Metacognitive photograph analysis in physics: Enhancing students' visual literacy


  • Glenn A. Atienza ⋅ PH Philippine Science High School – MIMAROPA Region Campus


Photographs are considered as an important tool in bridging the concepts with the context of the lesson. Pictures capture students' interest in learning physics. Physics as a subject and experience needs to be illustrated and shown in context. One will not be able to fully understand a concept if it is purely abstraction. As aid for a relatively difficult subject, physics textbooks are filled with illustrations to give emphasis to situations and phenomena which are very important in conceptual understanding. As such, providing visuals in physics is crucial for student comprehension.

Metacognitive Photograph Analysis (MPA) is a teaching approach that uses student-captured photographs in analyzing physics concepts learned in class. In addition, it uses metacognition to help the learners process the analysis of their captured photographs. MPA has five (5) stages: capturing photograph, analysis writing, photo-critiquing, analysis revision and photo-selection. Each stage is composed of metacognitive questions imploring the learners to comprehend, connect, strategize, and reflect about their analyses based on the inputs given by their classmates. These questions are based on the four types of metacognitive questions used by Kramarski (2003). These include comprehension questions, connection questions, strategic questions, and reflective questions. Several observations have been noted to the class that was exposed to MPA. Students have shown to pay more attention to details, able to compare and contrast image, have shown a sense of awareness of one's ability, and emanate a positive emotion while doing photography of physics concept. Situating the teaching in the context of real-world examples will help students visualize the learning and concept being taught. Photographs must be provided with proper captions and analysis, so students could cognitively process the concept or process being taught. It must highlight the key components of the picture that is essential in understanding the concept.

About the Speaker

Glenn A. Atienza, Philippine Science High School – MIMAROPA Region Campus

Glenn Atienza finished his Bachelor of Secondary Education-Physics at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2009 and earned his Master of Arts in Education-Physics at the same university in 2019. He started teaching secondary physics in 2013 in a private school in Manila. Three years later, he transferred to his hometown to teach at the Philippine Science High School – MIMAROPA Region Campus in Odiongan, Romblon where he served as a pioneer science teacher of the school. He has been with the institution for its fifth year of operations and is currently the Curriculum and Instruction Division Chief.



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Invited Presentations



How to Cite

GA Atienza, Metacognitive photograph analysis in physics: Enhancing students’ visual literacy, Proceedings of the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas 38, SPP-2020-INV-5D-01 (2020). URL: