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, online 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:

FREE Introductory Courses:

Introduction to Inquiry-Based Teaching – Register: MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG

Introduction to Problem Centered Learning – Register: MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG

Introduction to Integrated STEM – Register: MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG

Introduction to Competency Driven Instruction – Register: MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG


Professional Learning Experiences:

Teaching with a Full Deck: Card Sorts

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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.

Gamifying Chemistry

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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 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.


Real World Math: Three Act Tasks

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
Grade band: 3rd-8th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
Mathematicians view mathematics within interesting and natural contexts. In this learning experience, participants will engage and explore Three-Act Math Tasks; a story-telling, problem-centered, pedagogical strategy that elicits student curiosity, collaboration, and questioning while redefining the term “real-world context” and the role that students play in the learning process.
Learning outcomes include:
  • Participating in a three-act math task and reflecting on the experience
  • Exploring the instructional methods behind this story-telling pedagogical strategy and how they support problem-based learning
  • Evaluating the definition and application of real-world mathematics


Teaching STEM in the Preschool Classroom

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
Grade band: PreK | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours

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:

  • Reflect on your own STEM teaching in your classroom
  • Identify your own personal strengths and weaknesses as they apply to STEM teaching and learning
  • Create a plan to further incorporate STEM content and pedagogy into your classroom.

This learning Experience requires the purchase of the book: Teaching STEM in the Preschool Classroom, by Alissa A. Lange, Kimberly Brenneman, and Hagit Mano.


Scale and Size: Modeling Powers of 10

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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 the powers of ten develops number sense through pattern recognition and measurement

DNA, RNA, and Proteins, Oh My!

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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

Perfecting the Teaching of Parabolas Using Technology

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
Grade band: 8th-12th | Date: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | 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 technologies 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 and technology into math lessons can impact student learning


The G Suite Life: Revealing Student Learning One Pixel at a Time

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
Grade band: K-12 | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours

In the 21st century classroom, teachers are continuously seeking new ways to give and receive information from students. Many tech tools used for remote instruction can also be useful and engaging for in-person instruction. Pixel art activities are an engaging and effective option for formative assessment or review since students can immediately see whether they’ve answered a question correctly based on whether part of a formatted image or message is revealed. In this learning experience, educators will explore how to create and utilize customizable pixel art activities using Google Sheets.


Code of the Wild

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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 mindset 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

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
Grade band:  3rd-5th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours

This is an online Learning Experience focused on the science of sound.


Naval Engineering for 4th and 5th-Grade

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
Grade band: 4th-5th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours

Reading The Girl with a Mind for Math, we learn about the career of Raye Montague, an African-American woman who broke every barrier to pioneer computer-aided ship design and become the first female program manager in the 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.

Not Just a Story: Genetics and Probability

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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

Engineering Hogwarts: An Integrative Approach to the 5E Instructional Model

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
Grade band: 9th-12th | Format: 100% Asynchronous | Cost: $50.00 | CPDUs: 3 hours
In this learning experience, we will explore an integrative activity that could be used for mathematics, science, reading/ELA, any technology or STEM course, or as a fun after-school activity. Learners will design, plan, and build a room from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone using textual evidence from the book to guide and support their plans. This activity uses the 5E instructional model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate), so we will also take a look at using the 5E model as a planning strategy. Each course module will focus on one ‘E’ of the 5E instructional model–taking you first through the student portion of the activity, and then reflecting as an educator. You will then create a 5E learning sequence of your own.

A Unified Science: What's Chem Got to Do with It? | Integrated STEM

REGISTER: JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
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, while chemistry is often referred to as “the central science”, most students experience it as one of their many subject-specific courses in their schedules. 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