Playing With Numbers | Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier

Playing With Numbers

Playing with Numbers (PWN) is a selective, intensive professional development program for K-1 CPS and charter school educators.

See our Playing With Numbers FAQs.

Visit our application checklist.

Apply for Playing With Numbers today.

Designed by Chicago Children’s Museum’s education experts, PWN provides teachers with engaging instructional strategies to introduce, reinforce and deepen understanding of grade-level math concepts through innovative classroom activities, math work stations, and children’s literature.

PWN is adaptable.

“Playing with Numbers has opened my eyes up to many different strategies and instruction that I would have never dreamed of trying.”

-Ashley Blume, kindergarten teacher, PWN alum

PWN is cohort-based.

“Allowing me to collaborate with teachers outside my building has really impacted my teaching and my students. I’ve come up with different ways to approach lessons and different ways to teach things that I would have never used before.”

-Constance Cosmas, 1st grade teacher, PWN alum

PWN sees the classroom through teachers’ eyes—and their students.

“Using more play in the classrooms has allowed my kids to see that math is everywhere—it’s not just when we’re sitting down using the paper and pencil.”

-Heather Murphy, Kindergarten teacher, PWN alum

PWN offers three levels of professional development:

Level 1: LEARN

In PWN 1, teachers build a deep understanding of early math concepts and best practices. 


In PWN 2, teachers who have successfully completed PWN 1 deep their understanding and customize materials to their classrooms’ unique needs. Through collaboration and reflection, participants sustain their learning from PWN 1 and set new, challenging goals for their classrooms.  

Level 3: EXPAND

In PWN 3, teachers who have successfully completed PWN 1 & 2 bring playful math learning into their students’ homes. Participants will focus on family engagement in early math, build a library of take-home activities and resources, and develop an in-school math night. 

Hear what PWN participants have to say:


  • PWN is cohort-based, allowing teachers to learn with their colleagues  
  • PWN is full-funded, and all take-home resources and materials are at no cost 
  • All materials and resources are customizable to fit each teachers’ curriculum and classroom 
  • Each PWN level includes one cost-free Chicago Children’s Museum field trip, including bus transportation   

Educators in Chicago Public Schools and Chicago charters are welcome to apply; you must teach kindergarten, first grade, or K-1 diverse learners to be eligible. Teams may be made up of 2, 3, or 4 teachers from the same school. All members of the team must apply individually.   

The Playing With Numbers online application window is now closed.

Before you apply, lease visit our Application Checklist.

See our PWN FAQ page for more information.

When you’re ready to apply, visit our online application.

Playing with Numbers is made possible through the generosity of the CME Group Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Oppenheimer Family Foundation and Ernst & Young.