Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

Conferences and Workshops
(Click here for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Series PDF)


Meeting the Needs of Mathematically Gifted Students in Grades 4-10
Ed Zaccaro

Monday, November 16, 2015
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

ISACS Classroom
55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702
Chicago, IL

Registration Update:
As of 10/30 this workshop has a limited number of spots remaining. Register today to ensure your space before we start a waitlist!

This workshop will give teachers and administrators the information and examples of real world applications to help students develop a passion for mathematics. The five parts of the workshop stress rigor, depth, critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem solving. Included will be several real-life math investigations that show students how important math is in the real world. Each participant will leave with a packet of materials and lesson plans that can be taken back and implemented  immediately in classrooms or schools.

This workshops is for 4th-10th grade faculty.

Nurturing a Mathematical Gift into a Passion
A failure to find mathematics challenging, interesting, or relevant are significant factors when children lose interest in mathematics. Children who are talented in mathematics must be introduced to material that lights a fire and nurtures their gifts. 

Seven High Interest Real-Life Math Investigations
Learn seven high interest math investigations that will help students see the power of mathematics in their lives. Included in the session will be the following real-life applications:

  • The danger of payday loans and college loans 
  • How statistics are manipulated to make the true seem false and the false seem true 
  • A commercial pilot’s math error that led to a tragic crash
  • Math mistakes in the media and their consequences 
  • How to teach students the difference between cause and correlation. 

These and other fascinating math investigations show the ability of mathematics to cut through deception and flawed thinking to show the truth.

12 Math Problem-Solving Strategies That Will Help All Students
Because problem solving can be difficult - even for gifted students - it is important for each student to have a "tool-belt" of problem solving strategies. Many of the strategies presented in this session will force students to change their normal thinking patterns and approach each problem in a different way. You will leave this session with many unique problem-solving techniques that will help all students be more successful in math contests and on tests - including SAT and ACT tests.

Challenging Children Through the Study of Real World Algebra
People have traditionally assumed that elementary students could not learn advanced mathematical concepts such as algebra. When presented properly, mathematically gifted students as young as 3rd and 4th grade can not only understand and apply complex algebraic concepts, but they love the challenge of working with the most powerful problem solving tool ever invented. Algebra is too often viewed as an abstract concept with no practical uses because children are rarely taught to think algebraically. Learn strategies for helping children think algebraically with an approach that connects algebra to real world problems.

The Ten Things All Future Mathematicians and Scientists Must Know (But are rarely taught)
Mathematicians and scientists have been closely tied to many famous disasters. The Challenger explosion, the failure of the Mars Explorer, and the Kansas City Hyatt Regency walkway collapse all involved thinking errors. Our future mathematicians and scientists must know how to prevent tragedies such as these from occurring. Because science and mathematics instruction is often dominated by facts and calculation, children are rarely exposed to these important concepts. You will leave this session with many high interest stories and activities that will fascinate your students and show them the strong connections between math and science and the world we live in.

Ed Zaccaro has taught students of all ages and abilities since graduating from Oberlin College in
1974. He holds an Iowa teaching certificate with K-12 endorsement in Gifted Education and a Masters degree in Gifted Education from the University of Northern Iowa. Zaccaro is a popular presenter at math and gifted education conferences around the country and has approached gifted education as a parent, teacher, and school board member. His students will testify to his ability to make math fun and challenging for them as well as his unique sense of humor which comes through in his classes and workshops. He is the author of several math books that are currently being used by teachers across the country.

The workshop will take place at the new ISACS classroom at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702, Chicago, IL. 

The location is located in the heart of Chicago, with easy access to public transportation.

Click here for directions to the ISACS classroom including driving, parking and public transportation directions. Parking is available at several area garages. To secure discounted parking prior to your arrival in Chicago, visit If possible, we suggest taking public transportation.

​GO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off standard rates. Reservations MUST be made in advance and online to receive the discounted rate.  The standard rate per person to/from O’Hare is approximately $28 one-way; $49 round-trip. The standard rate per person to/from Midway is approximately $24 one-way; $40 round-trip. To receive the 15% discount off the standard rates, please click here for the Go Airport Express website to make a reservation in advance. A credit card is required and charged at the time of reservation. Airport walk-ups are not be eligible for the discounted rate, standard rates apply. Parties of two or more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit the website for more information. 

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS has secured discounted hotel accommodations at Club Quarters at Wacker and Michigan. The Club Quarters is located two blocks from the ISACS classroom. To make a reservation, please contact Club Quarters Member Services at 203-905-2100 (Mon.-Fri. 7am-11pm; Sat. 9am-5pm and Sun. 10am-6pm EST) and use the following group code "IS1115" to receive the discounted rate. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations. For directions to the Club Quarters, which also includes walking directions to the ISACS classroom, click here.

If you are looking for another option or the room block is full, please take a moment to check out the other hotels that the ISACS Professional Development team has partnered with in the Chicago area. The hotels are within walking distance of the ISACS classroom and as a member of ISACS you have access to the discounted rates all year long for your professional and personal travel. Click here to find out how to make a reservation at any of the hotels and select the option that meets your travel needs. We recommend booking your hotel room early. 

If you have any issues booking a room at the Club Quarters or any other property, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Registration Fee

  • $190 member fee
  • $240 non-member fee 
  • First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
  • Workshop includes coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch and refreshments
  • Register early as we anticipate this workshop will reach capacity

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 

Questions? Please call 312-750-1190.

Member Cost: $190     Non-member Cost: $240


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
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