it was their first time to experience how to critique lesson plans. They said that they learned a lot during the planning and critiquing of lessons. They were able to come up with lesson plans which they can use later. At the end of the seminar-workshop they decided that they will implement lesson study in the coming school year 2013-2014 for at least one quarter.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Introducing Collaborative Lesson Planning

NISMED’s initial attempt at collaborating with elementary school science teachers in the development of unit lesson plans is first described, followed by a much simpler mechanism to review existing ones for the purpose of improving them. Both times, the activity ground to a halt when the teachers were requested to write the lesson plans/revise them according to the comments and recommendations. This chapter documents the processes involved and the reasons given for the expected outcomes that did not materialize. The data gathered were generated from interviews and observations. It was established that it was not the teachers’ practice to develop lessons from scratch; they make use of existing ones. They are also very busy and overloaded with assignments in school, making it difficult for them sit down and write out lesson plans and revise these for use the next time they teach it to another section or the following schoolyear. Recommendations to revise the lesson study process and make it more friendly to busy teachers are given following these failed attempts.

The first attempt was at Bagong Kinabukasan Elementary School (BKES, not its real name) as an initial activity under NISMED’s School Partnership Project (SPP) which was formally launched in November 2006 (UP NISMED unpublished report, 2008).

This bogged down after two planning sessions per grade level (Grades 3 to 6); no revised lesson plans were produced and no lesson implementations were observed. No observations of implementation were likewise carried out.

Another attempt was made in the same school in August 2008. This second phase targeted improvement of existing lesson plans by collaborative teams consisting of NISMED staff and BKES teachers. The BKES teachers readily submitted existing lesson plans for “editing” but the teams were unable to sit together to critique the plans and suggest improvements. NISMED staff were also invited to observe a “demo teaching” by a teacher and participate in the post-conference after the demo teaching. However, no revised lesson plan incorporating the comments during the post-conference was produced. (NISMED unpublished report, 2011).

These two attempts are recounted and analyzed in this chapter. The challenges and constraints to collaborative lesson research and development among elementary science teachers are pointed out and recommendations for future attempts are given.

by Risa L. Reyes ( )

Monday, August 12, 2013

Three Years of Lesson Study in Full Swing

Three Years of Lesson Study in Full Swing: Ligao National High School Science and Mathematics Departments

Two NISMED staff were invited for a 2-day visit cum mentoring for the science teachers of Ligao National High School (LNHS) in connection with the school’s implementation of lesson study on 15 – 16 January 2013. This is part of the 4-day seminar workshop on lesson study requested earlier by the Principal of Ligao National High School, Ms. Carmelita Sinson which was held at NISMED on 18 – 21 August 2012 for 16 science teachers. NISMED Director, Dr. Soledad Ulep and other science staff conducted this seminar-workshop. Ms. Sinson has also attended a similar 4-day seminar workshop together with 21 LNHS mathematics teachers in 2011. The NISMED mathematics staff has conducted follow-up visits cum mentoring for the mathematics teachers in 2012-2013 during lesson study implementation. According to the teachers, lesson study has helped them to collaboratively prepare lessons and increase learning gains for both themselves and students. The principal also commented that the lesson study that they are doing every quarter has fostered collaboration among the science and mathematics teachers. Lesson study has helped build such a culture among the teachers—one of her dreams for the school, Mrs. Sinson added.

The teacher-observers and knowledgeable others discussing a research
prepared by the science teacher for implementation.
Ms. Tita V. Agir, EPS I of DepEd Ligao City Division, Ms. Arlene P. dela Cruz, SES I of UP NISMED as knowledgeable  others (2nd and 3rd from left)  and LNHS science teachers during observation of a research lesson in the lesson study implementation on 15 January 2013.

LNHS Science teachers and the DepEd Ligao City Division Science Supervisor Ms. Tita V. Agir (1st from left) during the post-lesson discussion and reflection session on 15 January 2013.

Left to right: Principal, Ms. Carmelita Sinson with 4 knowledgeable others: 2 NISMED staff, Dr. Amelia Punzalan, and Ms. Arlene de la Cruz (2nd from right), Ms. Tita Agir, Division Science Supervisor (3rd from left) and Mr. Bernard Samson  (3rd from right) with the LNHS Science teachers after a post-conference debriefing and feedback session re the lesson study implementation having an afternoon snack in a restaurant in Ligao City on 16 January 2013.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

National Conference on Lesson Study

The University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP NISMED) has organized a national conference on lesson study in science and mathematics. The conference will be held at UP NISMED on October 22-24, 2013. For more information click on this link.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Improving Teacher Effectiveness Through Lesson Study

UP NISMED’s Initial Experience with Lesson Study: Improving Teacher Effectiveness in High School Chemistry

The three authors in collaboration with six chemistry teachers of Pedro Felix Memorial National High School, conducted NISMED’s first Lesson Study during the school year 2003- 2004.  Each of the chemistry teachers selected a study lesson for implementation during the period bringing to a total of 6 developed chemistry lesson plans as outputs.  There was a follow up interview of the teachers in October of the next school year.

The Lesson Study model requires the teachers to connect with one another, with administrators and specialists, and even with teachers from other schools. All participants focus their energy on learning the “study lessons” and observing teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom. As they jointly plan and develop study lessons, they find themselves naturally sharing and thinking about the meaning of the experiences they have had in their classrooms. The teachers composing the Lesson Study group develop a sense of joint ownership of both materials and methods as they develop, implement, and refine the study lessons.
Results of this study showed a positive effect of the Lesson Study practice on the following measures of teachers’ effectiveness: knowledge of content and pedagogy, lesson planning, communication skills, classroom management and teacher’s confidence.
Moreover, Lesson Study has proved to be a practical, economical, and effective school-based method for continuous professional development of teachers done in a collegial atmosphere. Its benefits, however, cannot be fully attained if the practice is not entrenched, done regularly and continuously as part of the school’s professional development program. This is because of the teachers’ tendency to revert back to traditional methods of instructions that they find more familiar and convenient.

By Arlene dela Cruz

Students’ Preferred Language for Active Learning

Using Students’ Preferred Language to Engage them Actively in Learning  About How Fast Solids Dissolve in Water

“Ma’am, puwedeng mag-Tagalog?” (Ma’am, may I speak in Tagalog?) 
Carlo, a third year student, asked his chemistry teacher before giving his answer during a classroom discussion.
Science teachers, more often than not, would reluctantly allow students to answer in their preferred language and then proceed with the lesson using the prescribed medium of instruction which is English.
But what happens when three secondary chemistry teachers allowed their students to use the students’ preferred language in the classroom?
In the school year 2010-2011, the first two authors from UP NISMED and the four other authors who are chemistry teachers from Rizal High School collaborated to conduct a Lesson Study  on  How Fast Solids Dissolve in Water using the students’ preferred language of instruction.  The decision to use Filipino is for the students to communicate their ideas and participate fully during discussions in the chemistry class.
One hundred-three (103) third year public high school students and their three (3) chemistry teachers were observed throughout the duration of the lesson. Pre and post test were given to students and 19 representative students were interviewed after the lesson. The lesson plans and activity sheets which were collaboratively prepared were written in English. The pre-test and post-test were written in English and Filipino.
Results showed that low performing students who were allowed to use their preferred language in class were able to be on a par with high middle performing students in learning How Fast Solids Dissolve in Water. In addition, feedback from students and teachers imply the equalizing role of language among students from a wide range of academic performance. Students expressed confidence and interest in learning science.

By Arlene dela Cruz

Reflections of Chemistry Teachers on Lesson Study

Growing up Pains: Reflections of Five Chemistry Teachers on the First Two Cycles of Lesson Study

This chapter presents the reflections of five Chemistry teachers in a public high school on their lesson study (LS) experience. Accounts have shown that, at the beginning, there are several challenges encountered by the teachers that made them hesitant to fully participate in the LS. However, as the LS proceeded, collegiality was evident, making the teachers comfortable with the LS. Collegiality led them to collaborate more in the LS processes.

This increased collaboration provided several  benefits that the teacher themselves have recognized along the way. These benefits concern their  professional growth such as content upgrade, new approach in teaching, better classroom management, accuracy of content in designing lesson plans, sense of fulfilment, and willingness to strive for excellence.
The full text of the study is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Jacquie Gutierrez

Friday, January 11, 2013

Problem Solving Involving Multiplication of Whole Numbers

Classroom Problem Solving Practices Involving  Multiplication of Whole Numbers   

Grade 2 Math Lesson Study Group
Eight Grade 2 mathematics teachers of a public elementary school in Quezon City together with the Elementary School Mathematics group of UP NISMED collaboratively developed a research lesson on solving problems involving multiplication of whole numbers under the project Collaborative Lesson Research and Development (CLRD) of the Institute. In planning the lesson, the teachers agreed to deviate from using the AGONA (What is Asked?, What are Given?, What Operation will be used?, What is the Number sentence?, and What is the Answer?) in analyzing and solving problems and to encourage pupils to present different ways of solving a problem.

At the start of the project, it was evident that the teachers were hesitant to change some of their current practices such as religiously following the guidelines for solving problems written in the curriculum (AGONA) and presenting only one way of solving problems. These practices could serve as hindrances in developing pupils’ creativity and their ability to think or explore other possibilities in solving problems. One factor that contributes to teachers’ resistance to change is that questions asked during the periodical/district/division tests make use of AGONA. Deviating from AGONA may result in their pupils’ low scores. For these teachers, answering all the questions correctly would mean that pupils have understood how to solve the given problems.
In solving mathematical problems, teachers consider only one solution to a given problem. They tend to practice uniformity with what pupils are required to do. For these teachers, solving problems in different ways will just confuse pupils. This could indicate the teacher’s apprehension of being unable to handle unexpected situations. Such was demonstrated in the first to the third implementation of the research lesson.
Although the Grade 2 teachers were not yet able to completely veer away from AGONA, some changes in the behavior and teaching practices of teachers were observed, such as giving more emphasis on thinking processes, improved questioning skills (deviating from the use of AGONA in discussing solutions to the problem), and their being more reflective and open to accept new ideas. Perhaps with a longer experience doing CLRD, it is hoped that these teachers will improve their teaching practices.
The full text of the study is included in the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER”, which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.
By Aida Yap and Teresita Mañalac

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Beyond Collaboration: An Appreciative Inquiry Into Lesson Study

This study uses appreciative inquiry into lesson study in which the overall design is governed by qualitative inquiry focus on: (a) stories and images that helped teachers in doing lesson study in a new and constructive light; and (b) qualities of lesson study would help make it sustainable. Appreciative inquiry is adopted as a method based on the assumption that researches which apply this are participative in nature and recognizes that teachers learn collaboratively by adapting their knowledge to their experiences.
Appreciative inquiry was born from the positive psychology and organizational change movement in the 1980's which was originally developed by David Cooperrider and his colleagues. Drawing on findings using appreciative inquiry, the study highlights how the process of lesson study helped teachers fully utilize the activity and the materials in the lesson so that students generate mathematical ideas. The use of appreciative inquiry to get feedback about lesson study helped generate stories and images that enable teachers to do lesson study in a new and constructive light. Teachers involved in this study internalized the disposition associated with content pedagogy, which triggered their realization that they have the responsibility to understand content deeply, and prompted them to exert effort to study the materials and available resources, consulted colleagues, and continued reflecting on what should be done for students to think and understand the concepts being taught. This study finds that lesson study in this particular school has a greater possibility to sustain collaboration among teachers and continually effects change because: (1) it builds relationships and enables teachers to be known in relationship rather than in roles; (2) it creates an opportunity for teachers to be heard; (3) it generates opportunities for teachers to dream, and to share their dreams; and (4) it creates an environment in which teachers are able to choose how they contribute.
Note: The full paper is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Allan Canonigo

Friday, January 4, 2013

An Analysis of Problem Solving Activity in a Mathematics II Class

In the project Collaborative Lesson Research Development (CLRD), four Mathematics II teachers together with a UPNISMED facilitator collaboratively developed, critiqued, and revised a lesson on Solving Quadratic Equation Using Quadratic Formula. The lesson utilized the approach teaching  through problem solving. Teaching through problem solving is an approach wherein a problem is given to the students at the start and is used as context to teach a topic as well as to develop skills and apply these skills to unfamiliar situations.  It is characterized by students’ deep construction and understanding of mathematical ideas and concepts.  The problem in the lesson used a real life context and it involved different ways to solve it.  The nature of the problem provided an opportunity for the students to apply their previous knowledge and skills and experience thinking skills like representing, looking for patterns, and generalizing.
The study focused on  the content of the problem solving activity of the lesson.   How the students progressed in the problem solving process and how the teacher provided scaffolding so that the students would complete the task were the ones given particular attention. To follow up the students’ progress and the scaffolding the teacher provided during the problem solving activity, Polya’s Four Steps of Solving a Problem was used as a guide. At first, the students experienced difficulty in solving the problem. However the difficulty was addressed when the teacher provided the necessary scaffolding.
The result of the problem solving activity was an “eye opener” to the four Mathematics II teachers.  They realized that the reason why the students had difficulty in solving the problem was that they were not exposing the students to problems involving multiple solutions; to problems involving the skills of looking for a pattern, generalizing and “modelling”. The problems they usually give are problems involving only one solution and an answer of numerical in nature.
The full text of the study is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Lydia Landrito

Alternative Conceptions of Diffusion and Osmosis

Uncovering Alternative Conceptions of Diffusion and Osmosis Through Lesson Study

Through lesson study, a research lesson on diffusion and osmosis was developed collaboratively among four Biology teachers of a partner high school in Metro Manila and four NISMED researchers.  The group developed a structured inquiry activity on diffusion and osmosis using existing activity sheets of the partner teachers as references.  Student learning and alternative conceptions were closely observed during the implementation of the lesson.

Through classroom observations, analysis of accomplished activity sheets, and student interviews, it was revealed that students have difficulties in differentiating diffusion from osmosis, and understanding the terms hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic.  Students also perceived that there is a directed movement of particles from a higher concentration to a lower concentration.  This suggests their inability to integrate random molecular motion and collisions in explaining the movement of molecules.  Identification of these alternative conceptions is an important prerequisite to developing appropriate lessons and activities.  Appropriate computer animations may be used in conjunction with other instructional strategies to scaffold students’ understanding and visualization of random molecular motion and collisions to better understand diffusion and osmosis.  To improve the research lesson and address the misconceptions identified, the next step would be going through another cycle: revisiting, revising, and implementing the research lesson.
The full text of the study is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Maria Helen Catalan