Available Courses

IMSA’s Signature Strategy of Professional Development

IMSA offers professional development sessions on mathematics, science, technology, and pedagogy for pre-service and in-service educators and administrators. These professional development opportunities align with IMSA’s signature strategy of learning: Inquiry-Based, Problem-Centered, Competency-Driven and Integrative. Professional learning experiences include events held at IMSA, sessions presented at conferences, on-line courses and workshops delivered in schools across the state and beyond. Educator workshops can be customized to meet any school’s specific needs. The professional learning experiences provide Illinois State Board of Education professional learning credit.

IMSA also offers Micro-Credentials and an IMSA Educator Micro-Certification for our educators who complete our professional learning experiences and a portfolio. Click here for more information on Micro-Credentials and the IMSA Educator Micro-Certification.

Upcoming Events:

Spring sessions run until 5/31. Summer sessions begin 6/1.

FREE Introductory Courses:

Introduction to Inquiry Based Teaching – Register: SPRING | SUMMER

Introduction to Problem Centered Learning – Register: SPRING | SUMMER

Introduction to Integrated STEM – Register: SPRING | SUMMER

Introduction to Competency Driven Instruction – Register: SPRING | SUMMER


Professional Learning Experiences:

Science Connected: Utilizing Integrative Techniques in the 6-12 Classroom

REGISTER HERE
Grade band: 6th-12th | Date: July 27 9:30 AM -12:30 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
While it is important for all students to engage in integrated STEM experiences, this can feel challenging in traditional subject-specific settings. In this session, educators will explore how to seamlessly integrate STEM content across multiple disciplines. Two sample lessons will be highlighted. While these activities are designed for middle to high school chemistry and biology, the activities are scalable and the strategies focused upon are applicable across subject matters and grade levels.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Engage in activities that integrate content from multiple disciplines.
  • Identify characteristics of integrative teaching and learning.
  • Reflect on how to engage students in real-world applications of scientific concepts.
  • Apply and adapt integrative techniques to individual curricula and classroom environments.

Hands-On Screens-Off Science for High School Biology and Chemistry

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Grade band: 9th-12th | Date: July 30 9:30 AM -12:30 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
In this session, participants will engage in sample hands-on activities that can be easily implemented and differentiated at the high school science level. Through modeling these activities, participants will explore how to develop meaningful integrative focus questions designed to engage students in making connections across the curriculum. Participants will also explore and reflect on an open-ended activity that provides a more authentic learning environment and better reflects the nature of science.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Engage in hands-on science activities and design challenges that uses common materials and can be differentiated for various uses and grade levels
  • Identify components of inquiry and integrative learning experiences
  • Reflect and build upon the idea that failure is an important part of the design process and provides access to deeper learning
  • Identify strategies to engage students in science and engineering practices and implement scientific inquiry

Welcome to Jurassic Park: An Integrative Experience for High School Biology and English

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Grade band: 9th-12th | Date: August 3 9:00 AM -12:00 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Break down the classroom walls and combine forces with a teaching buddy during this integrative session that combines concepts for both Biology and English 9/10. We will explore a thematic unit that was created using the 5E instructional model and is centered around Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park that allows students to assume the role of a subject matter expert on one side of the debate: Should we create our own ‘Jurassic Park’?
Learning outcomes include:
  • Identify the ‘5 E’s’ within the 5E instructional model, and discuss how to best use the model
  • Explore a two-week thematic unit from both the student and teacher perspective
  • Discuss ways to modify the unit based on student population, remote/virtual opportunities, and more

Pulling it Together: STEM Books, Modeling, and NGSS Lessons for K-5

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Grade band: K-5th | Date: August 5 9:00 AM -12:00 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Class time is limited. How do we fit science into an already packed day to ensure our students have an opportunity to experience science? Using an interdisciplinary approach helps to address time constraints. We will explore key components of modeling, combine them with the use of STEM books and apply them in NGSS lessons.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Identify components of developing and using models.
  • Discuss benefits of using models.
  • Explore STEM related books for use in science classes.

Naval Engineering for 4th and 5th Grade

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Grade band: 4th-5th | Date: August 6 9:30 AM -1:00 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Reading The Girl with a Mind for Math, we learn about the career of Raye Montegue, an African-American woman who broke every barrier to pioneer computer-aided ship design and become the first female program manager in United States Navy. Lessons are provided for using free, online software to design ships and submarines while addressing several Common Core Math standards and NGSS standards for engineering design.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Learn how computer aided design (CAD) can be used to integrate science and math education.
  • Learn activities using computers and Tinkercad to address the following standards: NGSS 3-5-ETS 1-1 and 3-5-ETS 1-2, and CCSS. Math.Content: 4.OA.A.1, 4.OA.A.2, 4.OA.A.3, 4.MD.A.1, 4.MD.A.2, 4.MD.A.3, 5.MD.A.1, 5.MD.C.3, 5.MD.C.4, 5.MD.C.5.

Playing with Math and Science in the Early Childhood Classroom

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Grade band: Pre-K | Date: August 11 9:00 AM -12:00 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Young students are naturally equipped with the curiosity and creativity to be successful scientists and mathematicians. In today’s early childhood classrooms, strong foundational skills in math and scientific inquiry promote success in integrated contexts for years to come. Through play-based, open-ended explorations, young students can engage in skills such as subitizing, sorting, drawing, pattern recognition, and innovation and inquiry with loose parts. In this workshop, participants will actively take part in several activities highlighting each of these skills, discuss how they promote mathematical and scientific thinking, and share resources to be used in the classroom.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Review and discuss math and science foundations appropriate early childhood learners
  • Explore play-based activities that support math and science foundations through subitizing, sorting, drawing, patterns, and loose parts
  • Discuss ways to incorporate play-based math and science activities to enhance established lessons

Teaching Algebra with Flags and Technology

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Grade band: 8th-12th | Date: August 12 9:00 AM -12:00 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
8th-12th grade teachers will: 1) Learn about various flags and how these flags can be used as an interdisciplinary tool for the algebra classroom, 2) Discuss the mathematics behind various flags in terms of algebra concepts such as the graphing of linear equations/inequalities, absolute value equations/inequalities, and equations/inequalities involving circles as well as connect geometry concepts such as coordinate geometry and ratios 3) Explore various technology such as GeoGebra & Desmos that help enrich the teaching of equations, inequalities, and domain/range in addition to CNC machines that help connect geometry concepts such as coordinate geometry and ratio.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Identify math concepts that are highlighted through flag-based activities
  • Gain ideas for integrating flag activities into mathematics lessons
  • Engage in flag activities using various technology that reinforce concepts and build skills related to equations, inequalities, and domain/range that build off of coordinate geometry and the concept of ratios.
  • Reflect upon how the integration of flags into math lessons can impact student learning

Mathematics Beyond Language

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Grade band: 6th-8th | Date: August 13 9:00 AM -12:00 PM CDT | Cost: $20.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
One of the main concerns of bilingual/dual language mathematics middle school teachers at the beginning of the school year is not if they have enough books for the students or have the most current pacing chart available, or that they probably will have new students joining the class every week. The main concern for these teachers is that they will have numerous students coming in with different life skills, cultures, background knowledge, education levels, and family support into the same class. In this session, participants will explore different ways to connect with multicultural students at the same time. Additionally, they will explore the different ways to assess the students’ mathematics skills in order to create the optimal framework for the rest of the school year.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Participants will use visual clues as a tool to comprehend mathematical concepts by exploring visual reasoning.
  • Participants will work collaboratively to accomplish specific challenges according to information given.
  • Participants will comprehend mathematical concepts by visual analysis as well as kinesthetically modeling the information given.


Problem Centered Teaching by Tomorrow | Problem Centered

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: PreK-12 | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Complex, Meaningful, Open-ended. In this learning experience, educators will embrace the definition of ‘Problem-Centered’ and transform a standard worksheet or lesson into a problem centered activity. Furthermore, we will discuss strategies for successful implementation and establish a community of support for both the writing and implementation processes.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Create a problem centered lesson or activity based on an academic standard
  • Identify and apply four strategies to successfully implement problem centered instruction
  • Reflect on lesson implementation with a professional learning community

Problem Based Learning Series, Course 1: Fundamentals | Problem Centered

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: K-12 | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
This course is the first in a series on Problem Based Learning (PBL), an instructional technique utilizing real-world scenarios to engage students in the process of learning. Briefly, students control their learning and foster a deep understanding of concepts through focusing on solving an open-ended problem. Often, teachers find the open-ended, student-driven aspect of PBL to be arduous relative to keeping students on task within the structured time-frame of the school day. However, a well designed PBL unit can be quite the opposite, allowing for students to be consistently engaged in content while allowing teachers to be free to facilitate and continually assess student learning. In this primer, we outline the general framework of a PBL before delving into tips on how to design an engaging PBL for the classroom that keeps the students on-track for standards-based learning. As part one of a series, this learning experience is designed to introduce the learner to the PBL framework and design. A more detailed approach into design elements and assessment are to be covered in later courses.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Understand and identify elements in the framework of traditional Problem Based Learning units
  • Identify an appropriate, standards-based problem upon which to focus a PBL unit
  • Apply an understanding of fundamental PBL elements to outline a design for a potential PBL unit focusing on a specific learning standard or content area


Teaching STEM in the Preschool Classroom | Competency Driven

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: Pre-K | Format: 100% Asynchronous – Book Study | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
**This Learning Experience requires the purchase of the book, Teaching STEM in the Preschool Classroom, by Alissa A. Lange, Kimberly Brenneman, and Hagit Mano**
This Competency Driven Learning Experience is centered around the book, Teaching STEM in the Preschool Classroom, by Alissa A. Lange, Kimberly Brenneman, and Hagit Mano. In this book, the authors first discuss the concept of STEM education and its importance in the preschool classroom, followed by an in depth look into each facet of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as it applies to early childhood education.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Reflection on your own STEM teaching and what it looks like in your classroom
  • Identification of your strengths and weaknesses as they apply to STEM teaching and learning
  • Creation of a plan to further incorporate STEM content and pedagogy into your classroom environment

Code of the Wild | Integrated STEM

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: PreK-2 | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Code of the Wild introduces teachers to Computational Thinking (CT) and demonstrates a method by which CT can be integrated with other K-2 subject areas. The example given is a curriculum that guides students in the use of a programming language called ScratchJr. Students use the free software to write stories about animals interacting with their environments in a realistic manner. After being written, these stories are coded into computer animations using ScratchJr. Teachers will learn that CT is more than just coding, but a problem-solving mind-set that is applicable to science, math, ELA, and any other problem-solving endeavor.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Learning to use ScratchJr
  • Developing ideas for integrating CT with other subject areas
  • Developing ideas for helping students improve their collaboration skills while using tablets or computers
In addition to these learning outcomes, teachers will exit the course with a five-hour integrative STEM curriculum they can use in their classrooms.

Sound and Circumstance | Integrated STEM

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 3rd-5th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
In this Learning Experience, educators will focus on the application of competency driven STEM-based instruction through experiencing a music and literacy centered instructional activity involving sensory cues and perception. While these activities focus largely upon content standards in grades 3rd-5th, the activities can be scaled to content in higher grade levels (6th-12th grades).
Learning outcomes include:
  • Identify ways to integrate science and engineering practices in everyday phenomena
  • Engage in activities designed to explore the effects of sensory cues on perception of events
  • Explore and define components of competency-driven instruction within the experienced activities

Teaching with a Full Deck of Cards | Inquiry Based

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: PreK-8 | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Card sorts tend to make students do the “things” we value most: think and talk. Beyond making matches, card sorts provide opportunities for students to classify, rank, sequence, and mind map while setting a natural context for inquiry, argumentation, and use of the claim-evidence-reasoning framework. In this Learning Experience, educators will engage in a series of math and science card sorts to explore how this easy-to-prep tool will encourage students to reason and think critically.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Identifying ways in which card activities encourage inquiry-based learning
  • Participating in several types of card activities and reflecting upon these experiences
  • Designing several card activities to be used in the classroom

Scale and Size: Modeling Powers of 10 | Competency Driven

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 4th-8th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
In this Learning Experience, educators will experience a set of student activities that utilize a mathematical model to engage students in exploring very large and very small objects. This will be achieved by looking at patterns and measurements, ultimately building number sense in our students through the lens of an integrated real-world application. As educators journey through this course, they will reflect on how the student activities directly support Competency-Based teaching methods and several Common Core State Mathematics Standards written for students in Grades 4 through 8.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Use a mathematical model to engage students in exploring very large and very small objects in relation to powers of ten
  • Reflect on how studying powers of ten develops number sense through pattern recognition and measurement


Not Just a Story: Genetics and Probability | Integrated STEM

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 6th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
*This Learning Experience requires the book “Wonder” by RJ Palacio; a pair of dice; and two coins*
In this Learning Experience, educators will focus on the application of Integrative STEM-based instruction through experiencing a set of activities framed in literacy using a fictional story. This story integrates well with mathematical concepts of probability and chance, along with science concepts dealing with heredity. While the fictional story of focus is geared toward 5th grade, these activities focus on middle and high school level concepts (6th-12th grades).
Learning outcomes include:
  • Explore and analyze the use or applicability of integrative techniques used in a model activity
  • Identify characteristics of integrative instruction
  • Consider opportunities for integrative teaching in your current curricula
  • Long-term goal: to apply at least one facet of integrative techniques to teaching and learning in the classroom

DNA, RNA, and Proteins, Oh My! | Competency Driven

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 6th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
In this Learning Experience, educators will focus on the assessment aspect of competency driven teaching and learning by working through a student instructional unit that covers DNA, transcription, translation, and protein folding. The lessons and assessment are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standard HS-LS1.1, but after working through the sample lessons educators will be able to pick a different standard for which to create a rubric and assessment to try out on their own.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Use modeling to engage students in abstract concepts
  • Break down a Next Generation Science Standard into measurable parts and objectives
  • Analyze and create unique assessment techniques using a three point rubric

Teaching with a Full Deck of Cards | Inquiry Based

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: PreK-8 | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Card sorts tend to make students do the “things” we value most: think and talk. Beyond making matches, card sorts provide opportunities for students to classify, rank, sequence, and mind map while setting a natural context for inquiry, argumentation, and use of the claim-evidence-reasoning framework. In this Learning Experience, educators will engage in a series of math and science card sorts to explore how this easy-to-prep tool will encourage students to reason and think critically.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Identifying ways in which card activities encourage inquiry-based learning
  • Participating in several types of card activities and reflecting upon these experiences
  • Designing several card activities to be used in the classroom

Scale and Size: Modeling Powers of 10 | Competency Driven

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 4th-8th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
In this Learning Experience, educators will experience a set of student activities that utilize a mathematical model to engage students in exploring very large and very small objects. This will be achieved by looking at patterns and measurements, ultimately building number sense in our students through the lens of an integrated real-world application. As educators journey through this course, they will reflect on how the student activities directly support Competency-Based teaching methods and several Common Core State Mathematics Standards written for students in Grades 4 through 8.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Use a mathematical model to engage students in exploring very large and very small objects in relation to powers of ten
  • Reflect on how studying powers of ten develops number sense through pattern recognition and measurement


A Unified Science | Integrated STEM

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 9th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
It is important for all students, no matter what their future education and career path, to engage in innovative and integrated STEM experiences. However, it can be especially challenging to provide integrative learning experiences at the secondary level when most student schedules are made up of subject specific classes. In this learning experience, educators will look at how inquiry-based activities can be used as a tool for integrating content across multiple disciplines. While the lessons in this learning experience are designed for a high school chemistry class, the activities can be adapted for other courses.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Engaging in different inquiry-based chemistry activities that integrate physical and life science concepts
  • Identifying the focus and analyzing the structure of integrated STEM activities
  • Reflecting on how to engage students in real-world applications of scientific concepts such as solution concentration and gas laws
  • Applying strategies for creating integrative science learning experiences

Perfecting the Teaching of Parabolas Using Technology | Competency Driven

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 9th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
9-12th grade teachers will: 1) Explore the Phet online projectile motion simulator, 2) Learn how to insert and use parabolic images with Desmos as a teaching and learning tool, 3) Utilize Desmos to create a quadratic regression, 4) Install Video Tracker Software to your computer, 5) Discover how to use a video along with Tracker online software to acquire data for the parabolic path of a moving object, 6) Engage in an activity resulting in an object moving in a parabolic manner (shooting a basketball, firing a catapult, or kicking a soccer ball, etc.), capture video, and collect data.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Build skills pertaining to the graphing of parabolas and the development of quadratic regressions
  • Gain ideas for utilizing tech w/ parabolic images/videos
  • Engage in activities using various technology that reinforce the concept of graphing parabolas and modeling parabolas with quadratic regressions
  • Reflect upon how the integration of the tech discussed in the learning experience can impact student learning

Gamifying Chemistry | Inquiry Based

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 9th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Games can be a fun and motivating way to engage students, but they are often used as a means to practice, apply, or review learned content instead of introducing a new concept. In this Learning Experience, educators will explore the use of common games as a tool for an inquiry-based approach to introducing topics in high school chemistry such as atomic structure and periodic trends.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Engaging in different levels of games that introduce a new chemical concept
  • Identifying the focus and analyzing the structure of inquiry-based activities
  • Reflecting on how to engage students in making observations and recognizing patterns when teaching abstract chemical concepts
  • Applying strategies for modifying familiar games into student-centered, inquiry-based learning experiences

Breaking the Mold of Traditional Chemistry Labs | Inquiry Based

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 9th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Labs are an integral piece of science courses, but many labs are often done to confirm a concept that students have already learned. In this Learning Experience, educators will look at how laboratory experiences can be structured into different levels of inquiry by working through some hands-on activities that focus on polarity. While the lessons in this learning experience are designed for a high school chemistry class, the activities can be adapted for a biology or middle school science class.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Engaging in different levels and uses of inquiry-based activities in chemistry
  • Identifying the focus and analyzing the structure of inquiry-based activities
  • Reflecting on the use of safe, real-world applications of chemical concepts such as molecular polarity
  • Applying strategies for creating or transforming traditional labs into student-centered, inquiry-based activities.

DNA, RNA, and Proteins, Oh My! | Competency Driven

REGISTER: SPRING | SUMMER
Grade band: 6th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
In this Learning Experience, educators will focus on the assessment aspect of competency driven teaching and learning by working through a student instructional unit that covers DNA, transcription, translation, and protein folding. The lessons and assessment are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standard HS-LS1.1, but after working through the sample lessons educators will be able to pick a different standard for which to create a rubric and assessment to try out on their own.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Use modeling to engage students in abstract concepts
  • Break down a Next Generation Science Standard into measurable parts and objectives
  • Analyze and create unique assessment techniques using a three point rubric