Empowered Problem Solving

Empowered Problem Solving Online Workshop

Registration for my next six-week online workshop opens September 13, 2019. The workshop begins on September 30, 2019 and ends on November 8, 2019. You have access to the workshop content for an additional ten weeks until January 17, 2020.

Registration opens Sept 13, 2019 at 8 am EST


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What This Online Workshop Has To Offer

Module 1: Why Is Problem Solving So Important?

How will this help me? How do problem based lessons help students develop a deeper understanding of mathematics?  

What will I learn?

  • How students experience math when using problem-based lessons. 
  • How to use a Problem Solving Framework to support students’ underdeveloped critical thinking skills. 
  • Why we can’t keep teaching the way we always have. 

Module 2: What Could It Look Like In My Classroom?

How will this help me? How do you ensure that your students become true problem solvers and not just math robots?  

What will I learn?

  • What "Pinterest Fails" can teach us about our approach to teaching problem solving.
  • How to avoid common misconceptions about using problem-based lessons. 
  • How you can prepare your students for success when problem solving. 
  • Where you can find many problem-based lessons you can use.  

Module 3: How Do I Prepare For A Lesson?

How will this help me? How do you go from seeing a problem-based lesson you like to one that you are prepared to use?  

What will I learn?

  • How you can maximize student learning when using problem-based lessons. 
  • How to anticipate student problem-solving strategies so that you can use them to help students make connections.
  • How to facilitate discussions around problem-based lessons. 

Module 4: What If It Doesn't Go As Planned?

How will this help me? What will you do if your lesson doesn’t go the way you plan and students struggle?  

What will I learn?

  • How you can better anticipate lesson breakdowns in 60 seconds.
  • How to handle eleven of the most common worst case scenarios when implementing problem-based lessons. (including “What do you do when a student comes up with a strategy for solving the problem that you do not understand?”)

Module 5: How Can I Help Students Build Conceptual Understanding And Skills?

How will this help me? Would you like to challenge all your students and spot hidden misconceptions?  

What will I learn?

  • Why higher Depth of Knowledge problems help challenge students and bring out hidden misconceptions.
  • How the various Depth of Knowledge representations can generate misconceptions.
  • How to use a tool that will help students persevere and attempt problems multiple times while developing a growth mindset.
  • Where you can find many higher Depth of Knowledge problems you can use.

Module 6: How Can I Integrate This With What I’m Already Doing?

How will this help me? How will you integrate these strategies into your curriculum?  

What will I learn?

  • How to take the first steps in developing a manageable curriculum instead of the burnout of trying to fit everything in.
  • How to integrate problem-based lessons into your pacing guides and unit plans.
  • How to assess problem-based lessons depending on whether they are being used only in your classroom, as a common assessment, or when you want students to see the rubric ahead of time.

My Guarantee


If you complete my workshop and do not learn anything you can use in your classroom, email me at [email protected]robertkaplinsky.com within 10 business days of the workshop ending and I will give you a full refund.


I estimate an average of 2 to 5 hours of work each week for the six-week workshop. You have access to the workshop for 16 weeks.


My workshop will be an engaging mix of actionable ideas, thought-provoking reflections, and somewhat funny jokes.  

My Empowered Problem Solving workshop is compatible with any device.

About Me Hi, I’m Robert. I've been an educator for over 15 years and have trained tens of thousands mathematics teachers as a teacher specialist for Downey Unified School District, instructor for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and presenter at conferences around the world.


Workshop Participant Testimonials

Workshop Data




recommend this workshop to other educators


of participants completed every lesson

Workshop Participant Testimonials

“I felt confident this online workshop would be a solid, useful, and enjoyable experience. I wasn’t disappointed. The interactive format, readily applicable strategies and material, sharp production value, and the ability to hit ‘replay’ whenever I wanted, made Robert’s Empowered Problem Solving workshop a worthwhile professional development choice.” – Carole Seubert, Math Instructional Lead Teacher in Upper Marlboro, MD

"Often in a workshop, I hear 1 or 2 things that resonate with me, and, because I teach in a small, private school that has unique characteristics such as no grading, most of it does not apply to me. But every segment of this workshop had moments that resonated with me as a teacher and as a person. Your ideas can be implemented not just in Common Core states, which Virginia is not, not just in public schools, which mine is not, not just in certain types of classrooms, but in any classroom, for any teacher who wants to do a better job reaching and teaching students. You have expanded my sense of what’s possible and what’s necessary for problem-based learning." – Katrien Vance, Teacher in Afton, Virginia  

"This workshop is excellent. I worked on Three Act Tasks and I practiced anticipating outcomes and ordering work. I now use Open Middle Problems with all of my students. I appreciated your feedback and quick email responses. The site was also very easy to navigate and I did it on a cell phone on my commute." – Christina Howard, Teacher in Jackson Heights, NY  

“I’ve been doing a lot of problem based lessons over the course of my career, but it has been really great to see how this workshop is organized in a much more structured and comprehensive manner, where the vast majority of predictable scenarios have been examined and planned for.” – Richard Blatherwick, Teacher in Brooklyn, NY 

"Great job with the sound quality and captions. The audio was crisp and clear. The captions were fantastic. I especially loved how you made sure the audience comments were closed captioned and they had the microphone too! You, also, repeated back the audience comments when we could not hear what they said. These little details really help the Deaf and Hard of Hearing!" – Stephanie Disrude, Teacher in Crescent City, CA

"This is truly the most relevant and useful workshop I have taken. You have carefully thought through all we need to implement problem based lessons. You did a great job in making sense of the levels of Depth of Knowledge. I don’t think I’ve seen a better explanation. For me, this has been transforming. It's exciting and I have revamped the way I do things for my adult learners." – Dee Mallie, Teacher in Elgin, IL  

How Participants Describe The Workshop

What My Peers Say About Me

"Robert Kaplinsky works with teachers so they can implement different methods for engaging students to deeply understand mathematics. One of the most helpful things he does is give the 'why' behind using different strategies. This motivates teachers (and me) to use these and other strategies to help students succeed. On a personal note, Robert has really challenged and supported my growth as an educator."

– Nanette Johnson, Educator and Co-Founder of Open Middle 

"Robert is an exceptionally dedicated educator, a thoughtful listener, and an powerful builder of community. He understands the challenges that math teachers face every day. Instead of hand-waving or confusing ed-speak, Robert offers teachers and admins concrete strategies for engaging students in meaningful ways. Robert is a math teacher through-and-through, and is one of my favorite people to learn with and learn from."

– Karim Ani, Founder of Mathalicious

"Robert Kaplinsky is my top recommendation for Depth of Knowledge and problem-based lessons. Kaplinsky gets how to create interesting essential questions that drive learning. Increasing interest and critical thinking are key for creating successful mathematical thinkers. I include his lesson plans and resources in all of my trainings and in my bestselling book 'Teaching Math with Google Apps.' It is my opinion that anything by Robert Kaplinsky is high quality and provides unique content that should be taken advantage of."

– Alice Keeler, Teacher, EdTech Blogger, Author

""Robert is always one of my favorite presenters I like to go see at any conference I attend. He does not disappoint with Empowered Problem Solving. You get to learn from Robert in the comfort of your home and get practical strategies and classroom ideas to help you empower your students to become problem solvers, not just answer getters."

– Christina Tondevold, Online Math PD Facilitator

"Robert’s workshops are some of the most engaging, useful, and well designed math professional development I’ve ever been in. His workshops are ‘low floor, high ceiling’ math pd. They’re accessible to all math educators and allow us to productively struggle with new strategies and activities in order for us to shift our pedagogy and provide a fun, open, and challenging environment for our students."

– Ed Campos Jr., Educator, National Presenter

"Robert understands the teaching skills necessary to help students learn challenging mathematics, as well as how to help teachers develop that exact same skillset. Robert is easygoing, empathetic, and he'll challenge you to become the best teacher you can be."

– Dan Meyer, TEDx speaker, Chief Academic Officer at Desmos

"Robert makes problem-based learning accessible. He accomplishes this by viewing the world through the lens of a problem solver. He is able to use social media in a way that makes it a valuable tool for teachers at all grade levels. I enjoy his unique perspectives and his ability to connect with teachers in meaningful ways."

– Juli K. Dixon, Ph.D., Mathematics Educator, @thestrokeofluck  

How Does My Workshop Compare?

Option Cost University PD Credits Choose your Instructor? Stay in Classroom? Access to Content
My workshop $297 + $80 per credit 2 to 4 Yes Yes 16 weeks
National math conference $585 + travel expenses 0 Yes No 4 days
University course $725 + materials 4 No Yes 8 weeks

Past Clients

Bonuses Only Available In This Workshop

Problem-Based Lesson Planning Checklist

If you had to use a problem-based lesson in your classroom tomorrow, would you know what’s essential to get done so you’re ready to go, or what would be very helpful to do if you have more time? I’ll break down everything you need to do in a two-page PDF you can have handy when you need it.  

Problem-Based Lesson Troubleshooting Guide

I’ve made a problem-based lesson troubleshooting guide for the eleven most common worst case scenarios when using a problem-based lesson. I realize that in those situations, you’re not going to want to look back at your workshop notes. So, it breaks down the issues that happen before students start working on their own and the ones that happen after they start working on their own.  

Empowered Problem Solving Workshop Overview

After the workshop's done, you're probably going to want to refer back to what you've learned. So, I've made an overview that has links to all the resources, blog posts, lessons, and videos we'll talk about.

Empowered Problem Solving Executive Summary

I’ve made an executive summary that breaks down the big ideas of what we covered so that you can share it with administrators or colleagues who want you to explain what you learned during the workshop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Learning about the workshop

Math conferences can be hit or miss, depending on the presenters you see. In the best case scenario, you see many great presenters, but when you only spend 60 to 90 minutes with them, you rarely leave with enough experience to comfortably implement what you learned. In the worst case scenario, you see many mediocre presenters and it feels like a big waste of time.

In contrast, my workshop is an extended experience with specific topics. If you are interested in learning how to implement problem-based lessons and higher Depth of Knowledge problems, then you are likely to be happy with the results. If you are not interested in those topics, then you shouldn't sign up.

When I was a new teacher and still earning units to move over on the pay scale, I took two classes with universities that offered online courses. While it was convenient to take a course without leaving my house, I didn't feel like what I was learning was current and relevant to what I wanted to do in my classroom. I didn't know who the instructor was or if the instructor knew his or her content well.

With my workshop, I hope that you have a much better idea of what you are getting and can see that the learning is current and relevant. I hope you believe that I am able to help you implement the strategies you are looking for.

Registration for my next six-week online workshop opens September 13, 2019. The workshop begins on September 30, 2019 and ends on November 8, 2019. You have access to the workshop content for an additional ten weeks until January 17, 2020.

My workshop is about strategies you can use in your classroom to help students deeply understand and make sense of mathematics. The focus is not on the content standards but rather the strategies we can use to teach them. These strategies help all students learn, from kindergarten through high school and beyond.

Previous online workshop particpants have spanned the grade levels from early elementary school though middle school, high school, and college. So, if you're concerned that this workshop won't have strategies you can use at your grade level, don't worry. I guarantee it will and will give you a full refund if you complete the workshop and disagree.

If you're curious because you are less comfortable with math outside your grade level and wonder if my workshop will be a good fit, the problems I use as examples are from the upper elementary and middle school range. Please email me at [email protected] if you want to talk about this in more detail.

This is an online workshop, so you need to have an Internet connected device and feel comfortable browsing websites. Most devices including computers, tablets (such as iPads), and phones should have no problem using the site. Please ensure that emails from [email protected] are being received and not going to your SPAM folder. To test whether you are ready to receive emails from [email protected], sign up for emails here. You should receive a confirmation email at the email address you entered within a few minutes.

If you don't receive the email, your options include:

  • checking your SPAM folder
  • trying a different email address
  • talking with your work's network if you are using your work email address to ensure that any emails from grassrootsworkshops.com are not being blocked.
If none of those options allow you to receive emails from [email protected], then please email [email protected] and we will work to resolve the issue.

Yes. Download the flyer here and feel free to share it with others.

Registering for the workshop

To register using a purchase order, click on one of the "Yes, I want to register!!" buttons and continue through the checkout process. Then on the payment screen, choose the "Purchase Order" payment option and checkout. You should receive an email with a receipt soon after. Once you receive that information, forward it to [email protected] along with your purchase order number. Checks should be made payable to Grassroots Workshops and sent to: 703 Pier Ave Suite B362 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

I totally get that a two-week window makes registering for my workshop challenging when it takes a long time to get approval from your administrators or school district. In most cases, we can usually find a way to make this work. Email me at [email protected] about your situation and we can take it from there.

I'm still working on a smooth way to do this. For now, there are two options:

  • Add one registration to your cart, and register each person, one at a time.
  • Add a registration for each teacher to your cart (so 8 teachers would be 8 workshops in the cart), and check out. Then, email [email protected] with the full name and email address of each teacher you registered.

I want this workshop to be accessible to everyone. So, please email me at [email protected], explain your situation, and we'll see what we can work out.

First, you will receive an email with a receipt shortly after you register. Then, within 30 minutes you will receive a second email from me with information about how to log in to the workshop's website. The workshop will officially begin on Monday, September 30, 2019, so save your username and password to log in then.

The workshop experience

This is not a workshop where you never hear from the instructor after you sign up. In addition to sending out weekly emails and videos about what to expect, I will be very engaged on the message board and interact with posted questions and comments. Please email me at [email protected] at any time if you are not receiving the attention you need.

Yes, all videos used in this workshop have closed captions entered by hand. I have reviewed every minute of it to ensure that the captions are correct.

No. This workshop is set up so that you can do it at any time of the day or night.

Workshop participants reported an average of about 3.5 hours of per week with responses that ranged from 1 hour per week to 8 hours per week. There are just under five hours of video to watch over the six-week workshop. Some weeks, especially week 4, require more time than others. However, remember that even though the workshop is six weeks long, you have access to the content for twelve weeks.

My personal estimates are:

  • Module 1: 2 to 4 hours
  • Module 2: 2 to 4 hours
  • Module 3: 3 to 5 hours
  • Module 4: 4 to 7 hours
  • Module 5: 2 to 4 hours
  • Module 6: 1 to 3 hours

While there is no homework or extra assignments associated with this workshop, I provide several math problems that are very valuable to do. We explore these problems in terms of how students experience them and how teachers facilitate them. There is also an article to read, some activities to do on your own or with colleagues, and a message board you can interact with others on. There are no papers, reports, essays, or other written documents you must do as a part of this workshop.

After the workshop ends

You can earn two to four Graduate Level Professional Development Credits through Brandman University, part of the Chapman University System. You must register for EDTU 9020: Empowered Problem Solving to earn the credits. Please check with your school or district to determine whether these credits are accepted. Note that these credits require additional fees ($80 per credit) and follow-up assignments.

Yes. After the workshop is over, participants will receive an electronic certificate of participation via email. If you need specific information on your certificate of participation, just email [email protected] and explain what you need to have added.

If you complete my workshop and do not learn anything you can use in your classroom, I will give you a full refund. Just email me at [email protected] to explain your situation and begin the refund process.


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