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Southampton Education School

Research Group: Mathematics, Science and Health Education Research Centre

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Southampton's Mathematics, Science and Health Education (MSHE) Research Centre is committed to building on its internationally excellent and world-leading reputation for research in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Co-director of the Centre

Co-director of the Centre

The MSHE Research Centre’s experts staff are conducting research and developing theory to address a variety of significant questions arising in policy, practice and academic knowledge in MSHE areas.

The Centre's aim is to sustain national and international recognition as a centre of excellence in research, to create new knowledge through research and to provide a base for international research and collaboration.

The Centre is also committed to:

  • Expanding interdisciplinary research collaboration
  • Facilitating the training of STEM students
  • Exploring STEM engagement including the links between science and health literacy
  • Exploring students' conceptual understanding of early mathematics, reasoning skills, computational thinking, and emotional and social development
  • Evaluating teachers' professional development, its effectiveness and impact on students and teachers in mathematics, science and health education
  • Promoting decision-making and argumentation skills for engagement with socio-scientific issues (particularly nature conservation, environmental and health issues)
  • Investigating the use of digital technologies as pedagogical tools and new technologies for teaching and learning in mathematics, science and health education
  • Designing, developing and evaluating curriculum resources for classroom teaching and learning in mathematics, science and health education

For our most up-to-date events and activities visit our blog.

Research Projects

enGasia project

Summary of the project

In international comparisons for mathematics like PISA and TIMSS, Asia outperforms England considerably. For geometry this difference is even greater. With a new maths curriculum coming into play in England in 2014, this project aims to compare geometry education in England, Japan and Hong Kong and to find out how an interactive electronic book could improve geometry teaching. Based on specific characteristics of the participating countries two digital resources (electronic books) will be designed. They are then implemented in classrooms in those countries. The methodology will include a more qualitative approach based on lesson observations and a quasi-experimental element. The results of this will be disseminated in several publications, public workshops and a dedicated weblog. The proposed project will result in a close collaborative network between England, Japan and Hong Kong.

Phases of the project

There are three research phases in the methodology for this project:

  1. Identifying the challenges to be resolved by ICT by getting a clear picture of the contextual factors in the three participating countries.
  2. Designing two interactive 20 page electronic textbooks on mutually agreed topic of 2D geometry for 12-16 yr olds toward addressing these challenges.
  3. Examining the effect of the electronic textbooks by implementing the digital resources in one HK, JP and ENG classroom per annum. The methodology will consist of a combination of: (i) lesson observations along the lines of the TIMSS 1999 video study and Lesson Study (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999) and (ii) a quasi-experimental approach.

The project was conducted from 2014 to 2017.

For more information about the project please contact Christian Bokhove (


Towards a School Mathematics Project 2.0

Summary of the project

The School Mathematics Project was an iconic project from the 60s and later on by the University of Southampton. Recently the archive and copyright of these materials returned to our university. This ESRC impact project will explore whether and how we can revive these quality resources and explore how we can transform SMP into an SMP 2.0. The project has four aims. First, it will map and digitise key parts of the archive. Second, it will map the archive against the current KS3 and KS4 curriculum. Third, it will collect and evaluate views on the SMP materials. Finally, these three aims will then culminate in a feasibility report. Is it feasible to breathe new life in the original project, and create new versions of the textbooks, integrating a firm research component. The project is a collaboration between the Southampton Education School, three schools in the region, and the Mathematics department. The project will have substantial user engagement, genuine collaboration and co-design with classroom practitioners. Find out more on the project website or contact Christian Bokhove (



Summary of the project

LifeLab is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning education programme, which draws on our research on decision-making about socio-scientific issues, and is impacting teenagers' understanding of the science behind health issues and encouraging them to lead healthier lifestyles. LifeLab is based at a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility at the heart of University Hospital Southampton and has received wide-ranging, high-profile endorsements as a new and innovative approach. Since opening in 2013, over 11,000 school students and over 300 teachers have been through the nationally accredited LifeLab programme. The LifeLab intervention has resulted in more positive attitudes towards health among the teenagers, and a greater desire to follow science-related careers. LifeLab was featured in a BBC Horizon programme "Why are we getting so fat?", which attracted 1.82 million viewers. In the programme, the presenter and renowned scientist Dr Giles Yeo visited LifeLab to explore the work with school students, and he said "As a scientist, I love this place, as a parent I LOVE this place".

Find out more on the project website or contact Kath Woods-Townsend (, Marcus Grace ( or Janice Griffiths (


Cultural rules and uses of written numerals in children's everyday environments

Summary of the project

This 26-month Leverhulme project employs qualitative methods and participatory data-collection tools to trace and analyse preschool children's understanding of the cultural rules that govern the use of written numbers in everyday contexts, alongside the development of their own mathematical notations, longitudinally, over their transition from preschool to Reception.

For more information, please contact Charis Voutsina (


The Wonder of Nature

Summary of the project

The focus for this project is designing, implementing and evaluating ways to improve public connection and engagement with nature. Drawing on evidence-based research, we are working in partnership with the National Trust at their Mottesfont estate in Hampshire, to test an innovative model for engaging people with nature, both emotionally and cognitively. The outputs include a pedagogical toolkit for designing and delivering 'Discovering Nature' walks for those with minimal knowledge and experience of nature. These walks are complemented and enhanced by the development of an online and face-to-face community of interest for those with a common interest in nature at the site (such as visitors, outdoor guides, countryside rangers and local experts).

For more information, please contact Marcus Grace (, Janice Griffiths ( or Carys Hughes (


ENEC – European Network for Environmental Citizenship, Cost Action CA16229

Summary of the project

The European Network for Environmental Citizenship (ENEC) is a four-year Cost Action network that aims to improve understanding and assessment of environmental citizenship in European societies and participating countries through Education for Environmental Citizenship (EEC). The Action focuses on the conceptualization of Education for Environmental Citizenship and contributes towards developing research paradigms and metrics for assessing Environmental Citizenship. Good examples and best educational practices leading to pro-environmental attitudes, behaviour and values are also highlighted and promoted.

Find out more on the project website, or contact Andri Christodoulou (, the Coordinator of the Early Careers Investigators Events Committee and of the Short-term scientific missions for the project.


Cell EXPLORERS Escape Room

Summary of the project

The Cell EXPLORERS Escape Room (CEER) project aims to offer relevant, up-to-date and practical science content to individuals who do not normally engage with STEM through the genre of an escape room game. CEER is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and is a collaboration between the University of Southampton, the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and the Cell EXPLORERS network - a successful science education and public engagement programme delivering STEM activities throughout Ireland. CEER will be co-created with teenagers, teachers, scientists and education specialists. Research will follow the development of the project and the learning outcomes of the final product.

For more information, please contact Ran Peleg (


Cross-curricular inquiry-based learning about socio-scientific issues

Summary of the project

This project is being carried out in partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Education and is investigating how English and Japanese secondary students engage in argumentation and decision-making about socio-scientific issues. History and Science curriculums both encourage inquiry-based learning approaches, and this study explores whether students' perspectives and the nature of their discussions depends on the disciplinary context.

For more information, please contact Marcus Grace (, Andri Christodoulou ( or Rachele Morse (


Erasmus+ RiTE project

Summary of the project

The aim of the RiTE-project is to promote and facilitate (student) teachers to create an evidence informed teaching practice in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. In this project, (student) teachers are stimulated to use evidence from educational and scientific research to experiment and innovate their teaching and learning processes. Five partners from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland are working together on this in different 'teacher training contexts'. We further collaborate with the Dudoc Network.

For more information, please contact Christian Bokhove (, Ros Hyde ( or Lucy Hoyes (


World Class Maths: two online courses with publisher MacMillan

Summary of the project

The Southampton Education School has developed two online courses on Asian Mathematics with MacMillan.
Asian Maths Teaching Methods
World Class Maths Practice

For more information, please contact Christian Bokhove (

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