Institute of Museum and Library Services
STEM-Rich Afterschool Making Pilot Project

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency that supports the nation’s museums and libraries, worked with the Exploratorium (a San Francisco-based museum) and the U.S. Department of Education to develop and implement a six-week science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-Rich Maker program. During this program, students in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLCs) designed, tested and redesigned objects, using affordable, readily available materials to integrate art, science and technology.

For more than a decade, the Exploratorium has developed and studied Making as a context for equity-oriented teaching and learning in STEM.

Making involves creative exploration of ideas and materials, harnessing children’s inherent love of play as a developmental resource to blend STEM learning and youth development goals. It also allows for a variety of entry points and pathways for learning – young people advance their understanding and skills as they develop and build out their ideas. The professional development resources on this website can support equity-oriented facilitation of Making in your afterschool program. The activity guides included here are written with upper elementary school-age children in mind, but the activities can be adapted for all ages.

This interagency initiative was funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

PDF File  Afterschool Making Curriculum



Expanding STEM-Rich Making and Tinkering to 21st CCLCs


What Teachers Are Saying

Science Journal

Creating a science journal is a great way to kick off a Maker unit. It is an easy activity for young people new to Making, and also allows a great deal of personalization.

Go To Science Journal

Circuit Boards

Circuit Boards is an open-ended activity that supports students’ exploration and understanding of how to make an electrical circuit.

Go To Circuit Boards

Scribbling Machines

Scribbling Machines are motorized contraptions that move in unusual ways and leave a mark to trace their paths.

Go To Scribbling Machines

Nature Bots

Nature Bots are sculptural motorized creations made of natural materials and simple electronic components that move and dance in interesting ways.

Go To Nature Bots