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2024 FAST Conference

Igniting Curiosity, Illuminating Minds

October 24-26, 2024

Embassy Suites USF

Tampa, FL


at the end of July!

Please read below!

 Main Conference Registration page <--click here

Scroll below for hotel reservations and descriptions of

the workshops, the field trips and social events.

Continue to access our website for the latest updates!


Florida Association of Science Teachers Conference

Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa USF

3705 Spectrum Blvd

Tampa, FL 33612

 October 24 – 26, 2024

Igniting Curiosity, Illuminating Minds; Florida Science Shines Bright

                  Call for Presenters!          

Deadline for Submission: June 19, 2024

We are looking now for your expertise and contributions to our conference.  If you would like to share and present, please apply by completing the Presenters Form online at                          


We are looking for 55-minute presentations for concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday of the FAST Conference.  The focus should incorporate and address the theme Igniting Curiosity, Illuminating Minds; Florida Science Shines Bright and the Florida NGSSS standards.

If you want to provide a 2 - hour workshop experience on Thursday, October 24h, notify Nancy Besley directly as soon as possible (  (There are limited spots for workshops!)

You will be notified by July 12th if the presentation is accepted.


·      The presenters must provide their own equipment – projector, computer, extension cords, etc. 

·       All presenters/co-presenters will be required to register and pay for the Conference by September 20, 2024, to hold your presentation slot (no refunds).

If you have questions, please contact

Conference Admission Prices!

Early Bird Registration is open until October 7, 2024

General Conference  (presenters DO NOT use, see below)    

              Early Bird        $75  (ends October 7, 2024)

              Regular         $100  (after October 7, 2024) 

Life members               

             Early Bird        $40  (ends October 7, 2024)

             Regular           $55  (after October 7, 2024) 

This is for life members ONLY. If you would like to become a life member, click on the JOIN US button on the homepage.


Presenter     $75

This registration button is for approved PRESENTER and CO-PRESENTER registration ONLY 

NOTICE: All PRESENTERS and CO-PRESENTERS must register and pay by Sept 20, 2024 to secure their session. 

Conference Registration page<--click here

The conference registration page includes conference registration, field trips, social events and workshops.

Vendor Information for our Conference

For Vendor information pertaining to the Exhibit Hall at our Conference,

please contact

 Sharon Cutler:

VENDOR REGISTRATION FORM <--Click here if you would like to represent your company at our 2022 FAST Conference in St. Augustine

Register for the Conference, Workshops and Social Events Here

  • No upcoming events


Dear Attendees:

Instructions for booking a room through our link.

Click on link below. You will see in BLUE the entire block dates for our conference. To shorten your stay, you must edit by clicking on the BLUE number 21 (Oct), put in your check in/check out dates, click done, then you will see your dates on the calendar. Then click UPDATE. Now choose your room.

You must use our link to get the $5 overnight parking rate which will be adjusted at checkout.

BOOKING LINK for the Embassy Suites (3705 Spectrum Blvd)

Hotel Booking Link for the Embassy Suites

If you have questions concerning the hotel or unable to book a room at the FAST rate,

please email Barbara Rapoza at

Embassy Suites By Hilton Tampa

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Program Book for 2023 Conference in Tampa!

Schedule at a Glance/Agenda for our 2023 Conference!

Social Events and Workshops available at the Conference

There is a small fee to attend the field trip and the workshops that is in addition to the conference registration fee. Concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday are free.  Conference registration is required to attend all events. 

Field Trip

 Busch Gardens SOLD OUT

Special STEM/Science program at Busch gardens

Start the day with a light breakfast with Busch Garden’s Educational Staff. Your training begins with a guided expedition through their Safari grounds followed by a tour of the Animal Care Center. Become aware of rollercoaster physics by having a front of the line experience on a coaster! Afterwards, you will be allowed to roam the grounds on your own. Lunch is on your own. Transportation will be provided to the park but you will have to access the free shuttle to return to the hotel. Meet in lobby at 8:45 for a 9:15 start at Busch Gardens. Cost: $5.00.

Social Event

 Meet and Greet! 

     Sponsored by FPL & Accelerate Learning

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2023

Time: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Cost-FREE! Pre-registration required

Even though the cost is free to everyone, you MUST REGISTER by October 6, 2023 to ATTEND! Your registration allows us to order enough food and drink so all attendees will have a great time! You must be registered for the conference to attend. 

Location: Hotel Atrium

Come as you are and enjoy snacks, beverages and the company of your colleagues.


Thursday, October 19, 2023

We are pleased to offer 11 exciting workshops on Thursday, October 19th.    Pre-registration is required for these workshops which are 2- or 3-hour in-depth sessions.  The cost to attend a workshop on Thursday is in addition to the conference registration fee. Concurrent sessions on Friday are free with paid conference registration.     

Any workshop not meeting minimum capacity will be cancelled.

Workshop #1

#1:  Food Waste-to-Energy: Using Anaerobic Biodigesters for Authentic STEM Research in the Classroom

Audience: Middle and High School Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and Environmental Science Teachers (Grades 6 - 12)

Presented by: University of South Florida -  Allan Feldman, Emeritus Professor of Science Education; Rita Ortiz, Science Teacher Education Doctoral student; Natalie AmRhein, Environmental Science and Biology Major;  David Wright, Master’s degree student, Public Health ; and KebreAb Ghebremichael, Associate Professor of Instruction, Patel College of Global Sustainability

Time:  9:00 – 11:00 AM                                                             Maximum:  30

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:    8

Have you been looking for ways to engage your students in authentic STEM activities that build their interest in studying STEM, help them learn important concepts found in the NGSSS, and teach them the methods that scientists and engineers use in their work? In this workshop you will learn to implement an activity in which students investigate how microbes transform organic wastes to biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) and fertilizer using anaerobic biodigestion (ABD) in biodigesters.

You will work in teams like your students, by first learning about ABD and its importance to reduce waste and produce energy. You will then develop research questions and plan investigations about how to improve the biodigesters to produce more methane. In your teams you will each build a biodigester model using inexpensive and easily obtainable materials (e.g., plastic water bottles, flexible tubing, and rubber stoppers) that are the same that your students would use in your classrooms. You will also learn how to measure the biogas and methane production using the same methods that your students would use.

We will provide with background information about the science and engineering of biodigesters, and complete curriculum materials for implementing the activity. When you do the activity, your students will be able to have live Q&A sessions with scientists and engineers who are studying ABD, and we will be available during the school year to provide any help you need.  [This activity was developed using funding from the National Science Foundation.]

Workshop #2SOLD OUT

#2:  Designing and Implementing Groupwork to Improve Collaboration and Increase Participation and Engagement from All Students

Audience:  K-12 Science Teachers      

Presented by: Anna Monteiro, Associate Director of Senior Fellows Program, Knowles Teacher Initiative

Time:  9:00 AM – 11:00 AM                                                      Maximum:  30

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:    6

This workshop aims to acquaint participants with Complex Instruction (CI), a collaborative learning strategy developed at Stanford University and widely employed in mathematics education. Utilizing CI in science classrooms can effectively engage a broader range of students in groupwork tasks. The session will primarily focus on a specific aspect of Complex Instruction, namely the influence of actionable norms on student engagement in cognitively demanding tasks, consider how social and academic student status influences participation in groupwork, and learn strategies to disrupt status differentials and encourage participation from all students during collaborative work. This session will also include connections to the practices of science and support teachers in thinking about ways to promote these practices by leveraging curiosity through groupwork.

Teachers will engage in two tasks as learners and experience and describe the different strategies applied by the presenters to promote productive collaboration such as, multiple abilities treatment, participation quiz, assigned roles, and stamp quiz. The goal for this session is for participants to leave with several strategies they can employ in their classrooms on Monday to make groupwork a more effective and meaningful collaborative learning experience. Teachers will leave with a groupwork planning tool to support the development and implementation of groupwork in their classrooms.

Workshop #3 CANCELED

#3:  Independent Research and Sharpening Data Visuals in Student Research

Audience: Middle and High School Science Teachers

Time:  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM                                                    Maximum:  30

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:    6

Presented by:  Jenn Cotton, Program and Outreach Manager, Headwaters Science Institute; and Aaron Reedy, Co-founder and CEO, DataClassroom

Headwaters Science Institute and DataClassroom have teamed up to bring you an interactive research experience. Design your own research project and collect data to investigate your question in this mini field experience. Learn the general strategies for helping students go from question to graph and show how those ideas are built into the technology that can bring data (and even statistics!) to life for your students. You will learn how to implement this training in your classroom so you can make science come alive with your students. 

Workshop #4

#4:  Interactive Word Wall Workshop: Experience Building a Visual Scaffold that Supports Speaking and Writing About Science

Audience: K-12 Classroom Teachers, Science Supervisors, and Science Coaches

Time:  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM                                                    Maximum:  40

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:    5

Presented by: Julie Jackson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Science Education, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Reading, interpreting, and producing domain-specific text are fundamental practices of science. Interactive word walls help develop students’ ability to read and produce the genres of texts that are intrinsic to science. They resemble graphic organizers, strategically target academic vocabulary, are planned by teachers, and built by students. Interactive word walls support developing scientific explanations, build academic vocabulary, and provide an overview of each lesson and/or unit.

Interactive word walls organize science content and academic vocabulary. The CER Framework

helps student use claims, evidence, and reasoning statements to structure science talk and science writing while creating and using scientific explanations. Individually, interactive word walls and CER statements are very effective. In combination, these practices enable robust instruction and simultaneously enhance and improve scientific understanding, scientific explanations, and scientific discourse.

Participants will build an interactive word wall and use the CER Framework to construct scientific explanations to justify placement of items on the interactive word wall. We will experience using the interactive word wall to support speaking and writing about science.  Participants will have access to a Google drive folder that contains the handouts and materials used during the session.

Workshop #5   SOLD OUT

#5:  Moving the Needle: Highly Engaging Activities to Incorporate Nature of Science throughout the School Year!

Audience: Elementary, Middle, and High School Teachers (3-9)

Time:  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM                                                    Maximum:   25

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:   10

Presented by: Jeff Dudukovich, STEM Education Consultant with S.T.E.M. PROS, LLC and Seminole County Public Schools Physics Bus Teacher

Join our dynamic workshop for science educators, grades 3-9! Discover a treasure trove of highly engaging activities and engineering design challenges that will seamlessly integrate Nature of Science standards into your classroom year-round! From exploring the principles of motion and force to investigating the properties of materials, teachers will learn how to transform their classrooms into hubs of scientific exploration. Through these hands-on experiences, students will not only develop a solid foundation in STEM but also cultivate scientific inquiry as habit.

The workshop will showcase various engineering design challenges, including the construction of a stomp rocket using a simple yet versatile stomp rocket launcher design and building vehicles and creating diverse testing criteria will allow students to apply the scientific method in a fun and practical manner. Participants will learn how to guide their students in identifying variables to be tested, making predictions, and analyzing data to draw conclusions.

Join us to unlock the potential of hands-on STEM experiences to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators. Teachers will receive numerous lesson ideas that they can implement immediately.

 Workshop #6  

#6:  Engaging Students in Science through Eliciting Ideas about Phenomena

Audience:   Secondary (Middle and High School Teachers)

Time:  1:00 PM – 3:00 PM                                                        Maximum:   36

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:   10

Presented by:  Dr. Ellen Granger, AAAS Fellow, Director FSU Office of STEM Teaching, Co-Director, FSU-Teach and Todd Bevis, Director, Professional Development Programs, FSU Office of STEM Teaching Activities

Interesting phenomena can readily engage students in science and ignite their curiosity; such phenomena are often called “anchoring phenomena” for lessons and/or units. Once one has an anchoring phenomenon, what are the best strategies for eliciting student ideas about the phenomenon and getting them to do the heavy lifting of sense-making about it?

This workshop will engage teacher participants in a hands-on science activity as an exemplar of such instruction and then unpack the pedagogy and teacher moves that underpin it. The activity itself can be used as part of a unit on climate science or in a physical science class (chemistry or physics) or even a biology class as it engages students deeply in thinking through a fundamental big idea in science. Through the activity and discussion about it, teachers will learn techniques for scaffolding activities and productive classroom discussions to transform classes from places where students are “learning about” science ideas to places where they are “figuring out” science ideas.

Workshop facilitators, Ellen Granger and Todd Bevis, are well-known for their professional development workshops that engage science teachers in cutting-edge, research-based teaching strategies and classroom activities. Both have been recognized with awards for their work with teachers and their Bio sketches are available upon request. The Office of STEM Teaching Activities at Florida State University supports teachers and students throughout Florida with engaging science programs and activities, many of which were developed with funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Academy of Sciences, among others.

Workshop #7SOLD OUT

#7:  Igniting Curiosity Through Science and Children’s Literature

Audience: Elementary Teachers

Time:  1:00 PM – 3:00 PM                                                        Maximum:   20

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:   10

Presented by: Patricia Phillips, Media Specialist, Newberry Elementary and Dr. Ric Ledbetter, Santa Fe College, Retired Professor

This two-hour workshop engages participants in a robust infusion of science, literature, social studies, and art, culminating in a variety of challenges designed to inspire curiosity, creativity, and confidence, devised to equip students with a sense of empowerment to explore the investigative process through their own unique exploration of materials.

In this cross-curricular experience, we will focus on three non-fiction children’s books: The Wonderful Towers of Watts, by Patricia Zelver, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba, and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, by Barbara Kerley.

We will build background knowledge of Simon Rodia and his Watts Towers, William Kamkwamba and his windmills, and natural history sculptor, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, through relevant children’s literature, as well as Google Earth visits around the globe. Discussion topics will also include the Engineering Design model, conventional versus unconventional materials, and reflective self-assessment. Participants will investigate the stories’ underlying science through challenges such as building stable free-standing structures, designing electric circuits, and addressing common misconceptions.

This quick-paced, activity-based workshop offers elementary teachers a variety of hands-on, literature-based, science explorations to easily share with their students using a variety of readily available materials. We will also be giving great door prizes!

Workshop #8

#8:  Climate Conscious Classrooms: Using Environmental Data to Improve our Communities

Audience: Middle and High School Teachers (Grades 6-12)

Time:  1:00 PM – 3:00 PM                                                        Maximum:   30

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:   10

Presented by: Karolyn Burns, Education and Curriculum Manager, the CLEO Institute, and Christy Folk, Orlando Program Manager, the CLEO Institute

Join us for an inspiring and practical workshop offered by the CLEO Institute, designed to empower educators in addressing climate change in their classrooms. In this workshop, you will discover innovative approaches to teaching about climate change and its impact on our planet. From air quality to tree cover, this workshop, facilitated by experts from the CLEO Institute, will equip you with the knowledge and tools to engage your students in meaningful discussions and actionable solutions. Gain insights into environmental parameters, explore hands-on activities, and learn effective communication strategies to inspire and empower your students to become agents of change. Join us as we navigate the complexities of climate change together and shape a sustainable future for generations to come.

Workshop #9

#9:  The Pharmacist: An Interactive STEM Event

Audience:  Middle and High School Teachers (Grades 6-12)

Time:  1:00 PM – 3:00 PM                                                        Maximum:  40

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:  10

Presented by: Dr. Amanda Clark, Associate Professor, & Denise Freeman, Instructor, Natural Sciences Department & School of Education, Chipola College

Come help us create curiosity within yourselves and your students! Freebies included!  This will be a presentation where the educators will be shown how to create a mini classroom STEM event by solving the mystery of THE PHARMACIST.

This interactive workshop involves three lab activities: DNA/Tissue analysis (with or with our electrophoresis machines), fingerprint analysis, residue chemical analysis and even a computer lab activity using Cyber security techniques to analyze documents from the suspects computer. These lab activities are done in three groups concurrently and then they come together to solve the mystery based on the now analyzed clues and lab experiences. This part illustrates collaboration in nature of science and the analysis of data and evidence.  These lab activities can be done in a fully equipped school or in classrooms with no equipment. We provide modifications that can be used in any situation.  

Workshop #10

#10:  Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) Car Building Workshop

Audience:  Elementary and Middle School Teachers (Grades 4 – 8)   

Time:  2:00 PM – 5:00 PM                                                        Maximum:   32

Pre-registration Required   $5                                                 Minimum:   10

Presented by: Susan Schleith, Program Director, K-12 Energy Education, Florida Solar Energy Center, University of Central Florida

The Junior Solar Sprint (JSS)* is a hands-on, project-based program for 4th- 8th grade students emphasizing STEAM knowledge and skills.  It also introduces students to solar electric (photovoltaic) technology - a growing industry in America. 

The goal of JSS is for teams of 2-4 students to successfully design, build and race a model-sized vehicle, powered by photovoltaic (PV) technology. JSS competitions are held throughout Florida and the United States, with a national event held annually in conjunction with the National TSA Conference.

This 3-hour teacher workshop introduces the process for implementing a JSS program. Participants work in teams as the students would, designing, building, and then testing their vehicle in a “mock” race, reflecting the engineering process.  In addition to building a vehicle to keep, each attendee will receive a JSS solar panel and vehicle motor.  Free give-aways and door prizes provided, too!    

*JSS is a program created by Argonne National Laboratory and was implemented by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado.  The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has coordinated JSS races in Florida in cooperation with NREL since 1992.  The program is endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and is currently one of the STEM programs supported by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and the Technology Student Association (TSA). 

Workshop #11

#11:  Creating Curiosity with Projects for Organization and Development of Organisms – Cells and Body Systems

Audience:  Teachers Grades 5, 6, and High School Life Science

Time:  2:00 PM – 5:00 PM                                                        Maximum:   32

Pre-registration Required   $15                                               Minimum:   10

($15 includes:  Each attendee will receive choice of Guts or Cell-ebrate Science apron project, a box of ten permanent fabric markers, and instructions for all the projects in session description above.)

Presenter:  Jody Hodges, an award-winning Science Educator and creator of

In this session you will learn project ideas that can be used to create curiosity and assess student understanding of Florida NGSSS science standards relating to the organization and development of organisms. Your students will look forward to creating these projects to demonstrate their understanding of cells and body systems and will want to keep them to share what they have learned with others!

The projects include newspaper bones (and  assemble a life-sized skeleton), customized and labeled  axial/appendicular pasta skeleton,  and an articulated hand model to demonstrate interaction of  the musculoskeletal system. Participants will also design their own “Guts” or “Cell-ebrate Science” apron.  Your guts apron will identify organs/functions of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems.  Or create a Cell-ebrate apron to illustrate (your choice) the cell theory, cell cycle, mitosis, homeostasis, prokaryotic vs eukaryotic, organelles and functions, or uncontrolled cell growth/disease. The aprons can be worn  in the classroom and serve as a wearable anchor chart when teaching cells and body systems and will inspire students to want to create their own wearable science project. Wait, there’s more… You’ll also learn “Single Cells” and “The Mitosis Song” to help teach cell division, receive event descriptions for the Human Body Olympics, and gain ideas for publicly sharing your student’s models to increase motivation and spread science literacy in your community.

Concurrent Sessions Free with Paid Registration

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