The American Precision Museum, in collaboration with SparkShop, has developed a series of free kits that give 4th- to 6th-grade students a hands-on introduction to Manufacturing, STEM, and Design. In addition to our curriculum on Achieving Repeatability, we currently have one other kit available, Experimenting with Energy.
These lessons expose students to dynamic, engaging challenges designed to encourage critical thinking and translate to real-world problem-solving. Each curriculum begins with a brief history of local manufacturing before guiding students through small, achievable challenges that reinforce the kit’s central theme, such as building a catapult, designing tessellations, or constructing a water wheel.
The kits emphasize the importance of student innovation and creativity by encouraging students to improve on their constructions and design some of their own. The curricula also encourage students to draw their own conclusions about the consequences of the activities. For example, the Achieving Repeatability kit asks participants to carefully consider the “best” way to draw a circle after they’ve assembled and tested six different methods. Finally, all the lessons conclude by tying the ideas introduced in the unit to real-world careers.
The kits and their accompanying curricula are designed to be easily adaptable to remote, in-person, and hybrid teaching environments, and they’re aligned with CCSS ELA Literacy and NGSS Physical Sciences. Because each lesson is divided into a series of approachable segments, the time required for each box is extremely flexible; curricula can be completed all at once or over the course of several sessions. All of the kits are completely free (while supplies last), thanks to generous grants.
|Repeatability in Shoe-making||History|
|Tessellation Cookie Cutters||STEM|
|Bill of Materials||ELA|
|Career Spotlight with Jim Stokes||Career|
Fill out this form to sign up for a set of free kits for your classroom. We just ask that you and your students fill out the 5 minute survey after teaching the kit. We can’t keep these kits free without feedback from the classrooms that use them.
If you have any questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Museum Behind the Kit
Housed in the original Robbins & Lawrence Armory since 1966 and designated a National Historic Landmark, APM holds the largest collection of historically-significant machine tools in the nation. The hands-on museum seeks to preserve the heritage of the mechanical arts, spark excitement about the power of STEM, and inspire the next generation of Engineers and Manufacturers. Our collection combines the historical, such as Bridgeport 001 and a 1907 Bentley Car Engine, and the modern, including a Haas DT-1 CNC Machining center and a Fanuc LR Mate 200 iD Articulated Arm Robot
The museum, in Windsor, VT, is open from 10-5 daily. For special events and more information on our offerings, click here.