The potential of palaeontology for science education


  • Eliza Jarl Estrup University of Copenhagen; Geocenter Møns Klint
  • Marianne Achiam University of Copenhagen



palaeontology, educational significance, primary school, secondary school


Science education frequently portrays science as a monolithic and experimental endeavour. Here, we argue that to counteract this simplistic conception of science, a reintroduction of the historically oriented sciences is in order. To this end, we analyse the discipline of palaeontology and its educational relevance. Using Kuhn’s disciplinary matrix, we deconstruct palaeontology into elements for educational purposes, and subsequently examine how these elements can be utilised to enrich contemporary science curricula. We conclude by discussing how including palaeontology in science education encourages diversity, pluralism, and ultimately, public interest in science.

Author Biographies

Eliza Jarl Estrup, University of Copenhagen; Geocenter Møns Klint

Eliza Estrup has an MSc in palaeontology, and a PhD in Science Education. Her PhD was successfully completed in 2018 in collaboration between the Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen and the geoscience centre Geocenter Møns Klint. Her research concerns the ways in which palaeontological disciplinary knowledge, values, and practices are transformed in the development of palaeontology dissemination and the implications these transformations have for learners.

Marianne Achiam, University of Copenhagen

Marianne Achiam is an associate professor at the Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen. She has an MSc in Biology and a PhD in Science Education. Her research interests include science dissemination in out-of-school contexts, and the cultural, institutional, and didactical conditions that co-determine this science dissemination. She is leads the Departmental research group on science education in out-of-school settings (


Additional Files





Curriculum development, projects and networks