Welcome! ~ Sonia Hankova ~ Education/Art/Science ~ E-Mail: sonia.hankova@gmail.com ~ Phone: +61 425 703 860



Capstone Research Project — Science Learning in Informal Settings

To what extent are higher-order thinking questions posed during the Mission to Mars program?

This project explores the role of questioning as a key pedagogic strategy to engaging learners in higher orders thinking and presents the results from observational research undertaken at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre. The research focused on investigating questioning strategies used to facilitate the inquiry-based Mission to Mars program. The aim of the program is to engage and immerse students in a technology rich and sensory stimulating environment based on real-life scenarios and hands-on approach to science learning within the context of space. The results of the research are presented in a report that highlights the importance of questioning in science education and presents VSSEC with some valuable data, feedback and recommendations for improvement. The research outcomes were presented at a mini-conference with university peers.

Access the full research paper HERE

Access the research presentation HERE

Visualising the wonder of a living cell

Medical Illustrator David Bolinsky combines the beauty of art and science as well as educates through animations that make it easier for students to visualise, thus better understand the many complex concepts and processes of life on a microscopic level.

Absolutely stunning!

These animations can be viewed on:




Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein

The aim of this project was to not only develop a major teaching resource in areas of Cell Biology, Visual Arts/Sculpture and Graphic Design, but also to investigate how cross-curricular multimodal projects could serve as a tool for developing, reviewing and solidifying student knowledge, skills and understanding of science, art and design, as well as for the cultivation of creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. Read more →

Carving up the Amazon

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Title: Carving up the Amazon

Date: 22 May 2014
Author: Barbara Fraser
Source: Nature
Science category: Biological and Environmental sciences
Style: Academic journal article

Summary: This article describes the growth of infrastructure and roads throughout South America and the detrimental impacts this has had on the Amazon rainforest. The main focus in on deforestation and its impacts on the environment. New roads attract loggers, farmers, ranchers, land speculators, miners and others who aid in the destruction of the forest. These scars on the landscape are obvious and bring about a cascade of environmental changes that weaken the ecosystem and result in permanent changes and damage. Read more →

Return of the wild

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Title: Return of the wild

Date: 1st March 2014
Author: Sara Reardon
Source: New Scientist
Science category: Ecology/Conservation
Style: Popular science magazine article

Summary: This article talks about the concept of ‘rewilding’ that has been a hot topic in the conservation circles. The idea is to return large areas of land to their natural state, rebuilding ecosystems and reintroducing species that have long since vanished. This would include animals such as wolves and bears, which have been actively exterminated because they were detrimental to the interests of human settlers or farmers. One of the ways to replace species that are gone for good such as dodo, moa-nalo, the giant Hawaiian duck is to introduce alien species in hope that they will do the same jobs as the ones long gone.

The article poses a number of ethical dilemmas: is this a good idea or are we foolishly meddling with nature? Are we dealing with outcomes we cannot predict? Read more →

Solar System Scope

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Title: Solar System Scope – Online 3D simulation of Solar System and night sky

Date: 2013
Author: INOVE s.r.o.
Source: www.solarsystemscope.com
Science category: Earth and space sciences – Astronomy
Style: Website

Summary: A must have online software for an astronomer of any skill level.

Suitable for both teachers and students – this interactive 3D simulation contains in depth information and detailed models of the night sky and the solar system.

• Heliocentric view with real-time positions of planets and planetary orbits
• Schematic and realistic sizes of the planets and distances between them
• Movement of the planets in time to see how they move in relation to each other – Virtual Orrery
• Planetary exploration with info text, images and additional views such as structure
• Moons
• Dwarf planets and their orbits
• Comets – positions and trajectories
• Spacecraft Rosetta and its journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
• Stars and constellations of the night sky as viewed from a given location – Virtual Observatory
• Interactive night sky
• Changes in the sky during night, month and year
• Advanced searching of the objects
• Ecliptic line and more Read more →

Why we’re storing billions of seeds

Title: Why we’re storing billions of seeds

Date: February 2009
Author: Jonathan Drori
Source: TED talks
Science category: Biological sciences – Biology, Biodiversity, Environment.
Style: TED talk video clip

Summary: Educator Jonathan Drori highlights that all human life depends on plants. No matter where we live, everything comes back to plants…from provisional perspective – food, medicine, fuel construction and clothing, from cultural perspective – spiritual, recreational, aesthetic, educational and inspirational aspects.

Drori poses a critical question: If all life on Earth depends on plants, would it not make sense that we would employ every effort to save them?

He then turns his focus to biodiversity and explains that the best way to secure a future of a species when it comes to plants is though the storage of seeds and emphasises and outlines the objectives of the Millennium seed bank project and its efforts in saving seeds. He leaves the audience with a question research is currently trying to solve: How can we find the genetic and molecular markers for the viability of seeds, without having to plant them every 10 years? Read more →

Study shows Antarctica’s impact on sea

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Title: Study shows Antarctica’s impact on sea

Date: 29th May 2014
Author: Stuart Gray
Source: ABC Science [Online]
Science category: Environment
Style: News article

Summary: The article reports on the advancement of the Antarctic ice melt over the last 26 000 years and the impacts on increased sea levels. Through analysing Antarctic marine sediment core samples scientists are trying to better understand ice sheet melting events and pinpoint major ice melt episodes. This information is set to aid in confirmation of Antarctic contributions to sea level rise across the globe. They further describe the causes for these events such as changes in precipitations and air temperature, the warming of ice from underneath – subsurface warming – the ocean transferring heat onto the ice shelves. Read more →


A teacher will never have all the answers – learning is a life-long quest!  I believe it is important, as a teacher, to enthusiastically encourage questioning and inquiry – to see, to feel, to think, to wonder (utilise all your senses!) – to inspire and develop a new generation of flexible, creative and innovative minds.

Brian Greene





Science should be fun

Great TED talk all science teachers should view.

Make science more accessible to your students by simplifying the content and making it fun!