STEM Enrichment Programs

The Center for Teaching and Learning programs provide a truly inquiry-based experience for students, with a common goal of encouraging students to see themselves as capable scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. Research shows that high-quality experiences in school are necessary but insufficient for young people to get and stay involved with science, and to be equipped with the skills necessary to pursue STEM beyond high school graduation. (State of STEM in Out-of-School Time in Chicago, 2013). IMSA enrichment programs, with their focus on inquiry and integration with real-world situations, provide experiences that develop students’ positive disposition toward STEM.

Our programs employ the practices scientists use to study the world — questioning, forming hypotheses, conducting investigations, and collecting and analyzing data to effectively teach STEM content while developing scientific habits of mind at the same time.

The curriculum for all IMSA student enrichment programs are created by IMSA curriculum writers. While all of our lessons and activities are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, the focus is on fun and creativity. Students in our programs are encouraged to explore, take risks, and have ownership over their own learning.

Virtual Camps

These camps will be week-long, morning sessions which will kick off each day with synchronous time on-line with the instructor, followed by individual time to design, build, and/or test the day’s activity, and end each morning with another synchronous session where participants will test or share their progress with the instructor and their peers. Class sizes will be capped at 10-12 participants to ensure a robust experience! Participants will need access to a computer and Internet, and will be provided with a list of basic tools and materials needed to complete the activities.

STEM at Home

STEM BITES are IMSA-created, quick activities introduced by our mascot, Darwin the bearded dragon, and his furry friends. STEM Plans are activities students can do with a parent or other adult. There is no cost to download/access.

Online Learning

RISE, a year-long course on how to conduct research, and IMSA STEM LEague, a three-month, online mini-course designed around a hot topic in STEM.

IMSA Snack Boxes

The Snack Box is designed for teachers and parents to provide STEM focused lesson or activity by grade level band. New Snack Boxes will be posted each week.

STEM at Your School or Organization

IMSA can visit your elementary school or community or after-school program and provide an hour-long, IMSA created, hands-on STEM activity for your students in grades 3-6. Our programs employ the practices scientists use to study the world—questioning, forming hypotheses, conducting investigations, and collecting and analyzing data to effectively teach STEM content while developing scientific habits of mind at the same time.


FUNshops are 2-hour, hands-on, minds-on STEM experiences for students in grades 3-6. They are written by our IMSA curriculum writing team to capture your child’s natural curiosity and mimic the enterprise of doing real science.

Beta Testers

Students are welcomed to IMSA to help our curriculum specialists’ test and prototype new hands-on, minds-on STEM activities. Students attending this event will be invaluable science advisors in ensuring that the programs we create are all FUN, interesting, and overall kid-approved. Some activities for this event are purposely left more open-ended (loose)/purely inquiry-based in order to allow participants to play a key role in determining the final (ultimate) direction the inquiry will take.

These 90-minute programs are free to families but students need to be registered to attend. Parents you may wait for your child in our lobby area, or leave campus and come back to collect your child promptly at 5:30 pm.

IMSA Allies

ALLIES is a youth development service-learning program in which students learn STEM content by serving others. It prepares high school students to deliver inquiry-based, hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities (STEM) to younger students. ALLIES learn 21st-century workforce readiness skills, including best practice collaboration, critical thinking, leadership and communication skills.

College Internship Opportunities (SITE)

SITE – Summer Internships for Tomorrow’s Educators—provides college education and STEM majors with training, mentorship and support, feedback, and classroom opportunities to teach IMSA-created, hands-on, minds-on STEM content to students in IMSA’s summer programs. SITE interns receive training in inquiry-based teaching techniques, material preparation, classroom management, and the elements of successful informal STEM learning. SITE interns work and teach alongside IMSA high school students who are part of the ALLIES program, a STEM leadership and teacher development program for high school students. Site interns receive an hourly salary. These internships are based at IMSA’s Aurora, IL campus. Internship will run from mid-May through end of July, General hours are 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.