Teaching for Modelling Competence

Expanding the scientific basis for bridging the gap between teachers’ practices and political intentions in the realization of a modelling-oriented science curriculum in Danish lower secondary school.

PhD defense

Doctoral Candidate:

Sanne Schnell Nielsen

The defense takes place on Thursday the 20th of June 2019 12:00-15:00 at the Auditorium of Geological Museum (access through main entrance, go to first floor). Geologisk Museum, Øster Voldgade 5, 1350 København K.


Danish lower secondary science education was reformed with a new curriculum commencing in the school year 2015-2016. The new curriculum led to substantial changes in how teachers should address models, modelling and scientific inquiry in their teaching. The purpose of this PhD study is to analyse the alignment between the intentions and arguments for integrating models and modelling into science education, on the one hand, and teachers’ practices and rationales for integrating models and modelling into their teaching practice, on the other. The study not only indicates a gap in the alignment, but it also suggests that to narrow this gap, efforts are needed on both sides. The study provides multiple ideas for improving the alignment, based on opportunities and challenges on each side.

Download invitation with long abstract (pdf).

Download the thesis here (pdf).

Assessment Committee:

Associate Professor Henriette Tolstrup Holmegaard (Chair, Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen)

Professor Berit Bungum (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Docent Birgitte Lund Nielsen (Via University College)


Associate Professor, Jan Alexis Nielsen (Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen)


Docent Mia Husted (University College Copenhagen)

The PhD thesis is available to the public at the Department of Science Education, sontact: Nadja Nordmaj, email: nnordmaj@ind.ku.dk

The defense is followed by a reception hosted by the Department of Science Education. The reception takes place at the old Observatory, Øster Voldgade 3 (inside the Botanical Garden).