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.

STEM at Home

IMSA-created, quick activities introduced by our mascot, Darwin the bearded dragon, and his furry friends. These are activities students can do on their own, targeted to grades 2-6. There is no cost to download/access.

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.

Online Learning

A three-month, online mini-course designed around a hot topic in STEM, which will include a book read, documentaries/TED Talks, and other source material. For students in grades 8-11—weekly time commitment 1-3 hours. This course will run annually from mid January-mid April. Moderate participation fee.

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.


The curriculum for IMSA student enrichment programs are created and developed by IMSA curriculum writers. We keep things fresh every year by offering newly-developed programs along with returning favorites. Long before the first excited campers arrive, our Curriculum Development Team has designed each activity to stimulate young minds and provide them with engaging and challenging experiences.

Summer is prime time for us to extend the Academy’s mission of “igniting and nurturing creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition,” inviting not just IMSA students but young people from around the area and state to experience IMSA STEM. We are so excited to provide your child with new challenges and adventures. Come join us!

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.