Science North/STAO Conference April 23-24, 2021

Science North and STAO are partnering to host a virtual educator professional learning conference on April 23-24, 2021. The theme of the conference eSTEM: Virtual EDI and Digital Strategies will aim to bring equity, diversity and inclusivity to the digital/hybrid STEM classroom. The conference will run on Friday, April 23rd from 1pm to 5pm and Saturday April 24th from 9am to 3pm, and is intended for educators from kindergarten to grade 12. STAO members have access to a 10% discount for the conference. If you would like information on how to register as a STAO member with this discount, please email

We’ve got a full lineup of amazing sessions presented by industry leaders, including some delivered by our very own STAO volunteers! Our sessions cover a variety of topics like EDI, eSTEM and Digital Tools. We’ve featured our STAO sessions to give you a better understanding of what to expect. You can access the full lineup of sessions by clicking here.

STEM Inquiries are still possible: From kindergarten to grade 5!

Presented by Ray Mercer 

Let’s discuss how you can adapt your STEM-based inquires to be used in a social distances classroom or for distance learning/online learning. For a STEM educator there is no better opportunity to partner with our students and their families to create, experiment, and inquiry with the materials at hand. 

Building Nature Connection: How to Organize an Eco-Fair at your School

Presented by Michael Frankfort

In this session, participants will learn about the six year journey of a student-inquiry eco-fair project through the York Region District School Board. Michael Frankfort from Anne Frank Public School and currently Elementary Virtual School will be discussing and sharing ways to engage your students from an ecological and environmental perspective in the creation of student inquiry projects. Students from Michael’s current class will be co-facilitating the workshop in order to work with the participants through virtual hands-on learning activities and relevant discussions. The workshop will take on a hands-on inquiry model-based approach and participants will take on the role of students in order to build their own curiosity for what environmental issues are important to them. Partnership opportunities, grant applications and

funding options will also be discussed and shared. Participants will walk away from this session with resources and ideas that they can use right away in their classrooms.

It Matters Who Does Science! Good science requires different perspectives, lived experiences and knowledge systems

Presented by Catherine Birnie & Ann Chlorakos

In this conference session we discuss the Nature of Science curriculum resource produced by the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) for grades 9-12. The Nature of Science video highlights the scientific process and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in science, and speaks to students that their voice matters in science. 

We will explore how teachers can use the Nature of Science curriculum resource and other resources that explore the scientific process with their classes, in person or online. We will discuss strategies used to deliver a variety of nature of science/scientific process activities that promote student centred collaboration, as used by teachers and students at the OSC Science School. 

Tech Tools for Teaching and Assessment in the Secondary Classroom (Grade 7 to 12)

Presented by Laura Wodlinger

Let’s discuss how tech tools can make teaching easier and better without having to spend all of our time learning how to use them.   Together we can share the best of the best for team-building, teaching, and assessment.   Let’s talk about tech tools like Peardeck, EduFlow, Breakout Room Jamboards, Google Science Journal, Digital Escape Games, Kahoot, Screen Recording, and more. Come share your favourites and learn some new ones.

Connecting with the Natural World

Presented by Sheila Rhodes

This session will provide practical ideas about how to connect students to the natural world. 

Online Assessment Strategies for 9-12 Science

Presented by Sandra Gambarotto

This session will examine some tools for assessments in the virtual classroom. Features of Edpuzzle, EquatIO, Screencastify, Google Jamboard and more will be presented with specific curriculum examples on how and when you might use them. This session is geared towards grade 9-12 science teachers, but strategies could work for grade 7/8 as well. 

Hands-on Virtual Learning for K-6

Presented by Graziella Sadler

Help your students feel like scientists with curriculum focused activities in the home.

Integrating Diversity in STEM – Beyond Black History Month

Presented by Leila Knetsch

Wondering how to integrate diversity in STEM beyond February?  You will discover three solid ideas that can tie together careers, real scientists and help students do much needed career exploration.

Learning by Doing: Apps, simulation and games in virtual science classroom (7-12)

Presented by Janice Williams

Teaching laboratory skills is an essential element of middle/high schools science. Flexible instructional models are making it necessary for teachers to find innovative approaches to provide hands-on minds-on investigative experiences for learners. Join me as we explore how apps, interactive sims, and citizen science investigations can serve as flexible tools to advance science knowledge transfer, facilitate sensemaking, as well as further the development, and application of 21st century power skills. This session is best suited for educators teaching students at the Intermediate and Secondary panels.