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IMLS STEM-Rich Afterschool Making Project

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and U.S. Department of Education (ED) launched an interagency collaboration with the New York Hall of Science to develop and implement STEM-rich making activities for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) in eight states. This effort was Phase 3 of a project piloted in 2015, to provide afterschool educators with a six-week making curriculum that focused on exploring circuitry concepts through a series of maker based activities.

Making is a broad grassroots movement that inspires young people to be creative, imaginative and inventive and offers new and powerful approaches to STEM learning. At the heart of making is creating hands-on experiences that are student driven, invite creative exploration of materials and harnesses children’s inherent love of play as a developmental resource to blend STEM learning. It also allows for a variety of entry points and pathways for learning empowering young people to advance their understanding and skills as they develop and build out their ideas or inventions. The activity guides included here are written with upper elementary school-middle school age children in mind, but the activities can be adapted for all ages.

What is a Maker?

A Reason for Making


STEM-Rich AfterSchool Making Activity Guide

These activities are designed to empower students as “makers”, using engaging design-based challenges that are student driven, and lead to materials literacy, divergent solutions, meaningful reflection and creative collaboration. There are six activities that can be implemented separately as a 60- to 90- minute session per day or grouped together to accommodate a longer day. The activities provide students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities that reinforce basic circuitry concepts utilizing everyday materials/tools and a variety of accessible electronic components such as LEDs, conductive thread, coin cell batteries and copper tape. Each activity is accessible by clicking on each separately above to view additional resources. The complete curriculum is also available for downloading and printing as an entire unit below.