Scale-Up: Making STEM Connections

Making STEM Connections brings the Maker Movement into the classroom. Students will explore STEM principles and 21st Century skills as they design, create and make. The program enhances teachers' already developed curriculum with hands-on, minds-on applications.

Educators can apply to bring this program to their classroom for free through the Iowa Governor's STEM Scale-Up Program.

Apply online at by March 5.

Grade Levels: K - 8

Program Summary:

Making STEM Connections allows educators to develop a maker’s space in their learning environment. The program provides teachers with training on tool usage and safety as well as lesson prompts and non-fiction resources.

A classroom using the Making STEM Connections kit might have students learning how to fuse plastic bags and bubble wrap to create textiles. Students could combine art with science by creating a mark-making tool using batteries, a DC motor and markers. Within a maker’s space, students will learn to use a variety of tools including a drill for assembling projects as well as deconstructing materials.

NGSS Connections

Making STEM Connections is a multilevel program that addresses problem solving and real world application. The newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards bring light to the need for students to engage in critical thinking and engineering practices in addition to academic knowledge. Making STEM Connections works to address many of the Cross Cutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices as well as Disciplinary Core Ideas that are brought forth by NGSS for grades K-6.

View NGSS Connections


What is Making?

Making is all about tinkering, building, experimenting and collaborating to solve problems. It can mean taking things apart and putting them back together. It can mean linking science and art to build structures that are equally efficient and aesthetically beautiful. At the Science Center of Iowa, Making means encouraging participants of all ages to see familiar objects in new, innovative ways, developing the collaborative mindset and skills necessary for the modern STEM world. 

Developing and encouraging Makers through the "maker mindset" is a critical step in developing Iowa’s innovation ecosystem and most importantly, developing a diverse workforce for the 21st Century. Making is a hands-on, all-ages invitation to explore science, technology, engineering and math - or STEM. In connecting Making activities to STEM careers, Making introduces people of all ages to the skills and problem-solving techniques they can apply in a modern workforce that’s demanding more and more STEM professionals.  

Tiny Circus video:

Des Moines Mini Maker Faire video:


What is a “Scale-Up Program”?

With the top priority of boosting student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council each year approves 14 high-quality STEM education programs that are offered to schools, after-school programs and other settings for grades pre-K through 12.

School districts, non-public schools, after-school programs and other active learning communities that serve students can bring these Scale-Up programs to their classrooms or organizations at no cost through a fully-funding award program. If selected, these institutions receive kits that include all curriculum and materials needed to implement the program with their students.

How to apply:

Local Education Agencies (or “LEAs”) may apply to bring Scale-Up programs to their schools or organizations for the 2018-2019 school year. The current application period is through March 5, 2018.

"LEA" is defined as any school (public, private or home school association), a Boy/Girl Scout troop, a 4-H Club, library, a childcare organization or any organization that works with youth—formally or informally.

Applications must be submitted by March 5, 2018.
Awards will be announced mid-April.

Apply online at

For questions about Scale-Up or Iowa STEM, contact: Sarah Derry,, 515-271-2403

Questions? Contact us at

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