Using the natural curiosity of children to teach math.


What We Offer

Everyone learns mathematics best when engaged in a problem solving activity related to their personal experience.  It might involve determining the volume of a locker, having enough money to purchase lunch for a week, or determining what would be the best snack to serve based on data gathered from peers.  Using manipulatives to model mathematical situations helps to build understanding and leads to generalizations about the rules of mathematics.  Conversations are essential as students, teachers, or parents share ideas and evaluate their own thinking in light of ideas presented by peers.  

Our workshops guide teachers, parents, and students in carefully constructed activities, designed to deepen mathematical understanding.  When you can model an algorithm for any operation it becomes more powerful.  

Memorizing facts and procedures in a math class can be frustrating.  However, testing and verifying conjectures about numbers, which leads to discovery, builds confidence and an empowering perspective of math.   Mathematical knowledge is essential to functioning in our modern world.  

Workshops are tailored to meet the needs of the participants, needs of the organization, and budgets.  Join us in any size group to begin your journey of mathematical power!

For Teachers

Deepen your own understanding about mathematics to improve your teaching.  Learn how to increase student engagement, assess understanding, and help your students enjoy math.

Workshops are offered in the summer and throughout the year.

parent and child

For Parents and Kids

We offer Little Mathematicians Workshops for parents of 4, 5, and 6 year olds as well as Workshops for 2nd-5th grade mathematicians and their parents.

About Us

Peggy McLean

Peggy is a Math Specialist at Synapse School and consultant to Bay Area independent schools. She received her BA and MA from San Jose State University. For the past forty-five years she has been training teachers across the nation on the use of manipulative math materials to foster greater understanding of math concepts presented in the elementary grades. Peggy trained pre-service teachers at Notre Dame de Namur University for twenty-five years and has had the joy of visiting their schools in the Bay Area and other sites across the nation. With Mary Laycock, she created the elementary math program at The Nueva School where she was the Math Specialist for over thirty years. She is the co-author of several books on the use of various manipulative materials.

Alison Fox Mazzola

Alison Fox Mazzola is a math specialist and consultant to local independent schools. Alison has over twenty years of teaching experience, including a decade as a second grade teacher at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA. She brings great enthusiasm for math as a teacher of teachers, regularly leading math workshops for both public and private school teachers including the Bay Area Teacher Development Collaborative
workshop  “Thinking Like a Mathematician.”  A California native and a graduate cum laude from Wellesley College Alison holds a Masters Of Education from UCLA. She has co-authored a book with Michael Thompson:  Understanding Independent
School Parents.  For more information please visit: 

Contact Us

Building Understanding Math Workshops