ActiveMath® Workshop Schedule


$195 for one workshop; $180 each when two or more registrations are received at the same time. Registration fee includes extensive coursebook with blacklines, complimentary snacks, and more. Lunch is included where indicated.

Call us for special reduced group rates for workshops.
(847) 722–8690

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Fall 2016 Seminar

Seminar #22: Energizing Common Core Mathematics through Motivational Activities, Grades 5–9

Fall 2016 Seminar

Seminar #22:

Energizing Common Core Mathematics through Motivational Activities, Grades 5–9


This seminar provides experiences and tools to use directly with your students to promote the learning and enjoyment of mathematics — all based on key Common Core State Standards for Grades 5–9. You will engage in classroom-tested, hands-on activities and instructional games that promote mathematical thinking in real-world settings — while fostering positive student attitudes towards mathematics.

You will leave the seminar with a wealth of material and ideas — some interdisciplinary in nature — designed to support instruction of both regular and special-needs students.


  • Mathematical Warm-ups
    —The Date Detective: Connect concepts of number theory to the dates on the calendar. Determine what is mathematically special about today’s date. Is it a multiple date, a factor date, a prime or composite date, a square-me date, a relatively prime date? … And more.

    —“Unfolding the Data” Surveys — Math / Social Studies Connection: Conduct surveys on secret ballots at the beginning of class on topics of student interest based on a statistical question. As you gradually “unfold” the results (perhaps over several days), students use summary numbers and graphs to describe the votes so far — and make predictions for the final results. This process is akin to what occurs as the returns come in during election eve.

    —What Year Am I?: Revisit Common Core skills each day with warm-ups couched in historical settings. Students use a set of mathematical clues to determine the mystery year of the historical event. A quick daily review of mixed skills is an excellent way to improve the performance of students of all ability levels.
  • The More or Less Game: Order a mixture of factions, decimals, and percents by placing cards for those numbers on a number line. In another version of the game, the game cards contain fraction computation problems — with students placing the cards on the number line based on the magnitude of the answers.
  • The Year Game — Order of Operations: In this free NCTM / The Math Form game, students use each digit in 2016 exactly once, along with operation and grouping symbols, to create the counting numbers 1–100. The game includes manipulatives to provide for differentiation. Updates are provided each year.
  • Editor Error Search — Math / Language Arts Connection: Students play the role of teacher in finding and correcting errors in “student work” — and then discussing the underlying misconceptions. The errors to be uncovered involve fraction operations, word problems, and spelling/grammar.
  • Cooperative Problem Solving: Experience how group problem solving — where EACH member of the group holds an essential clue to solving a problem — engages students of all ability levels in a process that promotes the enjoyment of problem solving while producing multiple solution strategies.
  • What’s Inside a Bag of m&m's? Collect and analyze class data on the contents of a bag of m&m’s — and then make predictions about the contents of an unopened bag. This activity bridges descriptive and inferential statistics using frequency tables, graphs, percents, measures of central tendency, and measures of variability. Connections are also made to probability.
  • “Cartoon Corner” Problems: Explore how to use problems based on mathematical cartoons to motivate students while you introduce, reinforce, or review skills. David Spangler, co-editor of “Cartoon Corner” for the NCTM journal Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, will share a variety of Cartoon Corner articles keyed to Common Core State Standards from the domains Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Ratios and Proportional Relationships, Geometry, Probability and Statistics, and more.
  • Geometry BINGO: Apply the hierarchy of geometric shapes in a game where the more you know about a figure, the more BINGO squares you can cover. Come away with a complete set of cards of geometric shapes — along with the individual BINGO cards.
  • Sum Exploring with Magic Squares: Discover to apply rotations and reflections on a Magic Square to obtain an efficient way to find all of the Magic Squares for a given set of integers.
  • Ratios and Proportions in Body Measurements — Math / Art Connection: Explore how the golden ratio and other ratios occur in your body measurements. Learn how easy it is to make a self-portrait.
  • Mathematical Blunders: Analyze real-world situations that illustrate a misuse of mathematics. This activity encourages students to become critical consumers of everyday mathematics.
  • The Power of Algebra: Appreciate how algebraic expressions provide the key to explaining WHY number and card “tricks” work. It’s not magic; it’s Algebra!
  • That’s Mathematics: Discuss how the lyrics to Tom Lehrer’s song illustrate connections between mathematics and the real-world — answering the question, “When am I ever going to use math?”

All teachers, including those teaching developmental curricula or math education teachers, should benefit from this workshop.

Dates: Wednesday October 26, 2016
Registration: 8:00 am
Workshop hours:
Friday 8:30 am – 3:30 pm


The Continental Restaurant and Banquet
788 S. Buffalo Grove Road
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Phone: 847/459-4095

David B. Spangler

Recipient of the 2014 ICTM
Lee Yunker Mathematics
Leadership Award
(Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics)

During the past 40+ years, David has taught at the middle school, community college, and university levels. He currently teaches mathematics methods courses for National-Louis University, and he is a developer of mathematics curriculum materials for grades K–12.

David has authored a number of math books for teachers and students, including Math for Real Kids, and Strategies for Teaching Fractions. He is co-editor of NCTM’s Cartoon Corner in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School.

Registration Fee:

  • The cost for one workshop: $195.
  • Two or more registrations received at the same time: Only $180 each.


  • An extensive coursebook with blacklines to use directly with your students
  • A copy of David’s book, Mathematics Explorations: Detective-style Activities for the Real World—a $29.95 value!
    Active Learning
  • A complimentary continental 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 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 9805
A reflection paper is required for graduate level professional development.

CPDU Provider: National-Louis University — 6 Illinois CPDUs are available for this seminar
No outside assignments required to receive CPDUs.

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