Science and Mathematics Instruction in the Philippines
It is no doubt that there are students who have difficulty in these two subjects, even the researcher for herself have problems understanding Mathematics subjects like Algebra and Geometry but excels more on Science subjects like Biology and other Natural Science subjects. Now let us look into what is the importance of Science and Mathematics in the curriculum of the Philippine Education System, the goals and specific objectives, how can these subjects be learned in other settings not just in the school, and other instructional materials that can be utilized to enrich the teaching of Mathematics and Science.
First let us define what Mathematics is, according to the Book of Popular Science (2005): it came from the Greek word “mathemata” meaning things that are learned, it is mentioned in the book that this may not seem to apply just to Mathematics but to other fields of knowledge. The reason for this is that Mathematics, the study of numbers and space in the time of Greeks also included the study of astronomy and music.
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Now, let us recall what has been the general meaning of Science since we were in elementary; it is an organized body of knowledge or sometimes referred to as empirical or experiential knowledge. This organized body of knowledge is a field of systematic body of inquiry and deals with nature and natural phenomena that is why when a nationwide survey was done b y the Department of Education asking students “What is the most interesting subject in the school curriculum? ” – Science has the most number of lines in the tally.
There are many factors that could determine how a student can be interested in learning more about Mathematics and Science subjects, these factors can help students learn more about Mathematics and Science such as factors that could enrich the teaching of both subjects: (1) The school should provide an adequate working space for Science laboratories and provide Mathematics workbooks for students to practice on; (2) The teachers should be able to instruct and teach students according to the intensity of the subjects under the Mathematics and Science curriculum; (3) Teachers should be knowledgeable, skilled in a variety of teaching strategies, and can always inculcate values and the right attitude towards working; (4) The learning environment should always be orderly, comfortable and helpful for the students; (5) The learners must possess adequate mental maturity; positive traits paired with great interest on the subject, special talents, and well defined objectives for themselves toward the subject; (6) Students should have a big interest for accuracy, which is why experimentation and calculation is used in Mathematics and Science; (7) Functional thinking, logical thinking and quantitative thinking should also be possessed by students. These are aspects that could help in enriching Mathematics and Science learning and to further understand it, I will discuss the following in separate parts and will later dwell on the similarities and differences in: * Goals and Objectives of Mathematics and Science teaching * Instructional resources that can be used in the school in teaching Science * Strategies in Teaching Mathematics and; * Pragmatic Approach to Teaching Science The main question is why is there a need for Mathematics and Science instruction in Education?
Both of these subjects has been an integral part of our educational system since the American regime, today it is also a basis for formal and vocational/technical courses that are offered nationwide. Media reports show that consumers tend to be influenced by advertisements rather than to read labels and in return they do not get what they should really get for their money, next is that many people still believe in horoscopes and fortune tellers rather than to explain events logically or scientifically, lastly is that even educated people or those with sufficient knowledge or educational background still fall for scams and sensationalized media reports. And as mentioned in the introduction: “Filipino students have low level of scientific and mathematics literacy. A large percentage cannot apply concepts to real life. yet in every goal in teaching Mathematics or Science is that after every lesson, students should be able to apply it on real life situations. Here are the goal and specific objectives of teaching Mathematics and Science in primary and secondary schools. GOAL AND OBJECTIVES OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHING IN SCHOOLS First is why Mathematics instruction is needed, the researcher will further discuss the goals and objectives in teaching Mathematics for Philippine Elementary Schools. “GOAL: Demonstrate understanding and skills in computing with considerable speed and accuracy, estimating, communicating, thinking analytically and critically, and in solving problems in daily life using appropriate technology. ”(DepEd, 2002)
The above-mentioned is the goal for Philippine Elementary Schools in teaching Mathematics from pupils Grade One to Six, here are the following objectives and contents of Mathematics subjects that should be attained after the school year per Grade level: Grade I:The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry out skills on “whole numbers up to one hundred including money and measurement” also to perform addition and subtraction of three digit numbers that can be applied to solve problems. Grade II:The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry out skills on “whole numbers up to one thousand including basics in geometry” also to perform addition of three to four digit numbers and know basic details on multiplication and division that can be applied to solve problems. Grade III:The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry out skills on “whole numbers up to one hundred thousand, fractions, measurement and graphs” also to perform the four fundamental operations that can be applied to solve problems.
Grade IV:The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry out skills on “whole numbers up to million and billions, including money, decimals, fractions, geometry, graphs and scales” also to perform accurate and estimated computations of the four fundamental operations that can be applied to solve problems. Grade V:The pupil is expected to have mastered central concepts and to carry out skills on the fundamental operations on whole numbers, “demonstrate understanding of concepts and perform skills on fractions, decimals including money, ratio, percent, geometry, measurement and graphs” accurate and estimated computations of the four fundamental operations and rational numbers including money and measurement that can be applied to solve problems.
Grade VI:The pupil is expected to have mastered central concepts and to carry out skills on the fundamental operations on whole numbers, “demonstrate understanding of concepts and perform skills on decimals, fractions, ratio and proportion, percent, integers, simple probability, geometry, measurement and graphs, integers” accurate and estimated computations of the four fundamental operations that involves decimals, money, fractions and measurement that can be applied to solve problems. The objectives and main goal for Mathematics teaching is clearly shown when you observe a Mathematics class in an elementary school and even when you observe your surroundings, in a store, in cooking, and in measuring things. These are the practical uses of Mathematics in our lives. The following are the goals of Science teaching that should serve as a guide in teaching Science lessons and conducting activities for students in
Primary and Secondary Schools: 1. Develop scientific attitudes and values 2. Acquire skill in employing the scientific method 3. Gain functional knowledge and information 4. Arouse and sustain interest in future science-based pursuits 5. Develop desirable social attitudes There are differences and similarities in the goals and specific objectives of teaching Mathematics and Science to students. These are to instill the right attitude and values towards working on both of the subject matter. Even though Mathematics and Science are technical subjects and special bodies of knowledge, values are always included in dealing with both subjects.