Supporting Excellent Science Teaching for Georgia

GSTA October Mini-Conference

GSTA is hosting an October Mini-Conference to support  teachers during this unprecented school year with many districts teaching online. The October theme is EQUITY and how we can support inclusive classrooms with a focus on Science for ALL. Most of the sessions are geared towards K-12, but sessions geared towards K-5 or 6-12 are noted in the title. Sessions may be 15, 30, or 45 minutes. Each session will have an individual link to an online platform such as Zoom, Teams, or Google Meets. There are several recorded sessions from the Georgia Department of Education science team included below.

Please register at:

Live Conference




9:00 - 9:20


Are Students Checking Their Cultures at Your Door? 

Dr. Patricia Morgan, Science Director

Fayette County Schools

President, Georgia Science Supervisors Association

All learning is cultural. How we make sense of the world is cultural. Yet, some of our teaching practices do not value diverse ways of knowing, being, and doing. Culturally Responsive Teaching calls us to use students' cultural identities and cultural references to impart knowledge and attitudes. During this call-to-action, we will discuss the importance of having inclusive science classrooms where students feel valued, make meaningful connections, and see themselves reflected in the curriculum.

Dr. Morgan is an innovative and passionate leader with a heart for equity, access, inclusion, and social justice. She’s written several publications about Cultural Responsiveness, Critical Consciousness, and access and barriers to STEM. She's conducted numerous studies and presentations on these topics at local, national, and international conferences. She has also hosted several keynotes and plenary sessions on diversity, equity, and inclusion for educational and nonprofit organizations.  In her spare time, Dr. Morgan serves as a board member for several educational organizations, binge watches comedies, and is an avid traveler.

Her latest publications include Decoding Careers in DNA: Genetic Coding Lesson Brings Computational Biology and STEM Careers to Life in NSTA’s The Science Teacher, andNegotiating White Science in a Racially and Ethnically Diverse United States in Educational Review

Link to Recording

Link to Resources

9:25 - 10:05

Direct-to-Discovery: Free resources to engage ALL students in STEM (virtually!)

Tyler Kinner, Georgia Tech GTRI

Leslie Dunham, Gwinnett County Schools

In this workshop, teachers will have the opportunity to learn about and connect with resources from the Direct-to-Discovery program (D2D). D2D connects researchers at Georgia Tech and Georgia Tech Research Institute with K12 classrooms around the state. Moving beyond simple, one-off interactions, we are actively working towards sustained support of K12 classrooms in engaging all students in STEM through the development of accompanying lesson plans, design challenges, and professional learning for teachers. Aside from sharing information and resources about D2D, this session will engage teachers in the early stages of planning virtual design challenges in their classrooms.

Link to Recording                 Link to Resources


What do 94% of kids have in common? Learn how to Break Barriers, Expand Equity and Engage Struggling Students using Game-Based Learning (K-8)

Sean Reidy and Lindsay Buckel, Legends of Learning

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 90% of children aged 6-18 in the United States are regular or casual gamers. The love of gaming is something that students across all ages, genders, cultures, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and physical abilities share. Vanderbilt University published research on the efficacy of game-based learning in the Journal of the Learning Sciences. The research shows large gains for learners across all backgrounds and abilities.

In this session, teachers can expect to learn how to:
Use an innovative approach to game-based learning as a primary vehicle for science instruction to promote problem-solving, reasoning, and discourse for all students.

Create an equitable learning environment where students can use multiple representations to solve problems and progress at their own rate, allowing for differentiation based on student needs.

Participants will receive first-hand experience of what collaboration and achievement can look like through hands-on game-based learning resources. Come ready to collaborate, compete, learn some science, and have a whole lot of fun!



Culturally Responsive Science Teaching

Teresa Massey, DeKalb County Schools

This presentation fosters the ideology that cultures should be considered in planning science lessons and teaching students.  Connecting the ideas of relevancy and efficacy, teachers should consider culture when working toward student excellence. Science teachers will gain ideas that support cultural respect, the value of diversity, fairness, and equity in the learning environment.

Link to Recording                    

11:20 - 12:05

Using Phenomenon to teach Synchronous and Asynchronously

Dr. Rabieh Hafza, Atlanta Public Schools

Participants will engage with phenomenon-based lesson using synchronous and asynchronous teaching in the 5E Lesson Framework.  The lesson overview will guide teachers through using digital resources that promote 3-D learning with phenomenon integrated throughout the 5E both synchronously and asynchronously.

     Link to Resources

12:10 - 12:55

Equitable Learning in Science Classrooms

Dr. Patricia Morgan, Fayette County Schools

Amanda Buice, Georgia DOE

Dr. Reagan Biwott, Metro RESA

The importance of community is essential - even in a digital world. Virtual spaces present unique challenges and this session explores how we can create equitable classroom communities to foster trust and caring relationships. We will unpack how all science learning is cultural and SEPs can support learners in making sense of phenomena through a cultural lens.

Link to Recording                 

 Link to Resources

1:00 - 1:45

Emancipate STEM Education: Strategies for Justice-Oriented and Culturally Sustaining STEM Curriculum

Dr. Natalie King, Laura Pena and Vanessa Grady

Georgia State University

In this workshop, we engage attendees in effective strategies and best practices for STEM teachers to promote equity and infuse criticality into their curriculum. We share how to integrate science into disciplinary content areas while embedding social justice and technology standards. Attendees will learn how to create inclusive spaces that promote transformative and culturally sustaining STEM curriculum.

Link to Recording

Link to Resources

1:50 – 2:05

1:50  - 2:20

Science and Social Studies GEMS (K-5)

Judie Beccaro and Kim Bernard

Fayette County Schools


Finding Phenomena at Zoo Atlanta (6-12)

Jade Ricketts & Colleen Murphy

Zoo Atlanta

This project highlights contributions of individuals who have faced adversity because of race and/or gender in science and history.  This project expands the narrative of social studies and celebrates the scientific accomplishments of these individuals so that students can see themselves represented in these individuals.

Link to Recording                      Link to Resources


Teachers will learn how to use the Zoo's website to find phenomena at the middle and high school level. Why do flamingos have pink feathers, what causes a chameleon to change color, do lions get hairballs? These are just some of the questions that we will explore during our virtual session! 

 Prerecorded Sessions

Georgia DOE Recorded Sessions

Co-Teaching in the 3D Classroom

Science & the English Learner: Ensuring that ELs Obtain, Evaluate & Communicate the Language of Science

DOE Playlist 

Link to additional recordings from the Georgia DOE Science Team.

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