LUMAT Research Symposium

This year’s LUMAT Research Symposium will be organized in Aalto University, Espoo in 13-14 June 2022 alongside with the LUMA-päivät (in Finnish). The program of our symposium consists of one keynote speech and oral presentations of the newest research on Science Education. The event is free of charge and you will also have the possibility to participate remotely.

The theme of this year’s symposium will be Sustainability and Education.

The registration to LUMAT Symposium has ended. If you would still like to register, please contact luma-keskus ((at))

Are you a junior researcher? See also our Summer school organized on 15 June 2022.

Keynote speech: Science education in the time of crisis – The role of teacher and student agency

On Monday 13 June, at 12.30-13.15


Veli-Matti Vesterinen

PhD Veli-Matti Vesterinen

Science Education, Chemistry Education
University Lecturer, University of Turku
Veli-Matti Vesterinen’s publications and activities


With several ongoing crises including COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, social inequality, climate change and biodiversity loss, children and youth seem to facing an increasingly worrying future. The awareness of urgent global crises has also led the science education research community to re-evaluate the purpose and goals of science education. This can be seen, for example, in the various redefinitions of scientific literacy (e.g. ‘critical scientific literacy’ or ‘Vision III: science education for transformation’). This re-evaluation of purpose can also be seen in the way Finnish national core curricula for basic education and upper secondary education highlight multidisciplinary learning and transversal competences. However, we should understand curriculum as a dialectic process. The agency of the teachers and students are central for creating any lasting change. Thus, the focus of my presentation will be the experiences and needs of the teachers and the students involved in the current transformation of education. For example, the teachers often perceive themselves as curriculum implementers and sometimes struggle with the balance between the various curricular goals. The overloaded curricula cause tensions also for the students, as they are often expected to be passive recipients of knowledge as well as active subjects engaging in socio-political action. Based on my own and others’ experiences in sustainability and climate education, I will also discuss some potential ways to support teachers’ and students’ agency.


LUMAT Symposium’s program 2022

The program will be updated during the Spring.

Monday 13 June

9.00-11.00  Registration


Opening words and Keynote: Science education in the time of crisis – The role of teacher and student agency

Venue: A-sali, Undergraduate Centre (Otakaari 1)

Veli-Matti Vesterinen, PhD, university lecturer, University of Turku

13.15-14.00  Break


Oral presentations

Venue: KE2, School of Chemical Engineering (Kemistintie 1)

Systems thinking in chemistry education in the context of sustainable development
Emmi Vuorio,
M.Sc.,doctoral researcher, University of Helsinki

Systems thinking is one of the competencies for sustainable development. In recent years it has been a special interest in chemical education research. Systems thinking is seen as an important approach to learning sustainable chemistry. It is a way of thinking that provides a more holistic perspective than the more familiar reductionist approach. Systems thinking is about seeing the whole system and understanding how it functions by studying the interactions between its parts. Building a sustainable future requires many new solutions. Beyond that, it requires new ways of problem-solving. As a method of problem-solving and a way of perceiving the problem, systems thinking can provide a fresh perspective, which is urgently needed.  

My study aims to develop a course or a teaching method for pre-service chemistry teachers, that addresses sustainable chemistry through systems thinking. For an authentic representation of systems thinking in the field of chemistry, I interview a few chemistry experts from the academy and industrial sector. The examples they provide will be used as material for the course. In this presentation, I will focus on what systems thinking is, and how it can bind together chemistry and sustainability in chemistry education.

Attuning to geostories – Learning encounters with urban plants
William Smolander, M.Sc.,doctoral researcher, University of Helsinki

Abstract: This paper is a call for educators to respond to the problematics that arise from reducing the Earth to a resource for human activities. For us, the concept of ‘Anthropocene’ is a burning invitation to rethink education by putting the human to its place. We therefore argue for a spatial-embodied conceptualization of learning, which involves the more-than-human and nonrepresentational. In this effort, we use Latour’s concept of ‘geostory’ to problematize the prevailing anthropocentrism in education. To discuss the power of experimentation, we introduce a learning exercise that took place at an urban pop-up greenhouse in Helsinki. The idea was to encourage upper secondary geography students to playfully discard their human perspective and study the city from the viewpoint of plants: to probe the presumed human/nature divide through brief but moving encounters with ‘others’. We argue that through affective encounters with nonhuman others, the Earth speaks: it tells stories with us. If we let ourselves be addressed by these encounters, geostories can temporarily re-place human-centered narrative storytelling practices (histories), voiced by the modernist ‘I’, and generate alternative forms of knowledge that emerge from our belonging together. These stories emerging from geographical experimentation entail potential to cultivate care that exceeds the human.

17.30-18.00  Voluntary tour in Otaniemi high school (Tietotie 6)
18.00-19.30  Espoo city reception and get together (Tietotie 6)

Tuesday 14 June


Oral presentations

Venue: KE2, School of Chemical Engineering (Kemistintie 1)

Reconfiguring human-nature relations through environmental art education – Potentials for transdisciplinary learning
Henrika Ylirisku, DA, university teacher, Aalto University

In the field of art education there is a diverse tradition for studying environmental phenomena and human-nature relations. Environmental art education can be aimed for advancing environmental sensitivity, to process environmental experiences and emotions, and further, to discuss problematic cultural habits and values. Likewise, artistic practice offers possibilities for influencing the living environments and the production of future imaginaries. The arts and artistic practice entail transformative potentials: they allow bridging together theoretical, practice-based and sensory ways of knowing in exploratory processes. Further, fostering dialogue and collaboration amongst different disciplines has always been at the heart of environmental art education.

In my doctoral dissertation (2021) I propose reorienting the theoretical groundings of environmental art education through posthumanist theories that allow unpacking human exceptionalism and acknowledge the human entanglement with nature and the nonhuman. In the time of eco-social crises, new subjectivities, new collaborations, and new visions of living with the more-than-human worlds are needed – particularly in education. Integrating posthumanist environmental art education with natural sciences opens possibilities to unpack anthropocentric human-nature relations through pedagogies that take into account multispecies ethics, ambiguity, and multiple ways of knowing.

Developing sustainable teacher profession from the entrance to university to the classroom interactions
 Eeva Haataja, PhD, postdoc researcher, University of Jyväskylä

The future teachers will need competences to support sustainable social interaction in their classrooms. In teacher education, the challenges of teacher profession require not only developing the teaching of the teacher-education programs, but also the processes of student selection to them. More knowledge is needed on how to select those applicants who can adopt the competences of 21st-century teacher profession. That kind of cognitive and non-cognitive skills we actually assess in the Finnish entrance exams to teacher education programs? First findings of the SITE project (University of Jyväskylä and University of Turku, funded by the Academy of Finland) will be introduced.

One of the crucial teacher competences is the ability to create and maintain high-quality classroom interaction that supports students mathematical and social learning. Recent studies with continuous measurements of teacher and student behaviors indicate that situational variations of teachers’ interpersonal behaviors and mathematical scaffolding affect the teacher-student contact. However, even in good learning interaction, some students avoid contact with the teacher. These interactions are the building blocks of the social relationships in the classrooms and therefore deserve careful examination.

13.30-14.00  Break


Oral presentations

Venue: KE2, School of Chemical Engineering (Kemistintie 1)

Role of futures in sustainability education
Tapio Rasa,
M.Sc.,doctoral researcher, University of Helsinki

The word “sustainability” implies its opposite, unsustainability – something that cannot be kept going. However, the word also implies time, and specifically a relationship between the present and the future. Thus there are educational reforms aiming at increasing students’ sustainability knowledge, and formulations for related skills which involve long-term thinking. This goal is shared with conceptualisations within the fields of futures education and future-oriented science education. In this presentation, I give a brief overview of this overlap, drawing from research within projects I am involved with as well as others. The key issues I discuss are the role of sustainability in young people’s images of the future, the importance of futures thinking skills, and the perspective of time for sustainability. Finally, I present some recent developments educational research that contribute to understanding and addressing these issues, before concluding with some questions to inspire further discussion.

Environmental education in physics teaching – teachers’ ideas and practices from Finland
Eemeli Saari, M.Sc., University of Eastern Finland, and Mikko Kesonen, PhD, project researcher, University of Eastern Finland

Abstract: Global environmental challenges, such as climate change, drive humans to adapt their behaviours and desires to more sustainable level in many parts of the globe. The next couple decades play a curial role in determining how extreme the climate will develop in the future. Therefore, students today need proper environmental education to prepare them to live in a more sustainable manner. The present study focuses on physics teachers’ ideas on how to deal with the environmental education in physics teaching. A total of 13 in-service teachers in Finland answered the electronic questionnaire in the fall 2021. According to results, the teachers considered that environmental topics tend to motivate students more than basic physics content. Regarding the implementations of environmental education, the teachers typically described small-scale practices in various contents of physics, such as electricity, thermodynamics, and properties of matter. The lack of time and proper teaching resources (e.g. content specific teaching material) were often reported as major obstacles in the process of embedding environmental education into physics teaching. These results indicate that more discipline-based approach is needed to engaged physics teachers with making stronger links between physics teaching and environmental education.

Arrival and accommodation

LUMAT symposium will be organized at the Otaniemi campus of Aalto university (Otakaari 1, Espoo). Otaniemi is located in Espoo, about 10 kilometres from the centre of Helsinki, which can be reached by metro and bus directly to the campus, and has good public transport links from other parts of Espoo and Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. There might be detours in the centre of Otaniemi due to construction work. Campus in Otaniemi is in zone B. Tickets can be bought from some bus and tram stops, metro stations or HSL’s application.

You can find the campus maps and more specific directions from the Aalto university website.

As a participant of the LUMAT symposium, you can reserve the accommodation with a lower price from some of the hotels in Helsinki or Espoo. These prices are valid for reservations from 13 June to 15 June and the reservation must be made 14 May 2022 at 8 PM the latest. Please also note that there are specific quota in each hotel reserved for us.

You can choose between following hotels:

How to make the reservation:

If you make the reservation on telephone or via email, please mention our code LUMA2022. You can also reserve rooms from Sokos hotels online. The code is then BLUMA2022.



The event is organized in cooperation with the Finnish Mathematics and Science Education Research Association.