Earth and Universe sciences (EUS) constitute a field of knowledge and practices rooted in natural history. By focusing on specific objects or/and mobilizing different technics, they have grown by diversifying into many disciplines. In their current developments, as disciplines of research and of teaching, they are increasingly combined with other scientific fields and engaged in the treatment of interdisciplinary issues.
In what can the teaching and learning of the EUS be source of research for the didactics of the sciences? The issue is all the more necessary since the studies which relate to this science education field are few and for certain already ancient.
The contributions of the thematic section of this issue of RDST, mainly focused on the teaching and learning of geology, highlight some salient features of the EUS : the tension between functionalist and historical sciences ; the ways they construct the "reality" resting on different types of temporality and presuppositions; their relationships with other disciplines.
They help in identifying and explaining the intellectual functioning of students (their relationships to the analogy, the causalities they used) and teachers (their preliminary choices of teaching and their choices in situation), their gestures, in ordinary or forced situations. They invite to explore didactic questions related to the epistemological characteristics of the EUS, in particular their historical dimension