ActiveMath® Workshop Schedule

Our math workshops promote excitement in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
ActiveMath is proud to have been providing excellence in professional development since 1994.

$215 for one workshop; $195 each when two or more registrations are received at the same time.
Registration fee includes extensive coursebook with blacklines, full breakfast, and a delicious lunch.

Call today for reduced group rates: (847) 722–8690


Seminar #SM24: Teaching Problem Solving, Grades 5–8

Problem solving is the NUMBER ONE reason for studying mathematics.

In this hands-on seminar, participants working in small groups actively engage in using proven strategies and activities that foster understanding of how to approach and solve problems. The problems solved in the seminar derive from all domains of mathematics in the grades 5–8 curriculum as identified by the Common Core State Standards — illustrating that problem solving permeates all of mathematics. The domains include Number and Operations—Fractions; Ratios and Proportional Relationships; The Number System; Expressions and Equations; Geometry; and Statistics and Probability. Estimation strategies are used throughout.

Participants will leave the seminar with a rich collection of real-world applications and “classic” problems that have been prepared by the instructor to be directly used with students. The driving force of this seminar is CCSS Mathematical Practice 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

Topics include:

  • Real-World Warm-up Problems: Participants explore techniques for using warm-ups based on historical events and comics to connect math to the real world — and to make every moment in class count.
  • Actions and Operations — Big Ideas in Problem Solving: Key actions, visual models, and problem structures are explored for each operation to provide insight as to why a particular operation is appropriate to use to solve a given problem. An understanding of situations that suggest these operations — including the story actions that are involved — is an important step in helping students become better problem-solvers.
  • Academic Research on Teaching Problem Solving: Participants study problem solving from the perspectives of teaching about problem solving (problem-solving skills and strategies), teaching for problem solving (real-world applications), and teaching through problem solving (inquiry-based learning).
  • George Pólya’s Problem-Solving Process: Participants learn how to use George Pólya’s 4-phase problem-solving process: Understand, Plan, Solve, and Look Back — together with guiding questions to pose to students during each phase of the process.
  • Problem-Solving Strategies: The following toolkit of problem-solving strategies are explored — with several sample non-routine problems provided for each strategy:
    Organize Information     Find a Pattern     Use Guess and Check     Use a Model (Act It Out)     Use a Diagram     Use Logic     Solve a Simpler/Related Problem      Work Backwards
  • Guided Problem Solving: Participants work in groups to examine and develop their own guiding questions to use with students during each phase of George Pólya’s problem-solving process for selected non-routine problems. The use of effective guiding questions is at the heart of being an effective teacher of problem solving.
  • A Walk in the PARCC: Participants apply strategies to solve sample PARCC assessment items.
  • Group Estimation, Problem Solving, and Alternative Assessments: Participants experience how working in groups helps students become better estimators and problem-solvers. Participants work individually, and then in ever-increasing larger groups to estimate the number of m&m’s in a jar. Participants work collaboratively to solve problems — and then engage in a unique activity that effectively assesses both group and individual problem-solving performance.
  • Enjoyment of Mathematics Via “Cartoon Corner”: David is co-editor of NCTM’s “Cartoon Corner” (in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School) — so you can expect some humor in this seminar. We will have some serious levity with these “Cartoon Corner” activities:
    • When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade
      Explore various types of division situations in a consumer context.
    • Presidential Puzzlers
      Explore problems based on factual information about various U.S. presidents.
    • Problem-Solving Perseverance Pays Off
      Explores “classic” non-routine problems that promote “productive struggle.”

This course provides instructional strategies designed to address the needs of both regular and special-education students. All teachers, including those teaching developmental curricula or math education courses, should benefit from this seminar.

THIS WORKSHOP INCLUDES

  • An extensive coursebook with blacklines to use directly with your students
  • A complimentary full breakfast and a delicious lunch
  • A copy of David’s book, Math for Real Kids: Common Core Problems, Application, and Activities for Grades 4–7
  • A certificate of participation suitable for framing and a fascinating puzzle

There will be an opportunity to examine and purchase supplemental math materials. Bring your school Tax ID to the workshop.

One hour of graduate level professional development credit, for an additional $65 fee paid at the workshop, available through
Brandman University Extended Education – Course Number: EDDU 9412
A reflection paper is required for graduate level professional development.
CPDU Provider: National-Louis University — 6.25 Illinois CPDUs are available for this workshop
No outside assignments are required to receive CPDUs.


Seminar #SM25: Financial Literacy: Connecting Math to Finance, Grades 6–12

❝Money management is one life skill that our school systems ignore all too frequently. While thousands of schools have added some form of money training to the curriculum, the truth is that students leave high school today with little or no more money savvy than previous generations.❞
—Charles A. Jaffe, Financial Editor, The Boston Globe

This seminar explores basic financial concepts and mathematical skills — lessons for life — that students should acquire to be critical consumers in the real world as they graduate from test scores to credit scores. The goal is to prepare students so that as young adults they will have the confidence to make wise financial decisions.

Participants will explore original materials from the instructor, along with FREE materials from selected websites — lesson plans, downloadable PDFs, Powerpoints, activities, assessments, games, and more. Participants will leave the seminar with an extensive, annotated list of  URLs to Financial Literacy websites and news stories to equip them to begin to develop or to augment a financial literacy curriculum. We will begin the seminar by taking a financial literacy quiz — tied to specific upcoming activities in the seminar — to set the stage for the day’s cash-course.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Illinois Financial Literacy Standards; National Standards in K–12 Personal Finance Education
    What are they; how can you implement them?
  • Using credit cards wisely — Use, don’t abuse
    To charge or not to charge: that is the question. Exactly how much does it cost to buy now and pay more later?  Are all forms of debt equal? What is good debt versus bad debt?
  • Student loans
    How does this affect one’s future dreams and financial security?
  • Your Credit Score
    What is its purpose? How does it impact you? What’s in it, and how can you improve it?
  • Investing in a diversified portfolio in the stock market
    We will engage in a stock-market simulation to explore different scenarios.
  • Saving for the future in retirement accounts
    It is in your interest to appreciate the power of tax-deferred compounding.
  • Understanding risk management, insurance, and expected value
    Why purchase insurance? (Things happen; protect what you have!)
  • Your pay stub
    What’s in it? How much are you able to keep?
  • Making and adhering to a budget
    Most people who spend more than they earn don’t plan to fail. Rather, they fail to plan.
  • Wealth distribution in the United States
    What do people think it is? What do people ideally think it should be? What is it really?

Mathematical skills include (but are not limited to):

  • Computing percents, discounts, and mark-ups
  • Checking your checking account (A balancing act that will keep you from losing your balance!)
  • Strategies for determining the best buy (It makes cents to shop wisely!)
  • Computing the annual percentage rate based on monthly payments for a car and on payments made on payday loans
  • Using a spreadsheet to figure out how long it will take to pay off a credit-card debt when only the minimum due is paid each month (Excel program provided for your laptop)
  • Using a spreadsheet to figure out how much will be in an IRA account at age 65 based on various deposits and rates of return (Excel program provided for your laptop)

Experience some serious levity with these “Cartoon Corner” activities:

  • Getting Mileage Out of Your 401(k)
    Explore 401(k) as a retirement vehicle, company contributions, and annual percentage rate.
  • Taxing Problems
    Explore using an income tax table, payroll deductions, and more.
  • Welcome to the Real World
    Explore percent pay raises based on hourly rates and yearly salaries.

This course provides instructional strategies designed to address the needs of both regular and special-education students. All teachers, including those teaching developmental curricula or math education courses, should benefit from this seminar.

THIS WORKSHOP INCLUDES

  • An extensive coursebook with blacklines to use directly with your students
  • A complimentary full breakfast and a delicious lunch
  • A certificate of participation suitable for framing and a fascinating puzzle

There will be an opportunity to examine and purchase supplemental math materials. Bring your school Tax ID to the seminar.

One hour of graduate level professional development credit, for an additional $65 fee paid at the workshop, available through
Brandman University Extended Education – Course Number: EDTU 9008
A reflection paper is required for graduate level professional development.
CPDU Provider: National-Louis University — 6.25 Illinois CPDUs are available for this workshop
No outside assignments are required to receive CPDUs.


2720 Dundee Road PMB 146, Northbrook, Illinois 60062
Tel: (847) 722–8690, Fax: (847) 564–3406

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