Science & Education

, Volume 17, Issue 2–3, pp 179–218 | Cite as

Towards a Curricular Model of the Nature of Science

  • Keith S. Taber


The nature of science is a complex theme, and continues to be the subject of advanced and ongoing scholarship, drawing upon a range of disciplines. Therefore, whatever is presented in school science as being ‘the’ nature of science must at best be a simplification, and so there is a need to form judgements about which simplifications are most appropriate. Effective ‘curricular models’ of science concepts are designed simplifications of scientific models that guide teachers by indicating target knowledge that is deemed appropriate in terms of the prior learning and conceptual development of a group of learners, and which is both ‘intellectually honest’ and a suitable basis for further learning. A similar approach can guide teaching about the nature of science. A consideration of the English National Curriculum offers an example of how aims relating to the teaching of the nature of science may not be realised in the absence of a suitable explicit curricular model to guide teaching.


curricular models models: scientific–curricular–teaching nature of science in school science optimum level of simplification target knowledge 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith S. Taber
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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