Making Science Connections that Inspire

The Materials ExplorersTM curriculum is designed to make STEM concepts come to life by connecting them with popular culture and everyday applications through hands-on, minds-on learning. It invites students to think critically about the materials that make up products they use every day (such as smartphones) and challenges them to apply real science to fictional concepts (such as superpowers).

Materials ExplorersTM also connects classrooms with minerals, metals, and materials scientists or engineers in their area, who can provide role models to students about the possibilities and pathways to STEM careers. These volunteers also help reinforce how sometimes abstract STEM concepts actually work in a science, engineering or technical environment. As part of the program’s mission to inspire interest in STEM across all schools and students, Materials ExplorersTM is, and will always remain, completely free of charge to teachers, parents, and students.

Content that Supports Teaching Goals

Materials ExplorersTM was developed as a collaborative effort among scientists, engineers, and educators to ensure that the curriculum and supplementary content are supportive of educational standards and teaching goals.

Each module of Materials ExplorersTM contains unique activities designed to be low cost and easy to implement in any classroom. Modules are also aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to facilitate integration into existing science courses and teaching plans. Teacher resources include step-by-step activity guides, grading rubrics, and supplemental readings with exploratory questions and answer keys.

A Special Thanks

The first phase of Materials ExplorersTM was launched in March 2018 with a curriculum aligned with 9th and 10th grade teaching standards. Efforts are ongoing to develop and expand content to additional grades and topics. Thank you to the following organizations and individuals for their time, talents and enthusiasm in establishing the Materials ExplorersTM.

Host Organization for Public Launch:

Arizona Science Center

Pilot Schools:

Aliquippa Junior-Senior High School
Alvin Gipson, Principal (10th-12th Grade)
Michael Malec, Teacher

Ambridge Area Senior High School
Ms. Janice Zupsic, Principal
Paul Hladio, Science Department Head
Deborah Stieving, Teacher

Franklin Regional Senior High School
Ron Suvak, Principal
Rebecca Connelly, Teacher

Vincentian Academy
Rita Canton, Principal
Timothy Hunsberger, Teacher

Educator Advisory Panel:
Jonathan Busch, Engineering
Jordan Kelsey, General Science
Amanda Levinson, Math
Melissa McCarthy, Chemistry; Physical Science
Cheryl Meyer, Chemistry

TMS Materials ExplorersTM Committee:
André Phillion (Chair), McMaster University
Hannah Coe, Oregon State University
Lauren Garrison, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Howard Kuhn, University of Pittsburgh
Lily Nguyen, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Yoosuf Picard, Carnegie Mellon University

Advisors to the Committee:
Iver Anderson, Iowa State University/Ames Laboratory
Suveen Mathaudhu, University of California, Riverside/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

TMS Public & Government Affairs Committee:
John Howarter, (Chair), Purdue University
Eric Brown, (Co-Chair) Los Alamos National Laboratory


Contact Us

For additional information on Materials Explorers™, contact materials-explorers@tms.org.