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ReleQuant develops digital, research-based learning resources in general relativity and quantum physics for upper secondary physics. Practicing physics teachers as well as physics teacher students are included in the project through ReleQuant Competence.

ReleQuant combines:

- development of digital learning resources

- research on pupils' learning processes and motivation in physics

- research on how the collaboration develops competence in the involved practitioner groups: teacher students, teachers and researchers

Logo by pupils from Lillestrøm upper secondary school (2012-2013)

About the project

ReleQuant's objectives are:

1.    to develop digital learning resources in quantum physics and general relativity that

  • are in line with the competence aims of the Norwegian upper secondary physics curriculum
  • let pupils develop their understanding of physics collaboratively by „talking physics“ and „writing physics“
  • make use of IT resources such as animations and simulations where appropriate
  • motivate by showing the relevance of modern physics for pupils' interests and for their educational and career plans
  • encourage reflections on historical and philosophical perspectives on science - for example by presenting physicists and their various interpretations of physical phenomena
  • clarify the principles that classical physics is built upon to make clear that modern physics drastically changes these underlying principles

2.    to study how learning resources function in classroom settings and to get insight into pupils’ motivation, conceptual understanding and learning processes in modern physics

3.    to create and investigate a community of practice where physics teachers, science education researchers and teacher educators, and teacher students work together on research-based development of varied and engaging teaching in physics

Digital learning resources on (platform run by the Norwegian Centre for Science Education)

The programme "Kvantefysikk" (The English version "Quantum physics" can be found here) was released on October 20th, 2016, after four rounds of classroom trials.

The programme "Generell relativitetsteori" was released in January 2018, also after several rounds of classroom trials.The English version "General Relativity" can be found here)

Screenshots from the ReleQuant material

The background for the ReleQuant project is:

  • scarcity of both Norwegian and international research on pupils’ understanding and learning in modern physics
  • generally less teaching experience in modern physics than in classical physics among teachers
  • the competence aims in moderne physics in the Norwegian upper secondary physics curriculum are new and rather special for Norway
  • scarcity of research-based knowledge about suitbale teaching resources to meet these competence aims


The competence aims in the curriculum that the ReleQuant resources are developed for, are: 

  • ... give a qualitative description of the general theory of relativity
  • give an account of Einstein’s explanation of photoelectric effect, and give a qualitative account of how results from experiments with photoelectric effect, Compton scattering and the wave nature of particles represents a break with classical physics
  • give an account of Heisenberg’s uncertainty relations, describe the phenomena ”entangled photons” and give an account of their cognitive* consequences
  • elaborate on and discuss how various theories of physics can exist side by side, even though they are contradictory
  • give an example of a scientific conflict that has been resolved and how, and an example of a scientific conflict that remains unresolved and why
  • describe physical principles behind medical examinations such as X-rays,..

* "epistemological consequences" would, in ReleQuant's opinion, be a better translation

The methodological framework that ReleQuant relies on is called Educational Design Research. Important characteristics of this framework are:

  • the aim of building a bridge between research and practical classroom application
  • the development of materials practices that work in classroom settings, in parallel with establishing evidence-based knowledge  about pupils’ learning processes
  • repeated rounds of development and testing in close collaboration with practicing teachers

In ReleQuant, this is done by

  • testing the learning resources in classrooms at the University of Oslo’s partner schools
  • developing content and new approaches for each round of testing
  • studying the use of the learning resources and pupils’ motivation and learning progress with the help of observations, video- and audio-recording, collection of pupils’ oral and written responses, as well as interviews with pupils and teachers

The first round of testing that included the first modules on quantum physics started in spring 2014. In spring 2017, the module on general relativity is tested for the third time while the finished programme in quantum physics is used for the first time.

Management and funding

The physics education group at the Department of physics, University of Oslo (UiO) manages the ReleQuant project, which is conducted in collaboration with

The project started in spring 2013 and will run until about 2019. The project is supported financially by


Kersting, Magdalena (2018). General Relativity – Why high school students should learn about Einstein’s most revolutionary idea.

Blair, David; Henriksen, Ellen Karoline & Hendry, Martin (2016). Why don’t we teach Einstein’s theories in school? The Conversation, 20 December 2016

Tellefsen, Cathrine Wahlstrøm & Henriksen, Ellen Karoline (2016, 27 December). For hver etasje du går oppover i en trapp, eldes du raskere.Titan (News site for the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural sciences. UiO), 27 December 2016 

Vinjusveen, H.M. and Bungum, B. (2016). ‘From the cat’s point of view’: upper secondary physics students’ reflections on Schrödinger’s thought experiment. Physics Education 51 (5), 055009.

Bungum, B., Angell, C., Tellefsen, C.W. and Henriksen, E.K. (2016). Physics students’ understanding of fundamental principles in quantum physics. In J. Lavonen, K. Juuti, J. Lampiselkä, A. Uitto & K. Hahl (Eds.), Electronic Proceedings of the ESERA 2015 Conference. Science education research: Engaging learners for a sustainable future. Helsinki, Finland: University of Helsinki.

Angell, C., Bungum, B., Bøe, M.V. and Henriksen, E.K. (2016). Relativitetsteori og kvantefysikk i vgs: Forskning og utvikling av et skoleprosjekt. Fra Fysikkens Verden  Nr 1 - 2016, pp. 21-25.

Bungum, Berit and Tellefsen, Cathrine Wahlstrøm (2016). Bruk av språk og diskusjoner for å fremme elevers forståelse i kvantefysikk gjennom digitale ressurserNordisk tidsskrift for pedagogikk og kritikk 2 (1). 

Henriksen, Ellen Karoline; Angell, Carl and Tellefsen, Cathrine W. (2015): Prosjekt ReleKvant: Skreddersydde læringsressurser i fysikk, utviklet av forskere, lærere og lektorstudenter. I U. Rindal, A. Lund, og R. Jakhelln (Red.). Veier til fremragende lærerutdanning. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget

Angell, Carl; Bøe, Maria Vetleseter and Henriksen, Ellen K. (2015). Kva er lys, eigentleg? Kva seier naturvitskapen, og kva tenkjer elevane? Naturfag 2/15, s.  10-13.

Bungum, Berit; Henriksen, Ellen Karoline; Angell, Carl; Tellefsen, Cathrine Wahlstrøm & Bøe, Maria Vetleseter (2015). ReleQuant - improving teaching and learning in quantum physics through educational design research :. Nordina: Nordic studies in science education.  ISSN 1894-1257.  11(2), pp. 153- 168

Henriksen, Ellen Karoline; Bungum, Berit; Angell, Carl; Tellefsen, Cathrine Wahlstrøm; Frågåt, Thomas & Bøe, Maria Vetleseter (2014). Relativity, quantum physics and philosophy in the upper secondary curriculum: Challenges, opportunities and proposed approaches. Physics Education.  ISSN 0031-9120.  49(6), pp. 678- 684 . doi: 10.1088/0031-9120/49/6/678

Research from ReleQuant have also been presented at 

  • NARST Conference, Baltimore, April 2016 (se konferansebidraget HER)
  • "Från forskning till fysikundervisning", Malmö, March 2016
  • ESERA Conference, Helsinki, September 2015
  • Nordic Physics Days, Trondheim, June 2015
  • FoU i praksis, Trondheim, April 2015
  • Landskonferanse for fysikkundervisning, August 2014
  • NFSUN Conference, Helsinki, June 2014
  • Realfagskonferansen, Trondheim, April 2014
Tags: Physics education, general relativity, quantum physics, physics teacher education
Published Jan. 4, 2016 11:26 AM - Last modified Feb. 22, 2018 10:30 AM