Science & Education

, Volume 16, Issue 7–8, pp 725–749 | Cite as

The Model-Based View of Scientific Theories and the Structuring of School Science Programmes

  • Maria DevelakiEmail author


Model theory in contemporary philosophy of science interprets scientific theories as sets of models, and contributes significantly to the understanding of the relation between theories, models, and the real world. The clarification of this relation is fundamental for the understanding of the nature of scientific methods and scientific knowledge and can contribute to the shaping of epistemologically pertinent educational models in science education. We initially present a reconstruction of the most important model-based contributions concerning mainly the nature, construction and the functions of theoretical models. Our interest focuses particularly on the theory structure scheme of the model-based view, which Ronald Giere explicitly formulated using as a paradigm the structuring of classical mechanical models, and which we extend to become a base for a structuring of basic quantum mechanical models. We consider this scheme to provide an adequate basis for the structuring of school science contents; and further propose in outline a way of structuring typical physics content, in which the topics are presented as theoretical models of the same theory, together with the modelling rules that led to their construction, and also some examples of their empirical application.


Nature of science Model based view Theoretical models Theory structure Theories Models and real world Classical mechanics and quantum mechanics Science education 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental School of the Aristotelian Univeristy of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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