Science & Education

, Volume 26, Issue 1–2, pp 125–139 | Cite as

The Case for Natural History

  • Heather King
  • Marianne Achiam


Fundamental knowledge of natural history is lacking in many western societies, as demonstrated by its absence in school science curricula. And yet, to meet local and global challenges such as environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change, we need to better understand the living and non-living parts of the natural world. Many have argued passionately for an increased understanding of natural history; others have developed successful pedagogical programmes for applying knowledge of natural history in environmental initiatives. In joining wider calls, we choose here to focus on the educational value afforded by understanding the epistemological bases of natural history and its particular forms of reasoning. We also briefly discuss the ways in which an education in natural history provides the foundation for environmental and social justice efforts that directly affect the lives of young people and their communities. We end by highlighting the ease by which natural history may be incorporated in learning opportunities both in and outside of the classroom.


Natural History Social Justice Natural History Museum Inductive Reasoning Abductive Reasoning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Communication and SocietyKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Science EducationUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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