STANSW Conference: Science Mastery

Date: 19th - 20th June 2023
Location: In-person at The University of Sydney

Supported by the University of Sydney, this major science education conference of the year brings together cross-sector science teachers from NSW across all stages and focuses on content and skills to master your discipline in the classroom.

Who should attend?

  • Secondary science teachers across all stages and backgrounds
  • Primary teachers K-6
  • Early-career and pre-service teachers



Conference Covers:

  • How to master teaching science on a budget
  • How to incorporate everyday science into the classroom in simple experiments and activities (in anticipation of a new syllabus in 2023)


SECONDARY TEACHERS - 2 DAY PROGRAM: Mon 19 - Tue 20 June 2023

Subject streams will cover:

  • 7-10 Science
  • Stage 6 Biology
  • Stage 6 Chemistry
  • Stage 6 Earth and Environmental Science
  • Stage 6 Physics
  • Stage 6 Science Extension
  • Stage 6 Investigating Science


K-12 Plenary
Alice Motion / PHD Students

In the modern world, scitific information is at our fingertips.  We can just press buttons on our computers or phones to find out answers to questions. The skill we want to encourage in our students and teachers is how to communicate this scientific knowledge and research in meaningful ways. Our job as science teachers is not just to help the students research and learn content but what are effective scientific communication techniques and how can we teach or encourage these.

Five Future Careers in Science and Four Messages of Good Hope - Dr Karl, Usyd

From Stage 1 to Stage 6 teachers struggle to identify, acknowledge and address the strongly held misconceptions of our students. By identifying common misconceptions and how to challenge them we can better support our students in the scientific method and how to address their own bias. Dr Karl will present the afternoon plenary on why he believes Science is probably the best possible ‘mental toolbox’ that you can have. It will let you change your career many times. Dr Karl will discuss future careers in: Genetics, Engineering, basic Physics, Computer Science and the big one - your environment. Dr Karl will also give you four messages of good hope.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki just loves science to pieces, and has been spreading the word in print, on TV and radio, and online for more than thirty years. The author of 47 books (and counting) Dr Karl is a lifetime student with degrees in physics and mathematics, biomedical engineering and medicine and surgery. Since 1995, Dr Karl has been the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney. In 2019 he was awarded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularisation of Science.

Nurturing curiosity within a constraining curriculum - Prof Manjula Sharma, Usyd

Curiosity is multifaceted.  Curiosity as in ‘desire to see or learn what is strange, rare or unknown’ underpins the scientific pursuit of advancing fundamental knowledge and unravelling the mysteries of nature. Curiosity as in ‘an eagerness or desire to know or learn about something’ underpins education. As teachers strive to straddle the two interpretations of curiosity, the challenge is to create ‘eagerness and desire’. Afterall, what is covered in curriculum is known. Curriculum also constraints the depth and breadth of what about the known is to be taught, for very pragmatic reasons. Curiosity also has a negative meaning; ‘curiosity kills the cat ’ countered by ‘look before you leap’. Unfettered curiosity could lead to explanations not congruent with scientific understandings, as one grapples with unknown content.  Pedagogies such as PBL, inquiry learning seek to emulate the scientific pursuit of advancing fundamental knowledge by handing agency to students to uncover some of what is unknown to them, bounded by the curriculum. The question than arises; are there other types of scientific pursuit which could straddle the two interpretations of curiosity, but still be bounded by the curriculum? The scientific pursuit of ‘application of knowledge’ is a possibility, that is, application to authentic real-world problems. However, such application rapidly steps into the realm of STEM, as one needs technologies, mathematics, and some form of engineering.  These curriculum areas, in primary, secondary, and tertiary are generally segregated, constraining opportunities to nurture curiosity through the scientific pursuit of application to authentic real-world problems. Or does it? This presentation will discuss application of knowledge in real world problems involving cross curricula, student centred and multi/trans disciplinary ways of nurturing curiosity. We will see if we can harness the curriculum! Case studies will be drawn from what schools are already doing and opportunities within SRP will be explored.

Manjula Sharma completed her early studies at the University of the South Pacific followed by a PhD in physical optics and MEd research methods at The University of Sydney. She is a Professor of Science Education at The University of Sydney, Director of the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy and is serving as Vice Chair of IUPAP Commission C14 on Physics Education. Nationally, she has led several substantive Government funded projects and has co-founded the premier Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) and the International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IJISME). She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has supervised influential PhD students. Her contributions have been recognised through the 2012 Australian Institute for Physics Education Medal, 2013 Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship, 2019 NSW Science Teachers Association Dedicated Service Award and 2020 Vice-Chancellor’s Special Award for Excellence. Professor Sharma is a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics and Honorary Fellow of the Teacher’s Guild of New South Wales, Australia.

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