Mathematics Teaching and Learning

The main theme of the research group is Mathematics Teaching and Learning. The research group is set up with the overall goal to strengthen the mathematics didactic research at Nord University and, in this way, both contribute to the enhancement of the research competence of the members of the group and to the improvement of the quality of mathematics teacher education.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The research group is a part of the research division Teacher Education.
The goal of the research group is rooted in the faculty’s research strategy and is in line with the strategy’s major goal “to develop both the professional field, the education we offer and the research-based knowledge related to this”. 

The research group is working on the realization of this goal by discussing teaching issues, informing each other by staff colloquia, sharing and discussing relevant research literature, discussing new calls for research proposals, setting up small studies with students, preparing conference presentations, providing mutual feedback on articles group members are writing. 

The focus of interest of the research group is on teaching and learning in mathematics in kindergarten, primary and secondary school and teacher education.

Active research projects

Learing opportunities in textbooks

Project leader: Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen

Objective: Textbook analysis research

Programming (coding) in school

Project leader: Asif Mushtaq ​

Objective: To do research connected to the introduction of coding in primary and lower secondary school.

In the last decades computer technology has changed our society in a radical way; for better or worse we are experiencing a seemingly unstoppable revolution driven by computers and algorithms. Children of today grow up in a world where they meet and interact with information technology almost everywhere. It is natural for the schools to reflect this reality. But how? 

The challenges associated with introducing digital technology as a subject in school, and in the institutions that educate schoolteachers, are manifold. As a part of their “Digitalization Strategy for Basic Education 2017-2021”, the Norwegian Ministry of Education has introduced coding (programming) as an elective subject in lower secondary school and started a national experiment with coding as a programme subject in upper secondary school.  Are the schools ready for this task? Are our students in the teacher education ready? Are there currently sufficient general programming skills among teachers for this task? Among the established teachers? Among the ones that are now in training? 
In this project, we work on these challenges and how they can be met.

Key accomplishments so far:

  • Fall 2019 (October 2019): Organized a kick-off seminar at Nord University, Bodø campus, where around 30 experts and participants took part nationally.

  • Spring 2020 (January 2020): Workshop was arranged for master’s student GLU4 (Bodø Campus) to introduce programming first time.

  • Special workshop on programming for 2nd year students MAGLU program in Fall 2020 and 2021.

  • September 2020: Conducted two workshops on Forskningsdagene 2020 for Videregående skole students  having a title “Micro:bit som hjerne for mange aktiviteter”.

  • March 2021: Conducted a workshop on programming at Levanger campus for 2nd year students.

  • Merged this idea of programming in the EEA-project iTEM.

  • Conducted virtual workshop on programming in spring 2021 for MAGLU4 students at Nesna and Bodø campuses.

  • Conducted physical workshop on programming at Nesna campus in Fall 2021.

  • Workshop on programming at TU Liberec, Czech Republic.

  • Established cooperation between different campuses of Nord university through programming.

At TU-Liberec Czech Republic.


Project leader: Øyvind Jacobsen Bjørkås

We investigate the learning of flexible strategies through a classroom design in which the digital geoboard is used as a short intervention. We find that students using the digital geoboard develop more flexible strategies for finding the area of polygons. In the current step, we investigate whether the flexibility is greater among students using the digital geoboard than among students working traditionally, by a design experiment with approximately 100 students in grade 6.

Bjørkås and Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen (2019). Measuring area on the geoboard focusing on using flexible strategies. Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education, Utrecht University, Feb 2019, Utrecht, Netherlands. ⟨hal-02402122⟩
Bjørkås (2019). Elevers læring av matematisk argumentasjon - et designeksperiment med digitalt geobrett. I Lekang og Olsen (red.): Teknologi og læringsmiljø. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

iTEM- improving Teacher Education in Mathematics​​

Project leader: Klaus-Peter Eichler 

The aims and objectives:

  • ​To prepare teacher students to master the challenges of the increasing diversity of students in a class. 

  • To prepare teacher students to meet the challenges of using digital tools both as a subject and as a tool for teaching.

  • To give the experience and practice interesting motivating possibilities of using hardware and software such as mathematikus, GeoGebra, micro:bit, and 3D printing to the student teachers as well teachers of the universities. 

  • To improve their diagnostic skills of the students so that they can use the software as a tool in the classroom.

  • To give the first starting point for the upcoming research activities regarding digital inclusion in mathematics teaching.

  • To enhance the mutual cooperation in mathematics education and between two universities of Norway and Czech Republic

Project members/partner

Nord University, Bodø Norway

1. Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Eichler (Project leader)
2. Dr. Dag Oskar Madsen (Associate professor of mathematics)
3. Dr. Asif Mushtaq (Associate professor of mathematics)

Project members- TU University Liberec Czech Republic

1. Dr. Daniela Bimova 
2. Dr. Petra Pirklová
3. Dr. Jiří Břehovský

Activities and implementation of the project:

  • Kick-off-Meeting in Bodø (September 2020)
This meeting was held online via team where all members of the project got to know each other. This meeting was supposed to be in Bodø physically but due to Corona pandemic it was decided to hold it via teams.

Few practical futuristic decisions were taken in this meeting and worked on the future plan.

  • ​Activities at Nord university in Norway
o Development/progress of

Professor Klaus-Peter Eicher is working on the development of
For more information visit
o Activities related to Microbit 

Seminar: Forskningsdagene september 2020

Dag Madsen Oskar administered the meeting.
Klaus-Peter Eichler could not travel from Germany due to pandemic

Asif Mushtaq conducted two workshops with Bodin VG skole students on Mircobit

Topic was “Micro:bit som hjerne for mange aktiviteter” 

MODEL project

​Project leader: Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen

The “Mathematics Opportunities for Deep Learning – MODEL Project” investigates through empirical studies of textbooks, teachers’ practices and students’ competences in connection with development work done together with educators in primary school how the quality of education in primary school can be improved by offering students opportunities for developing mathematical reasoning skills in the domain of early algebra. The project group is associated with a broad network of national and international researchers.

​Picture book project​

​Project leader: Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen

The process of developing mathematical understanding starts already at a young age through the children's experiences in everyday life. Stories told in picture books can also contain events and situations that for children can be a starting point for informal mathematical problem solving. Adults reading aloud picture books can evoke children's mathematical thinking as they try to find an explanation for what is happening, and can invite them to recognize patterns. 

Several studies have already shown that reading picture books can trigger many forms of mathematics related cognitive behavior in children.

A pilot study that has just started aims to investigate how teachers can be helped to recognize mathematics-related learning supportive properties of picture books. The overall goal of the project is to develop and implement a course for professional development for kindergarten teachers on how they can use picture books as a didactic tool in the activities with children.

The project is a joint project of Nord University and the University of Cyprus.

Output so far:
Iliada Elia, Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, Dag Oskar Madsen, Eleni Deliyianni, Cathrine Bjerknes (2021). Teachers’ awareness of the learning-supportive characteristics of picture books in early mathematics. Presentation at the 19th Biennial EARLI Conference, 23-27 August, Gothenburg (online).

Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, Iliada Elia, Dag Oskar Madsen, Eleni Deliyianni, Cathrine Bjerknes (2021). Early childhood teachers’ awareness of the characteristics of picture books for learning mathematics. Poster submitted to 12th Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME12).

Enrichment of mathematics textbook tasks (ETT)

Project leader: Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen

This project is a joint enterprise of Løpsmark School in Bodø and Nord University. It is in a way linked to the MODEL project. The goal of the ETT project is to develop and investigate opportunities for students in Grade 5 to stimulate in-dept learning and deep understanding of mathematics by offering them enriched textbook tasks.

Team involved:
Løpsmark School, Bodø: Monica Alstad, Classroom teacher
Nord University: Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, Professor, Dag Oskar Madsen, Associate Professor, 2 Master’s students.


​Project leader: Antoine Julien

Evaluation of student’s work is an indispensable part of the teacher’s profession. In the mathematical classroom the naïve perspective is that evaluation is a clear-cut process which requires little explanation – after all in mathematics the answer is either right or wrong. This view is too simplistic and misunderstands mathematics as a science. Moreover, it misses the opportunity for feedback and learning every evaluation presents.  

The SELF-M project investigates (self-)evaluation as a challenge in teacher education. We focus on effects of self-evaluation and peer-evaluation on subject-matter understanding and professional judgement of pre-service teachers. The investigation is based on the Norwegian context (lærerutdanning), in the framework of 5-year integrated teacher education.

Participants: E.I. Romijn, A.L.C. Julien, A. Schmeding

Computational thinking through geometric understanding

​Project members: Nord University: Marthe Måløy and Trygve Kvåle Løken (Associate Professors) Bankgata Middle School: Øyvind Nilsen, Anders Solbakken and Olav Myrvoll (Classroom teachers)

Computational thinking has recently been included in the primary and secondary school mathematics education curriculum in Norway, and programming is becoming an increasingly important tool for the students. However, many teachers lack the proper competence in computer programming and may struggle to implement computational thinking in their teaching. Therefore, we propose a teaching strategy for computational thinking linked to geometric understanding and drawing of geometric figures via block or line-based programming, in line with the ideas Seymour Papert introduced in the 1980s. 

The project is a joint enterprise of Nord University and Bankgata Middle School in Bodø.

Members of the research group

 Leader of research group