Presenters and Program

9:00 - 9:10 am: Welcome on behalf of UNSW BEES - Merlin Crossley- Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Professor of Molecular Biology, UNSW

9:15 - 9:30 am: Welcome to Country - Aunty Yvonne Sims - Nura Gili, UNSW

Aunty Yvonne Simms is a Gweagle Bidjigal Elder, a direct descendant through Cooman and Pemulwuy bloodline through Queen Emma Waldran Lowndes and George Timbery.





9:30 - 9:40 am:  Emma Johnston - Dean of Science, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, UNSW

9:45 - 10:30 am: Keynote - Shannon Foster : Lecturer, UTS and Creative Director of Bangawarra/ D'harawal Knowledge Keeper

Nandiri’o’nya: Embedding Indigenous Perspectives; we will learn and discover, together 

(we will learn and discover together)
The new Australian Curriculum prioritises the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives as one of three major cross-curricular themes. Until very recently, the education system has been deeply entrenched in the pervasive ‘great Australian silence” (Stanner, 1968) and the ‘silent apartheid’ (Rose, 2007). So how do today's educators, with little or no formal education in Indigenous knowledges, meaningfully embed Indigenous perspectives into their curricula, particularly in science?

D’harawal Saltwater Knowledge Keeper and Sydney Traditional Owner, Shannon Foster, will discuss the protocols, ethics and ‘right way business’ of engaging with Indigenous knowledges specifically for science based education programs. Shannon will share her journeys in curriculum and program design, resource gathering and network building to provide a pathway for you to do the same in your classroom and local environment.

This talk will be a holistic investigation of some of the science and stories behind Indigenous knowledges providing you with hands on activities and programs to utilise in your classroom and learning environments. You will leave the workshop with increased subject knowledge, a fresh ‘community of practice’ and renewed confidence to infuse your own programs with engaging and authentic Indigenous content.

Shannon Foster is a D'harawal Saltwater Knowledge Keeper, artist and interdisciplinary creative practitioner with over twenty years of experience in designing education programs and spaces in prominent learning institutions including Australian Museum, City of Sydney, Sydney Living Museums and Royal Botanic Gardens. Most recently, Shannon has lectured in the UTS School of Architecture in the Masters of Architecture program to collaboratively manifest the Miluni (mud) Songline of the Badu Mangrove forest at Sydney Olympic Park. This project used clay-based robotic 3D printing technologies to create memory spaces that engaged with the local Indigenous stories of the space. Shannon’s doctoral research with the Centre for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges (UTS) addresses a large gap in site-specific, Sydney based Aboriginal knowledge and research methodologies. Her work documents the stories and knowledges of her notable family, the D’harawal people of the Sydney region and the ways in which they have resisted colonisation and survived to be here today to tell their stories.


Palaeoconservation: Learning from the past, to understand the present, to better conserve the future; OR…why ecologists should talk to palaeontologists about conservation

Prof. Mike Archer, PANGEA Research Centre, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 11:00 - 12:00 am

Subject: Biology

One of the key conclusions of the Federal Government’s Conservation Strategy 2010-2030 was that ‘Business as usual is no longer an option’. Traditional approaches to conserving our biota, while vitally important, are insufficient to slow the rate of extinction of endangered species with worrying estimates that up to 50% of species in, e.g., the World Heritage Wet Tropics forests, will be extinct by 2100 (Prof. Stephen Williams, JCU). Given this depressing outlook, I would argue that we have a moral responsibility to explore all non-traditional strategies that might help to slow this cascade of extinctions. Because 99% of the life span of species exists in their past, one of these strategies should be to seek information from the fossil record about potential resilience to adapt to a wider range of habitats than those in which species are now struggling to survive.

Palaeoconservation is a new discipline that is based on the need to learn from the past, to understand the present, to better conserve our biota into the future. In some cases, such as the Critically Endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum, this search for wisdom about resilience has extended back millions of years to discover that they are now just hanging on in a climate-change-threatened environment that is far from optimum for their lineage. In turn, this has led to a proposal for a conservation translocation that would not have occurred to modern ecologists. Ecophysiology and captive breeding provide additional evidence that establishing a colony of these possums in a lowland, wet forest environment should give them the greatest chance for survival into the future. Other species here and around the world that could benefit from this ‘four-dimensional’ perspective will be discussed, as will other ‘non-traditional’ strategies currently of interest globally as ways to optimise biodiversity into the future.

What we urgently need now are open-minds, acceptance of past failures, and commitment to do whatever it takes, however seemingly ‘unorthodox’, to better manage this crisis.

Prof. Mike Archer (BA, Princeton University; PhD, UWA) has been totally addicted to fossils since he was 11. Although he was born in Australia in 1945, he grew up in the rural town of Pine Plains, New York. In 1967 he took up a Fulbright Fellowship to spend a year searching for fossils in Australia. He quickly became fascinated by the living mammals as well as fossils of Australia and decided to stay. He has been a Research Associate in the Western Australian Museum, Curator of Mammals at the Queensland Museum, Director of the Australian Museum in Sydney, Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales and Professor and member of the PANGEA Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. He has a wide range of Fellowships and awards including an AM, FAA, DistFRSN, FRZS, FACE etcetera. His research has focused on the deep past such as the fossil deposits of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, the fragile present such as conservation through sustainable use of native resources including having native animals as pets, saving endangered living species based on the wisdom of the fossil record, and trying to bring extinct species (e.g., the Thylacine and Gastric-brooding Frog) back into the world of the living. He has supervised/co-supervised with his partner Prof. Suzanne Hand more than 50 higher degree research students and produced well over 300 scientific publications with hopefully many more of both to come.

Teaching Indegenous outcomes in Investigating Science

Dr Silvia Rudmann, DoeNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 11:00 - 12:00 am

Subject: Investigating Science

The Investigating Science Syllabus covers many indigenous outcomes in both year 11 and year 12 courses. According to the syllabus students have to be provided with 'opportunities to learn about how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have developed and refined knowledge about the world through observation, making predictions, testing (trial and error) and responding to environmental factors within specific contexts' (IS Syllabus 2017). Therefore, this workshop will explain how to teach those outcomes and how to differentiate them to cover the needs of a wide range of students. Ethical implications in the teaching of the outcomes will be discussed together with practical teaching strategies that may be applied in the classroom.

Dr Silvia Rudmann has been teaching for over 20 years. Firstly at University and later on in public high schools. Her passion for Science and gifted education lead her to complete her PhD in Biology and the GERRIC certificate in gifted education with the UNSW. She is currently teaching selective classes at Gorokan High School (Central Coast of NSW) and she is a staff member and researcher of Aurora College (selective virtual school) teaching for the remote and rural education initiative. As a HSC marker for 10 years, she has vast experience in understanding what is expected for students in the HSC exam. Dr Silvia Rudmann is an active member of the Science Teacher Association of NSW presenting in conferences and training teachers in science education. She is the author lead of the award winner textbook series for year 11 and 12 Investigating Science in Focus and wrote the curriculum foundation course for Biology at the RMIT University in Melbourne. Currently, she is part of the Leadership Team for Investigating Science advisors.

Communicating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledge Through Hands On Practicals: Earth and Environmental Science

David Harrington

When: Friday 27 Nov, 11:00 - 12:00 pm
Subject: Earth and Environmental Science

The Earth and Investigating Science syllabus contains many interesting opportunities to learn about Australia's First Nations Peoples' scientific understandings and ways of coming to knowledge. This workshop will provide a range of opportunities to engage with pertinent Learning Across the Curriculum outcomes through practical, hands on scientific investigations, modelling and case studies. These include creating stone tools and classifying the lithic environment, experimenting with ochre,  managing feral animals and developing fire management understanding and outcomes.


Communicating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledge Through Hands On Practicals: Investigating Science

When: Friday 27 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm
Subject: Investigating Science

The Investigating Science syllabus contains many interesting opportunities to learn about Australia's First Nations Peoples' scientific understandings and ways of coming to knowledge. This workshop will provide a range of opportunities to engage with pertinent Learning Across the Curriculum outcomes through practical, hands on scientific investigations, modelling and case studies. These include fire stick farming, medicinal plant knowledge, toxic compounds in foods and the importance of observations and seasonal knowledge in the creation of scientific understandings.

David Harrington is an experienced scientific educator and researcher with over 20 years of cooperative research experience with Aboriginal communities all around Australia.As a researcher, his work focused on medicinal plants and ethnobotanical knowledge, ethnopharmacology, Intellectual Property Rights, archaeology, oral history and Aboriginal cultural and environmental knowledge. His company, Stone and Bones, has collaborated with both the NESA Aboriginal Education and Wellbeing Unit to develop a registered teacher professional development program addressing teaching Aboriginal scientific knowledge in the classroom. Dave presents this complex and sensitive knowledge with respect and enthusiasm, and seeks to provide a framework by which teachers can confidently engage with these ideas in the classroom.




Bridging the gap between marine environmental research and education

Dr Mariana Pinto, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 11:00am - 12:00pm

Subject: Marine Science/ Earth and Environmental Science

Urbanisation of coastal habitats is a growing problem as our natural systems are increasingly altered or destroyed by human activity.  In Sydney Harbour alone, over 50% of the shoreline has been modified by artificial structures such as seawalls. Seawalls are generally flat, featureless structures that have a compressed intertidal area and support lower biodiversity and reduced ecosystem services, such as fisheries productivity and maintenance of clean water, relative to the natural habitats they replace. The Living Seawalls project, an initiative of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS), aims to mitigate some of the impacts caused by the construction of these artificial structures by adding different types of habitat enhancing panels to seawalls in Sydney Harbour. These panels have been specially designed using 3D technology to mimic natural habitat features of Sydney rocky shores, such as rock pools and crevices and are retrofitted to existing seawalls. Panels have now been installed in 9 sites around the Harbour and the Living Seawalls team are now assessing their benefits by monitoring which animals and seaweeds colonise these panels over time. I will present some of the latest results and will discuss some of the ways on how can we bridge the gap between marine environmental research and education.

Mariana is a Scientia Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science. She obtained her PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Sydney, 2009 and holds a MSc in Zoology from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Prior to the commencement of her academic career in UNSW in 2013, she worked as a private consultant, leading the data analyses of one of the biggest environmental projects in Australia (Gorgon Project, Chevron).  

Mariana's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms underpinning biodiversity and the functioning of marine ecosystems. In particular, she is interested in how anthropogenic stressors, such as contamination and urbanisation, affect the marine environment with the ultimate goal of developing evidence-based solutions for not only mitigating their impacts, but also restoring and rehabilitating marine ecosystems.



Presentation: Plate tectonics & mantle flow: The planetary thermosta

Dr Sabin Zahirovic, USyd

When: Friday 27 Nov, 11:00 - 12:00 pm

Subject: Multidisciplinary

The coexistence of plate tectonics and mantle convection on Earth is a fundamental component of the planetary life-support system. Mantle and tectonic processes help regulate ocean circulation, climate, and the “deep carbon cycle”. Perturbations to these systems, documented in the geological record, have caused mass extinctions, transitions between icehouse and greenhouse climate states, and have fundamentally altered the biosphere on our planet. Using the end-Permian mass extinction and the Cretaceous greenhouse climate as case studies, we will explore the role of tectonics and mantle convection in driving these major events in our geological past. We will use these case studies to compare with the contemporary anthropogenic greenhouse emissions to evaluate long-term trajectories beyond the IPCC 2100 predictions. In this talk we will also explore easy-to-use free software and data resources (proudly developed by our team at the University of Sydney) that can be easily deployed to the classroom setting, which will be made available to all attendees.

Dr Sabin Zahirovic is a Robinson Fellow in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney where he teaches into geology, geography and geophysics. He received his PhD in 2015 and his research has focused on plate tectonics, paleogeography, mantle convection, and planetary carbon cycling. Sabin is the Chair of Paleogeography in the IUGS US$77 million decadal program, he is on the Executive Committee of the international and interdisciplinary Deep Carbon Observatory, and is Treasurer of the Geological Society of Australia (NSW Branch).





Integrating Indigenous Astronomy into the Australian National Curriculum

Dr Duane Hamacher & Dr Tyson Yunkaporta

When: Friday 27 Nov, 11:00 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Primary

In 2018, three new areas of Indigenous Knowledge were integrated into the Australian National Curriculum by a committee led by professor Marcia Langton: Fire, Water, and Astronomy. This included educational modules covering all subjects in Years 5 and 8. The initial response was positive, but new challenges emerged regarding delivery and the addition of other year levels. It also requires expansive applications by appropriately addressing Indigenous ways of knowing, such as pattern recognition and orality. We will discuss some of the initial astronomy content developed for the curriculum, discussing the pedagogical frameworks and the challenges of trying to bring together the complex, inter-relational, orally transmitted world of Indigenous Knowledge and the compartmentalised, technical, and literacy-focused world of Western science. This presentation will open the doors for critical reflection and discussion, providing an avenue for examining the Cultural Interface of Indigenous and Western ways of knowing in appropriate, meaningful, and respectful ways.

Dr Duane Hamacher is Associate Professor of Cultural Astronomy in the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the ASTRO-3D ARC Centre of Excellence. His work focuses on astronomy in a social, historical, and cultural, context.

Dr Tyson Yunkaporta is a Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University in Melbourne. He is an author, arts critic, and researcher who belongs to the Apalech Clan in far north Queensland. He carves traditional tools and weapons and is the author of the recent book "Sand Talk".






Ask Me Anything: a discussion of Practical Biotechnology skills in the Classroom

Jeannette Tran, Stem Reactor

When: Friday 27 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Biology

One of the most challenging aspects of the new Stage 6 Curriculum is how teachers can integrate biotechnology practicals in a highly theoretical program. In this session Jeannette Tran from STEM Reactor will discuss a range of ideas of making the Stage 6 Biology a more engaging experience in the lab. We will discuss how you can give your students and authentic experience when learning about genetic technologies, disease and heredity. 

Videos and resources will be provided for you to access before the session and we encourage all participants to watch them before attending the session. Additionally, all registrants for this session have the option of requesting a kit of practical ideas to be sent to their schools to try after the workshop.


Cross curricular STEM teaching using forensic sciences

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm
Subject: Multidisciplinary

Forensic science involves finding clues to solve a crime. But the analysis of each piece of evidence opens the door to teaching new techniques and principles of STEM. This workshop will take participants through practical techniques for performing forensic investigations including: DNA and protein testing with agarose gel electrophoresis, Ink analysis through chromatography, Blood typing with immunological methods, Analysing powders for biological activity, Using data to determine characteristics of a suspect, Encryption using coding with python. Teachers will receive teaching resources by email at the conclusion of the session.

Forensic science involves finding clues to solve a crime. But the analysis of each piece of evidence opens
the door to teaching new techniques and principles of STEM. This workshop will take participants through
practical techniques for performing forensic investigations including:

- DNA and protein testing with agarose gel electrophoresis
- Ink analysis through chromatography
- Blood typing with immunological methods
- Analysing powders for biological activity
- Using data to determine characteristics of a suspect
- Encryption using coding with python

Jeannette Tran has started STEM Reactor to bring Cutting Edge Technology to schools. She studied Biochemistry at university, then spent the next 10 years in research and the biotechnology industry. After advising researchers on the best techniques to use in their labs, Jeannette is now focused on helping teachers to present these techniques in the classroom.






Quantifying devastation: Modelling the impacts of bushfires

Aaron Greenville, USyd

When: Friday 27 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Biology/ Multidisciplinary

The 2019-2020 mega-fires that raged across southern and eastern Australia devastated habitat for 832 different native vertebrate species. But how did we arrive at these numbers, and how do we model these impacts? Dr Aaron Greenville is an ecologist that uses population biology, trophic ecology and statistics to predict responses to climate change. Aaron will show us how to use publicly available datasets to model the impacts of bushfires, the subsequent impacts on vertebrate diversity and what this means for extinction risks for threatened species. Techniques for overlapping information on burn areas and species distribution to calculate impacts can be used as a real-world case study for Ecosystem Dynamics for year 11 students.

Dr Aaron Greenville is an ecologist that uses a strategic combination of population biology and trophic ecology, along with cutting-edge statistical techniques (both frequentist and Bayesian techniques), to predict how ecosystems (both natural and modified) respond to climate change and the introduction of exotic species. His research is theory driven and holistic, drawing on vertebrate, invertebrate and plant groups to study ecosystem function. In addition, he uses the latest innovations in technology to assist in data collection, such as remote cameras and open-sourced hardware. Aaron leads the Ecosystem Dynamics lab within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.





Predicting the future with Climate Models

Dr Alex Sen Gupta, Dr Angela Maharaj  and Rishav Goyal, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Earth and Environmental Science

Climate models are the best tools we have for predicting the future of our planet. But these models are usually complicated to understand and impossible to use without access to a supercomputer and months or years of training. Here we will introduce CARBONATOR a simplified climate model based on simple energy conservation principles, that can produce forecasts that are almost as accurate as state-of-the-art models. CARBONATOR can be used to understand the underlying physics of the climate system, simple methods for solving equations and the principles behind developing climate change scenarios - that allow us to answer questions like: What would happen if we were to suddenly stop burning fossil fuels? Could we slow Global Warming if we injected huge amounts of pollution into the atmosphere? Could we chill the world by painting all our roofs white? The workshop will target both those new to Carbonator and those that have already incorporated the model into their teaching but are looking for more sophisticated applications.


Dr Alex Sen Gupta is a research scientist and lecturer working in Oceanography and Climate change. His work aims at understanding how the ocean affects regional climate and how climate change will affect the ocean and the species that live in it. Alex has extensive experience working with climate models and how they are used to forecast the future.

Dr Angela Maharaj is a lecturer working in oceanography. Her work examines role of the ocean in climate variability particularly through satellite oceanography. She also has interests in learning & teaching and knowledge transfer from the tertiary to secondary education sector, particularly with regards to promoting numeracy and the physical sciences.

Rishav Goyal is a PhD student working in climate science. His work uses climate model experiments to understand how the atmosphere circulates and how it is affected by greenhouse gases and the ozone hole.

Adaptations to living in the marine environment

Professor Tracey Rogers, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Marine Science

When mammals returned to live in the sea they reversed a process that began 200 million years earlier when the first animals first emerged from the seas. Life in water is very different than life on land, so that they would have met with new challenges and a whole new suite of aquatic adaptations evolved. We explore how modern and extinct mammals evolved to meet the different challenges of living in the sea. In this workshop you will examine both freely available online material along with material in the lab and assessments.

Tracey Rogers has worked as an ecologist for over 20 years. She is a Professor at the UNSW, but in the past has held visiting fellowships at the University of Cambridge, as well as Directorship of a cooperative research centre between Taronga Zoo and the University of Sydney.

Tracey studies how mammals respond when the environment in which they live changes. She has worked in the Antarctic for many years where she studies how the top predators, the leopard seals and whales, are responding to the changing environment. Tracey’s team uses NATO’s comprehensive nuclear-test-ban-treaty hydro-acoustic data to monitor the return of blue whales to our waters. It is poetic that the billion-dollar listening system developed to monitor nuclear bomb activity is used by Tracey’s team to study blue whales. Tracey is an active scientist, she has written over 80 scientific papers and 13 book chapters and is particularly passionate about encouraging women in science careers. She is a scientific advisor on the International Whaling Commission and has sat on many committees.

Tracey enjoys sharing her love of science. She is regularly invited to speak internationally including on the BBC 4 radio program, The Life Scientific.  She has been a scientific advisor for the BBC and National Geographic. National Geographic produced a documentary and YouTube clips on Tracey and her research. Tracey writes articles for The Conversation.

As a mum of two teenagers (14 and 16), she has seen that the way students engage with learning has changed. This is why Tracey recently changed her traditional university-lecture approach, she has made a series of short, YouTube lectures, coupling her love of sharing science with her love of drawing, to engage students.

Opportunities to embed Marine Science in Stage 4, 5 & 6

Ann Hanna and Jacqui Rogers, Menai High School

When: Friday 27 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Marine Science/ Biology

This workshop will cover a variety of strategies to incorporate Marine Science into Stage 4,5 and 6 Science. Case studies of marine teaching by members of the Marine Teachers Association will be presented, with supporting resources made available to all attendees. Opportunities to link to the STANSW Young Scientists competition and Science Extension course will also be discussed, as well as strategies for structuring depth studies in Stage 6 and Student Research Projects in Stage 5 to link with this amazing competition. The session will conclude with an examination of the Science syllabuses’ and identification of where marine based teaching and learning fits within the current curriculum. Teachers will also be provided with a variety of contacts to key organisations and stakeholders that may further assist them with marine education.

Ann Hanna is Head Teacher Science/Agriculture at Menai High School. Ann teaches Biology, Physics and Extension Science and is well known for her innovative teaching and outstanding results. One of her Science Extension students placed equal 8th in the State in the HSC last year and was selected to represent Australia at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and as a National Finalist at the Stockholm Junior Water prize. As part of her work on the Young Scientist Committee, Ann has mentored many students over the years and has chaperoned two delegations of Australian Students to ISEF in the US.


Jacqui Rogers is Head Teacher Teaching and Learning at Menai High School and the President of the Marine Teachers Association of NSW. Jacqui has a Bachelor of Marine Science from Sydney University with a major in tropical marine science. She is passionate about teaching our future generations to value and protect the marine environment and helping students to pursue marine based careers. As part of her work with the Marine Teachers Association Jacqui has led a variety of conferences, professional learning and collaborative programming projects to help support marine teachers across the state.

Genes are information, so we finally realise how to use information theory in genetics

Professor Bill Sherwin, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Biology

Claude Shannon loved to ride the unicycle and juggle, but he also had a day-job, in which he invented Information Theory, to help design the first computers. He took a lightning break of two years to write a PhD on tentative suggestions of how to apply his theory to genes. He did not publish, possibly because at the time, no-one knew that genes were DNA, which would have helped him a great deal.

In the decades that his thesis languished on a shelf in Boston, Shannon’s method took off in another part of biology, becoming the major way to summarise diversity of species in an ecosystem. But the few attempts to apply it to genes came up against dead-ends.

Fast-forward to fifteen years ago, and a team at UNSW-Sydney, headed by Professor Bill Sherwin in the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at UNSW, reasoned that if genes are information, then information theory MUST help us forecast and measure genetic diversity. The team produced the first workable equations for this, by combining genetics, information theory and gas mechanics.

How on earth did mere biologists do this? Not alone. The team is as diverse as the work, including a French engineer (Franck Jabot), an ANU physicist (Roddy Dewar), two other molecular ecologists, (Peter Smouse at Rutgers and Rod Peakall at ANU), a Taiwanese statistician and bird-fanatic (Anne Chao) and a physicist who runs an orchid and butterfly reserve in Ecuador (Lou Jost). Sherwin, Chao, Jost and Smouse have now published a review in the high-impact journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, showing how the recent decade’s work can be drawn together into a system to forecast how molecular variants will behave, at any level from expression in cells, through to adaptation in landscapes, and beyond.

The system has been use to assess gene exchange between carrot crops and their wild relatives, diversity in vulnerable animals and plants, mosquito invasion patterns, and even eye-colour in alpacas. It has greatly enriched the armory of genetic analysis methods, sometimes discerning patterns that were obscure to other methods. The information theory approach is particularly good at tracking dispersal via genetic similarity of populations. Furthermore, the same method can be applied in many other parts of science, from forecasting and assessing diversity of species, to the evolution of computer code in artificial intelligence.

Professor William (Bill) Sherwin, UNSW

After his PhD at University of Melbourne, Sherwin worked on Conservation Genetics for the Victorian Government. After jobs with various mixes of research and higher-education, he joined UNSW Sydney, where he taught genetics and conservation management for decades, gained a Cert.H.Ed., and is now an Emeritus Professor in the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre of the School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Sciences.

Bill Sherwin’s principal research is in Molecular genetics in biodiversity management and fundamental evolutionary biology.

Sherwin and mathematical colleagues have pioneered a complete revision of approaches to forecasting and measuring biodiversity at all levels from molecules to ecosystems, based on computer information theory. This approach is now taken up by many researchers in the field. This development has been underpinned by molecular work by Sherwin and his team on endangered, pest, and harvested wildlife.

Sherwin’s mathematical research includes:
- a method to detect periods of small population size (bottlenecks) in species where population size is difficult to assess
- collaboration with mathematicians and physicists to open up new ways of assessing and forecasting genetic biodiversity based on information theory; this is now implemented in widely-used computer packages.
- work on dolphins that led to an invited review on why many current methods for forecasting the future of endangered populations give misleading results.

Sherwin’s lab has studied invasion genetics of species including:
- tracking adaptation in invasive weeds
- tracking invading starlings in West Australia, resulting in near-eradication
- first published genome in the major global pest family Tephritidae; analysing why the Queensland fruit-fly is Australia’s worst horticultural pest
Sherwin also works on harvested, endangered and threatened species, including:
- pioneering genetic approaches in wild non-model species, such as microsatellites (in 1994) Major Histocompatibility genes (in 1996)
- the first estimation of effective size of a marsupial species, and the first review of marsupial conservation and population genetics
- work on dolphins that demanded expansion of general theories about interaction between genetic relatedness and grouping behaviour

Sherwin has 113 publications, mostly in peer-reviewed primary literature, plus others such as a chapter in a widely-used text for first-year university biology. He is also cited in textbooks for senior undergraduates.

Plant Health at the ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN SYDNEY: Infectious Diseases and Plant Clinic

Dr Edward Lie, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Biology Workshop

2020 is the International Year of Plant Health. Where better to explore some of the current research of plant pathogens than at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Plant Clinic?  Despite the importance of plant health, we are one of the few botanic gardens around the world with an active plant pathology research and diagnostic capability, so we play an important role nationally in raising awareness of the impact of plant diseases in horticulture and in the natural environment. As Manager of Plant Pathology, Dr Ed Liew will share his own research in plant diseases caused by fungus and the role of the Clinic’s diagnostic facilities. This is a unique opportunity to hear about this important facility and from one of the leading experts in this field. The workshop will also include a short presentation highlighting how the Education Team can support you teaching Infectious Diseases and other Stage 5/6 Science in your classroom.

Dr Edward Liew is Manager of Plant Pathology and Senior Research Scientist at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. His knowledge and passion for plant pathology has brought the ‘fun’ back into fungal research. For over twenty-five years, Ed has worked among the world’s leaders in his field to produce some of the most fundamental and applied research on Fusarium and Phytophthora, two of the most prominent pathogens that cause plant diseases. Through his research, he has helped identify and understand the evolution of fungi and their diseases to better inform disease management, both in the cultivated and natural environments, and enhance our conservation efforts across Australia’s fragile ecosystem.
Ed is always ready to share his knowledge and passion and participate in community engagement activities to promote the awareness of science in the Botanic Gardens and regale some of the fascinating lesser-known facts about fungi and plant diseases.

Doing real publishable science with your class

Professor Angela Moles, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Investigating Science

Anyone can be a scientist - all you need is a good question, sound methods and determination. In this workshop, I will tell you about how a year 7 class from Sydney became published authors.The girls came up with ideas about how to best keep a cut Christmas tree healthy, ran an experiment, and wrote up a scientific paper which was published in the Australian Journal of Botany. We will discuss how to come up with good ideas, how to design a good study, and how to get your class to write their own scientific paper.

Professor Angela Moles is the director of the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW Sydney. Her research is about how introduced species are evolving in response to their new environments, and understanding how Australian native species are adapting to climate change. Angela is a member of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Advisory Panel, and has been involved with CSIRO Stem professionals in schools since 2014.





First Nations Science at the ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN SYDNEY

Renee Cawthorne, Manager of Aboriginal Education, Royal Botanic Gardens

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Investigating Science

Join proud Wiradjuri woman Renee Cawthorne where you will learn about the Cadi Garden and First Nations Peoples scientific knowledge, relationship and responsibility to Country. You will be provided with examples of how you can respectfully and authentically embed First Nations scientific perspectives in your teaching as well as how scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens have been aided in their research by First Nations knowledge.

Renee is a proud Wiradjuri woman who grew up on Darkingjung Country on the Central Coast of NSW. Renee is employed as the Manager of First Nations Education and Engagement at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Renee was the first Indigenous woman to graduate from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in biology in 2015. Renee is currently undertaking a Master of Research at Macquarie university, about the educational pedagogy, intergenerational and intercultural transmission of knowledge in learning on Country programs, focusing on the Wuyagiba Bush Study Hub.

Renee was runner-up in the 2016 Indigenous STEM Professionals Awards for her commitment to Indigenous education and providing opportunities for Indigenous students especially youth from disadvantaged (low socio-economic, refugees and non-English speaking) backgrounds. Renee is committed to changing current negative perceptions and perspectives of Aboriginal peoples and culture and believes that we can achieve this through education.


How do we map and measure greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, mining, oil & gas, and urban environments?

Associate Professor Bryce Kelly, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Earth and Environmental Science

The concentration of the primary greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) are increasing in the atmosphere at concerning rates. This presentation will cover how we measure greenhouse gas emissions from the various sources including: agriculture, mining, oil & gas, and urban environments.  Case studies will be presented from the Hunter Valley, the Surat Basin and Sydney. Do you know how much carbon dioxide is emitted by people breathing? How much carbon dioxide and methane are emitted by an audience in a lecture theatre?  Which sector in Australia emits more methane - oil & gas, or cattle farming? We will explore these questions as part of the presentation.

Associate Professor Bryce Kelly has over 30 years of international lecturing, consulting and research experience in greenhouse gas measurements, hydrogeology, computational geology, and geostatistics. His current atmospheric research focuses on measuring methane emissions from coal seam gas, coal mining and agricultural sources. From 2005 to 2012 he was joint programme director of groundwater research for the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC, and from 2009 to 2014 he was a chief investigator with the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT). Bryce does extensive outreach to inform government policy development and the community. As part of his science outreach he has written numerous popular press articles including pieces for The Conversation and Australian Geographic. In 2014, he established a new laboratory at UNSW Sydney for measuring the isotopic composition of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide gases. His current research evaluates the impact of coal seam gas production, coal mining, agriculture and urban environments on water and air.  He is currently an active member of the UNSW Sustainability working group focusing on carbon offsets and mitigation, and is affiliated with the United Nations managed Climate and Clean Air Methane Science Studies.

UNSW SMERE mining visualisations workshop

Dr Chengguo Zhang  and Professor Serkan Saydam - School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, UNSW Sydney

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50pm 

UNSW School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering present an experience of the mining visualisations explaining mining processes available in the 360 degree theatre; via VR oculars and online apps from MERE


Marine Science from estuaries to the East Australian Current

Dr Iain Suthers, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Marine Science

The coast of NSW and especially Sydney has a front-row seat to observe the effects of the East Australian Current on coastal ecosystems, and the interactive effects of urbanisation. Recently Australia began investing in marine science, evident in the $18 M pa Integrated Marine Observing System; the $120 M new Marine National Facility Research Vessel Investigator,  and the new icebreaker RSV Nuyina. Iain will outline the broad opportunities for teaching and study from the estuary to the open coast.

Iain Suthers is a Professor in the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales and is partly based at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS).  He leads the Fisheries and Marine Environmental Research lab ( lab, and the monitoring of plankton and larval fish around Australia, with the Integrated Marine Observing System ( His discoveries in the past 5 years concern the harvest and ecosystem basis of estuaries, offshore artificial reefs; and ecological effects of the East Australian Current. He recently published an Australian guide to plankton for teachers and community groups (see Chapter 9); Suthers IM,  D Rissik and A.J. Richardson 2019.  “Plankton for Natural Resource Managers: a guide to the ecology and observation” CSIRO Publishing.



Using Deep time Earth as a guide in the search for life on Mars

Martin Van Kranendonk, UNSW

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Multidisciplinary

The search for our origins goes back 4 billion years, and stretches across the Universe - Are we Alone? How did life originate? One way to search for answers to these questions is to investigate whether life did arise elsewhere, and thus our interest in Mars. But where to look? This talk reviews the science behind the search for life on Mars, drawing on the information locked away in ancient rocks of the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia, and from current research into the origin of life. The results might surprise you!

Martin Van Kranendonk is a Professor of Geology and Astrobiology at the University of New South Wales Sydney, and is the Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology and the Big Questions Institute. Born and trained in Canada, Martin moved to Australia in 1992 to follow his passion for ancient geology, and joined UNSW in 2012. His team investigates the earliest signs of life on Earth, and the environments it inhabited more than 3 billion years ago. This research is used by NASA and the European Space Agency in the search for life on Mars, and for understanding the origin of life on Earth. Martin has appeared on numerous television documentaries and films around the world and is passionate about engaging people of all ages with the big questions of science.




Stories of Science, Stories of Country

ACU students with Sally Biskupic, ACU

When: Friday 27 Nov, 1:50- 2:50 pm

Subject: Primary

One of the tensions of incorporating the cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures in the classroom is how to include the voices of Indigenous Australians in a culturally-appropriate way. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to meet some Indigenous students from Australian Catholic University’s Away From Base cohort, who will share with you science picture books that they have created. Developed for an assessment task in EDST241 Science Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment as part of their Bachelor of Primary Education, these beautiful books bring together the students’ knowledge of Country and how it links with the skills, knowledge and understanding of the Australian Curriculum: Science, the Victorian Curriculum: Science and the NSW K-6 Science and Technology Syllabus. Be part of the discussion about who should share the knowledge of Indigenous Australians, and how they should share it.


ReSolve: designing mathematics resources for Natural Disasters and Marine STEM

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 11:00am - 12:00 pm
Subject: Primary

reSolve: Maths by Inquiry is a national project that promotes a spirit of inquiry in students from Foundation to Year 10. reSolve is managed by the Australian Academy of Science and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. reSolve recently collaborated with Primary Connections, one of the Academy’s science education programs. The two programs worked alongside a number of primary schools to to plan and teach STEM units that meaningfully integrated maths, science, digital technologies and design technologies. In this workshop, we will share the planning and design work of the reSolve and Primary Connections STEM project. In particular, we will look at the process of designing mathematics resources for the topics of Natural Disasters and Marine STEM.

Lessons from Lockdown: Natural Disasters and Covid-19

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm
Subject: Primary

Coming out of lockdown at the beginning of Term 2, it was obvious that we were going to have to abandon the idea that Stage 3 would learn about natural disasters by planning and carrying out fair test investigations mentored by the boys at our local high school. Instead, we looked for a way to include authentic inquiry that integrated concepts across multiple subject areas, could help us engage students at home AND manage the transition back to school. In this workshop we will share the activities we created for students, drawing on a range of resources such as the Geography Teachers Association of NSW unit, “Bushfire Hazards in Australia,” and the reSolve STEM unit on bushfires. We will also share how we leveraged online platforms such as Zoom, Desmos and Google Slides to ensure that students were using inquiry skills to help them learn the Science, Geography, History and Mathematics concepts we wanted to address. 


Sally Biskupic is a primary science and mathematics specialist. She has written courses for the Macquarie Junior Science Academy, co-written and delivered two science pedagogy units for preservice teachers at ACU, and tutors in primary science and mathematics at ACU and Macquarie university. She is a senior facilitator for the [email protected] program and supports DET teachers seeking HAT level accreditation as they implement the new Science and Technology Syllabus at their school. In 2018 she co-presented the STANSW introduction to the new syllabus for K-6 teachers. Two days a week she is also the Leader of Inquiry Based Learning at St Anne's South Strathfield.





Dr Kristen Tripet
Kristen is the director of the reSolve: Maths by Inquiry project at the Australian Academy of Science.
Kristen has always had a keen interest in mathematics. She worked as a primary school teacher for ten years and then realised that she could influence the way mathematics was taught in schools through consultancy and research. Kristen worked as a mathematics education consultant with the NSW Independent sector of schooling for a number of years delivering professional learning for teachers of Foundation through to Year 10. Kristen works on state and national reference groups and advisory panels offering expert advice in mathematics education.
Kristen has completed her Doctor of Education in mathematics education. Her research interests include students' use of representations and how representation supports students' development of understanding in mathematical domains.
Ms Ruqiyah Patel
Ruqiyah is a reSolve: Maths by Inquiry project officer at the Australian Academy of Science.
Ruqiyah holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Anthropology for her thesis “‘I’m just not a maths person!’: Exploring the categorisation, naturalisation and reification of mathematical power” and a Graduate Diploma in Science (Mathematics).
While working in schools across Australia as a forensic science presenter, Ruqiyah became fascinated by student engagement in scientific inquiry. Her interest in how inquiry learning could be used in mathematics education led her to the reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry project, where she manages the development of classroom resources and is involved in outreach and engagement.




Biology TeachMeet - Led by Margaret Shepherd

When: Friday 27 Nov, 3:00 - 3:45 pm


Margaret Shepherd - STANSW President
Margaret has worked for 6 years as Science Adviser at Sydney Catholic Schools.  Her expertise is in the field of adult learning, working with teachers to support professional learning in areas of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. She is also the lecturer in charge of Science Curriculum and Teaching at The Australian Catholic University supporting pre-service science teachers. She is very passionate about using inquiry in the classroom, assessment for learning, feedback, PEEL and engaging students in their learning. Margaret is a long standing member of Council, having been involved since 2001 working in a range of positions including Councillor, Secretary, Vice-President and Treasurer and is our current President.

Investigating Science TeachMeet -  led by Julie Rogers

When: Friday 27 Nov, 3:00 - 3:45 pm

Julie Rogers is relieving Deputy Principal and substantive head of science/careers at Lucas Heights community school a DET K-12 school in southern Sydney. She has benefited from quality professional learning provided by STANSW since her initial year of teaching and that is now 30 years ago. Julie joined the Council to give back to the profession, to pass on her extensive knowledge and contribute to the development of teachers. She is passionate about creating a legacy of effective practice, leading and developing teacher efficacy and assisting colleagues to continually develop as professionals. She has held the office of councillor 2016, Treasurer 2017-2019 and Vice President 2020 and recently received an outstanding service award from the Professional Teaching Council for this service to STANSW.

Earth and Environmental Science TeachMeet - led by Susan Filan

Susan Filan, Australian Earth Science Education

When: Friday 27 Nov, 3:00 - 3:45 pm


Practical activities to teach about mining exploration

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Subject: Earth and Environmental Science

Participants will explore the mineral resources of NSW and learn about remote sensing technologies using free online visualisation tools. We will complete a suggested teaching and learning sequence that can be used with students. Next, we will trial an 'exploration box' that can be easily constructed for practical work with students. It simulates gravity and magnetic remote sensing and challenges students to map a likely mineral deposit.. Excursions, incursions and online resources will be highlighted.

Susan Filan spent her first month in Australia at the Riversleigh fossil dig and has been curious about Australia's past and current biota since that time. She enjoys getting her students outside to learn whenever possible and drawing upon their life experiences in her teaching. She is an Education Officer for Australian Earth Science Education, offering free teacher professional learning, incursions, developing resources about Earth & Environmental Science.





Marine Science TeachMeet - Led by Jacqui Rogers (Marine Teachers Association)

When: Friday 27 Nov, 3:00 - 3:45 pm

Jacqui Rogers is Head Teacher Teaching and Learning at Menai High School and the President of the Marine Teachers Association of NSW. Jacqui has a Bachelor of Marine Science from Sydney University with a major in tropical marine science. She is passionate about teaching our future generations to value and protect the marine environment and helping students to pursue marine based careers. As part of her work with the Marine Teachers Association Jacqui has led a variety of conferences, professional learning and collaborative programming projects to help support marine teachers across the state.

Primary TeachMeet - led by Jacqueline McCarthy

When: Friday 27 Nov, 3:00 - 3:45 pm


Jacqueline is currently primary school science specialist at Abbotsleigh, having transferred there from Sydney Grammar. She is a qualified primary and secondary teacher specialising in agriculture. Prior to specialising in Primary Teaching Jac was engaged by the Royal Agricultural Society as their Education manager. She is passionate about nurturing the curiosity of primary aged students.






Keynote: Infectious Diseases: A case study of SARS-CoV-2

Professor Edward Holmes, USyd,  evolutionary biologist and virologist

When: Friday 27 Nov, 4:00 - 4:45 pm

Professor Edward (Eddie) Holmes is an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Sydney, with concurrent Professorial appointments in the School of Life & Environmental Sciences and Sydney Medical School. Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Eddie was the Verne M. Willaman Chair in the Life Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, USA. Eddie received his undergraduate degree from the University of London (1986) and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (1990). Following that, he performed postdoctoral research at the Universities of California (Davis), Edinburgh and Oxford. Between 1993-2004 he held various positions at the University of Oxford, including University Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology and Fellow of New College.

His research focuses on the emergence, evolution and spread of RNA viruses, with special emphasis on revealing the genetic and epidemiological processes that underpin viral emergence, the molecular epidemiology of important human and animal pathogens, understanding the nature of global virus diversity, and the major mechanisms of virus evolution.

In 2003 he was awarded the Scientific Medal by the Zoological Society of London. In 2008 he became a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and in 2010 he won the Faculty Scholars Medal in the Life and Health Sciences at Penn State. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) in 2015 and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2017.

Saturday Welcome and Keynote

Alistair Poore, UNSW - Head of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Alistair's research interests includes ecology and evolutionary biology, with a focus on coastal marine ecosystems

VR and gamification – beyond the gimmick

Claire Seldon, NSW Department of Education

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 9:00 - 10:00 am

Subject: Primary

Discover ways you can use VR in the classroom as more than passive experiences by incorporating the techniques of gamification

  • Overview of the current state of VR
  • Explanation of gamification & how it can be used to enhance VR
  • Exploration of current options in VR software and technology
  • Opportunity to create and try out some VR options

Claire Seldon is a Science and Technology teacher who works as a Learning Designer with the NSW Department of Education. She uses her ICT background to create digital teaching resources for students to use in the classroom with a focus on gamification and emerging VR/AR/MR experiences.





Mobile science apps created by Arludo exploring evolutionary bio and behavioural science

Associate Professor Michael Kasumovic, UNSW

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 11:00 - 12:00 pm

Subject: Biology

Students find science difficult. But I believe it's because it's how we approach it, not because the material is difficult to understand. Also, I feel it's because science focuses on preparing, rather than doing and analyssing. In this workshop, you'll learn how I use a library of mobile apps created by Arludo to skip all the difficult parts of science such as the set up and the data collection, and focus on the data analysis and discussion. Bring your mobile devices and a desire to learn, because in this workshop you'll be doing exactly what your students are doing and you'll leave with a wealth of material and apps to do fun science your classroom.

Michael is an Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney. An award winning evolutionary biologist and science communicator, Michael explores the role the social environment has on how individuals develop and behave. These interests have resulted in him working on a number of different species throughout his career from birds, to spiders, to crickets, and now humans. Using video games to explore human choices and preferences, Michael has shown that although there may be a few hundreds of millions years between the evolution of his earlier subjects and humans, surprisingly, they behave in very similar ways. Michael now uses what he's learned to create video games that help teachers and students around the world easily perform science experiments to learn more about the world around them.

Working scientifically with local weather and air quality data

Dr Angela Maharaj and Troy Garrett, UNSW

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 11:00 am - 1:10 pm

Subject: Investigating Science

The Schools Weather and Air Quality (SWAQ) citizen science project ( run by the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW places remote weather and air quality sensors in Sydney schools to collect high quality data for urban climate and air quality research . A highlight of this project is that data is made available for school students to analyse along with resources to teach them how to do this. In this workshop, climate scientist, Dr Angela Maharaj, and experienced science teacher, Troy Garrett, will present the project’s resources and show teachers how analysis of local weather and air quality data relates to contemporary issues (e.g., bushfires, COVID-19, weather systems) relevant to EES and IS. Teachers will also have the opportunity to consult with the team to help drive its direction to better support the teaching of weather and air quality science in schools.

Angela Maharaj is a lecturer in the Climate Change Research Centre, School of BEES at UNSW Sydney. Her job includes a wide variety of activities from trying to understand the role of the ocean in climate variability, university learning and teaching and STEM outreach engagement around meteorology, oceanography and climate science. She is passionate about science literacy and is involved in several initiatives which aim to improve links between schools, universities and science research. Angela is also the President of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

Troy Garrett brings over 20 years of school science teaching experience to the team. Having worked in schools over Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, as well as lecturing Physics at university, Troy has worked on many outreach projects, bringing science to life for many students.





Museum of Human Disease UNSW - virtual tour of the MOHD and resources for Biology

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 11:00 - 12:00 pm

Subject: Biology

HSC Biology - Modules 5/6 & 7/8 .  This one hour workshop incorporates updates on the recent work on the Biology Museum program and a virtual tour of the Museum with our staff.

Museum of Human Disease UNSW - Pathology Live Virtual Tour

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Biology

(7-12) Pathology Live: Take a virtual tour of the Museum of Human Disease hosted by Museum staff and our Medicine Faculty teaching staff describing the disease processes evident in some of our highlight specimens.

Museum of Human Disease UNSW - virtual tour of the MOHD and resources for Investigating Science

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 11:00 - 12:00 pm

Subject: Investigating Science

Investigating Science - Health and Disease.  A one hour workshop encompassing the most recent updates from the Museum, and a virtual tour with the resources offered for Investigating Science students. The program focusses on the process of science, including the bias and limitations of the human aspects of the work.

Museum of Human Disease UNSW - COVID update by UNSW researchers

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Investigating Science

(7-12) COVID Update: Hear from UNSW researchers on the latest details of COVID, our understanding of the disease and the hunt for a Vaccine.

Roach Dissection

Ashley Mulcahy DOE - Glenmore Park High School

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Biology

Inquiry Question: What is the difference in nutrient and gas requirements between autotrophs and heterotrophs?

Dissections can be used to make links in evolutionary adaptations as part of IQ2 in module 2. In some schools a comparative plant and rat dissection may be common practice, which may be further compared with a fish dissection. However, a great way to expand into open and closed circulatory systems is by adding a roach to your dissection lessons. Once students get past the ick factor you will find yourself with an engaging lesson that will provide opportunity for discussion as students compare gas exchange and digestion. across multiple organisms.

Ashley Mulcahy is a Science Teacher at Glenmore Park High School with 12 years experience teaching Science in Western Sydney, trying to engage students who don't necessarily want to learn. Currently studying M/Zoology (Entomology) and is a member of STANSW council.






For our Love of Fossils

Gabriel Guy, Fort Street High School

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 12:10 - 1:10 pm

Subject: Earth and Environmental Science

For Our Love of Fossils is an exploration of the history of life and the sense of wonder brought to us by the fossil record. We explore the past 700 million years of life history and major stages in the evolution. We can use an understanding of deep time and changes to environments to make predictions of the effects of our own actions on the future of the biosphere.

This workshop is targeted to those who do not have a strong background in palaeontology and want to deepen their understanding, and for those who want to explore fossils and palaeontology further.


Gabriel Guy is the Earth and Environmental Science teacher at Fort Street High School.






iNaturalist: harnessing the power of citizen science

Thomas Mesaglio, UNSW

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Biology

iNaturalist is a global, online, biodiversity citizen science platform with over 1 million registered users and over 36 million uploaded observations. Users take photographs or sound recordings of organisms they encounter and upload them to the platform. The organisms are then identified by other users from around the globe, including amateur naturalists, PhD students, museum curators and world experts. These data are then exported to major biodiversity databases like the Atlas of Living Australia and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility when they can be used in real-world scientific research. Thomas Mesaglio, a curator on iNaturalist and one of the top contributors in Australia, will give a presentation on how to use iNaturalist in the classroom/around the school and home, and explain its utility for assessments, improving students' knowledge of the natural world and independent projects among other uses.

Thomas Mesaglio graduated from UNSW in 2019 with a Bachelor's Degree in Advanced Science, majoring in Ecology, receiving Honours 1st Class and the University Medal in Marine Science. He completed his honours thesis on the use of goose barnacles and other biofouling organisms in marine forensic science, using the disappearance of MH370 as a case study. Thomas is a curator on the global citizen science platform iNaturalist, and is currently the 2nd top identifier in Australia with over 75 thousand identifications, and the 10th top observer in Australia with over 2200 uploaded species.




Monitoring environmental change with remote sensing: developing and applying vegetation structure models from satellite and airborne data

Dr Adrian Fisher, UNSW

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Earth and Environmental Science/ Multidisciplinary

Remote sensing can provide important information for many of society’s environmental challenges, such as monitoring water resources and detecting tree clearing. The data collected by instruments on Earth observation satellites and airborne platforms allows many different environmental variables to be mapped over large regions. It is also possible to examine environmental change using remote sensing thanks to the 30+ year archive of Landsat satellite data, recent growth in high spatial resolution data, and improvements in computing power. Through combining field measurements with remote sensing data, aspects of vegetation structure have been modelled across Australia, allowing environmental changes to be analysed.

This seminar will describe the vegetation structure measurements used in Australia, the vast archive of remote sensing data freely available, the development, validation and application of models across diverse landscapes, and the integration of this research with government environmental monitoring operations. Examples from recent and current research will be described, including using airborne laser scanning data (lidar) to quantify changes in tree cover, and using multi-temporal satellite imagery to examine what causes desert dunes to become active.

Dr Adrian Fisher is a lecturer in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science, UNSW, specialising in the science of environmental remote sensing. He conducts research using satellite imagery, airborne imagery, airborne lidar and field measurements, and has interests in measuring trees, environmental change and geomorphology. He previously worked for the Joint Remote Sensing Research Program at the University of Queensland, and Geoscience Australia.





Classroom transformations: Real-world, hands-on biotechnology lessons with the Amgen Biotech Experience

Eugenia O'Brien, USyd

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Biology/ Multidisciplinary

Teaching genetics and biotechnology can be a tough job, especially when the concepts can seem abstract and the resources needed to teach the concepts in a hands-on way are expensive and out of reach for many schools. The Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) brings research-grade equipment and practical, curriculum relevant biotechnology lessons to the classroom. This workshop will introduce you to the ABE program and the ways teachers are implementing the lessons at their schools. Hone your skills in micropipetting, gel electrophoresis and bacterial transformations as you get a feel for the ‘tools of the trade’ that biotechnologists use with this hands-on introduction to the laboratory sessions that high school students are currently involved in with the ABE.

Eugenia O'Brien is the Senior Science Communicator for Biology and Agriculture with the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney. She spends much of her time engaging high school students in the amazing possibilities in STEM, and is involved in developing and delivering a range of curriculum relevant workshops, hands-on activities and events across the disciplines of biology, molecular biosciences, agriculture and veterinary science. Eugenia is also the coordinator for an in-school biotechnology program being offered by the University - the Amgen Biotech Experience. She studied ecology and environmental science, science communication and primary education, and has worked in the fields of science outreach, science marketing and communications, and education. Her own interest in, and enthusiasm for science is reflected in her constant drive to encourage others to ask questions, test hypotheses and be involved with the most exciting, rewarding and necessary part of life – science.



Living World Syllabus, adaptations workshop and plant specimens from the UNSW Herbarium

When: Saturday 28 Nov, 1:50 - 2:50 pm

Subject: Primary


Susan Filan, Education Officer - Australian Earth Science Education


Frank Hemmings,  Curator, John T. Waterhouse Herbarium ; Technical Laboratory Manager - School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences