Research – Department of Teacher Education


The ScienceHumanities research group at Department of Teacher Education, NTNU

The ScienceHumanities research group applies perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences to the study of natural science (including science in school) as a discipline and cultural practice, past and present. We study, among other things, the history of science and science education, the (re)presentation of science in textbooks and how the Nature of Science (NOS) is taught in the classroom, cultures of writing, students’ understanding of science, and practical experiments in science teaching. 

Interview with Annette Lykknes

On-going projects

on-going projects

STEMkey (2020-2023) is an Eramus+ project which aims to transform future teachers’ approach to teaching standard STEM topics. To achieve that, we want to rethink, reshape and redirect the delivery of fundamental STEM subject knowledge in the direction of key competence development. In STEMkey, 12 partners from institutions across Europe will develop innovative teaching modules for initial teacher education to help future teachers connect standard STEM topics to real-life contexts, using an interdisciplinary approach.

Collective volume edited by Annette Lykknes and Brigitte Van Tiggelen (World Scientific, 2021)
History of science is full of examples of scientific discoveries, priority disputes related to such discoveries, and discussions on what aspects of a discovery that qualify for credit. In textbooks and popular accounts, however, discoveries are often presented as clear-cut and a point for sudden change of thought (or even as decisive for paradigm shifts), while insight into the context in which the discovery took place, the time involved in developing new knowledge, and the contributions by a range of actors of different rank, is often omitted.

This volume will focus on chemical elements and will offer well researched case studies. Questions we seek to shed light on include: How the discovery process can be reconstituted through historical documentation, how one (or more) ‘discoverers’ found their place in popular historical accounts, and what stage in a discovery constitutes the ‘discovery’. Indeed, we want to stress that discovery is a collective process and the result of narratives that are context dependent as they occur in specific time place and social settings.

Previous projects

Previous projects

Previous projects

In December 2017 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. UNESCO, scientific societies, educational and research institutions, and other organisations came together for the IYPT. The activities related to the IYPT at NTNU were coordinated by the ScienceHumanities research group, and supported by the Department of Teacher Education, the Faculty of Natural Sciences (and its Departments of Chemistry, Material Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Biotechnology and Food Science), and the Royal Norwegian Society for Sciences and Letters. Collaborators included The Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) and the Science Center in Trondheim (Vitensenteret).

A variety of activities were organised, for example Stjernestøv (“Stardust”), a “chemistry van” which has been equipped with samples of the chemical elements visiting schools in the provinces of Trøndelag; a periodic table app (currently in development); a scientific anthology, two special issues of journals, and articles; a popular science book and lectures for the general public; a web site; and two exhibitions at the Natural Science Library at NTNU, all covered variously by the press. Overall, the activities have aimed to disseminate knowledge on chemistry in general, to make sense of the periodic system and its elements in particular, and to use the history of the periodic system to show that science is a multifaceted, complex and collaborative pursuit, rather than the stand-alone achievement of individual geniuses.

Website for Periodesystemets år ved NTNU

Selected publications:

ScienceHumanities master theses

Recent master theses


Mirtachew Tihar Ali, PhD student

  • Development and Use of Low-Cost Locally Available Instructional Materials as a Vehicle for Enhancing the Quality of High School Chemistry Education in Ethiopia

Ehtegebreal Aregehagn, PhD student

  • Improving the Learning of Geometrical Optics with Multiple Representations

Madelene Losvik Berntsen

  • Understanding Temperature as Nature of Science

Synne Mogstad Høivik

  • Teachers’ perception of education for sustainable development

Jørgen Hage

  • Students’ sense of critical thinking through the use of media articles