TAN Ter Ming, Timothy


Natural Sciences & Science Education (NSSE)

Office Location

MSc, PhD


Office Telephone Number

Research Interests
design-based inquiry, maker education, molecular biology, STEM integration

  • Timothy obtained a BSc (Honours) in Biochemistry and worked at Tan Tock Seng Hospital as a Medical Technologist prior to receiving his MSc from NIE/NTU for his work on the serological diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. In 2019, he obtained his PhD in Science Education from NIE/NTU. From 2003 to early 2009, he taught a variety of life science in-service courses at the DNA Centre @ NIE, with a focus on molecular biology and DNA science, as well as academic courses in the life sciences at all levels. Since 2008, his teaching portfolio has broadened to include curriculum studies in science and technology subjects.

    A lifelong 'maker', Timothy's interests in both teaching and his current research, are in the teaching of science with an integrated approach through STEM integration and the use of design-and-make activities. He has always been keen to develop teaching materials, laboratory activities and demonstrations that cater to the needs of teachers in the integrated, interdisciplinary teaching of the natural sciences in schools. In particular, he is interested in approaches that in recent years have become defined as 'maker culture', such as where learners learn science by building their own instrumentation or devices. He is also interested in the use of technology in science education, such as using connected internet of things (IoT) sensors for data acquisition and analysis for applied learning; and in the use of 360-degree photo/video media for immersive learning environments (ILE). See examples in this Outreach Video.
    Currently, Timothy teaches pre-service curriculum studies in Computer Applications (CPA) and Primary Science, selected in-service courses in Primary and Lower Secondary Science, as well as undergraduate academic subject courses in molecular genetics and biotechnology. He is also part of the team at the meriSTEM@NIE Centre.

    Academic Background
    • PhD 2019, NIE/NTU, Singapore 
    • MSc 1999, NIE/NTU, Singapore
    • BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry 1995, University of Kent, UK
    Professional Organisations
    • International Affiliate Member, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    • Member, European Science Education Research Association (ESERA)
    • Member, The Australian Science Education Research Association (ASERA)
    • Member, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA)
    • Member, The Singapore Institute of Biology (SIBiol)
    • Excellence in Teaching Commendation 2012 and 2018
    • Nanyang Award for Teamwork 2012 (for IBO 2012 Organising Committee)

    Current courses:

    • QCQ52A Instructional Approaches to Computer Applications
    • QCQ52B Topics in Computer Applications
    • QCQ52C Curriculum, Practices, and Assessment in Computer Applications
    • QCQ52D Further Topics in Computer Applications
    • QCS50H Informal Science Learning Environments for Primary Science
    • AAB10C Basic Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
    • AAB20A Current Genetics
    • AAB40A Introduction to Biotechnology
    • ACS20A Curriculum and Practices for Primary Science
    • INS1015 An Integrated Thematic Approach to Teaching Primary Science
    • INS2178 Integrated Lower Secondary Science: A Thematic Approach 
    • INS4407 Introduction to Themes in Primary Science - Energy in Primary Science

    Past courses:

    • QCS50D Curriculum and Inquiry in Primary Science 
    • QCS50G Pedagogies for Primary Science
    • INS4406 Introduction to Themes in Primary Science - Interactions in Primary Science
    • AGE195 Chemistry for Life Sciences
    • BI6101 Introductory Biology (for NTU's MSc in Bioinformatics programme, 2003-2012)
    • And other science and technology courses for BSc/BA, Diploma, PGDE, and in-service programmes
    Research Interests
    • STEM Integration and Design-based Inquiry (DBI) with the microbial fuel cell
    • Developing teaching demonstrations, hands-on activities, and immersive media-based learning environments
    • Use of technology (e.g. IoT-connected sensors) for applied learning and the development of skills in science
    • Maker culture: Building of DIY/improvised instrumentation as a means to learn science, and to foster the development of critical and inventive thinking
    Professional Activities
    • Member, Organising Committee, International Science Education Conference (ISEC), Singapore (2006, 2009, 2014, 2018, 2021)
    • Member, Organising Committee, 23rd International Biology Olympiad, Singapore (2012)
    • Represented Singapore as an Observer at the 20th International Biology Olympiad, Tsukuba, Japan (2009)
    • Editor, SIBiol Bulletin (2007 - 2010)
    • Council Member, The Singapore Institute of Biology (2006 - 2013)
    • Honorary Treasurer, The Singapore Institute of Biology (2003 - 2006)
    Conferences & Workshops
    • European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) Conference 2019, Bologna, Italy, 2019.
    • International Science Education Conference (ISEC) 2018, Singapore, 2018.
    • 2017 Korean Association for Science Education (KASE) International Conference, Seoul, Korea, 2017.
    • 46th Annual Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) Conference, Perth, Australia, 2015.
    • International Science Education Conference (ISEC), Singapore, 2014.
    • 41st SEFI (European Society of Engineering Education) Annual Conference, Leuven, Belgium, 2013.
    • 2nd P-12 Engineering and Design Research Summit, Washington DC, USA, 2012.
    • East-Asian Association for Science Education (EASE) Conference, Gwangju, Korea, 2011 (Workshop).
    Web Links
    • Tan, T.T.M. (2018). Learning@NIE. Internet Sensation! Using IoT-connected Sensors for Applied Learning., 2018, 38-39.
    • Tan, T. (2017). OER Knowledge Bites. Approaching STEM integration., Volume 5, 13-14.
    • Lee, P.P.F., Teo, Y.C., Tan, T.T.M.*, & Koh, K.J.T. (2011). A Model for the Teaching of Column Separation Science. The Chemical Educator, 16:109-113. DOI: 10.1333/s00897102352a
    • Tan et al. (2007), 'Gel Electrophoresis: DNA Science without the DNA!', Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 35(5):342-349. DOI: 10.1002/bmb.83
    • Outbreak Simulator: Can you flatten the curve? on Scratch (MIT). Code is open-source, CC-BY-SA 2.0.
    • Outreach Video: NIE Staff Feature - Dr Timothy Tan - Inspiring Learning, Transforming Teaching @ NIE. https://youtu.be/XF2J0U9TLro