Changing the Equation: After-School Math Curriculum

Math lessons and activities for educators and out of school support individuals.

Math is key to doing well academically, graduating from college, and having strong career opportunities.​ ​But ​for ​​many people​,​ ​math is not ​a fun, creative ​endeavor nor is it something ​they ​easily ​relate to​ in everyday life​. That’s why we created Changing the Equation: After-School Math Curriculum​, ​which offers ​shor​t,​ ​easy-to-follow, after-school activities that support and enhance math learning by offering math activities in a real-world context. It also includes highlights of math’s vital role in careers. These math lessons and activities are designed for educators in and out of school, home school providers, and more.

The Changing the Equation: After-School Math Curriculum​ follow​s​ ​math as it applies to ​​four ​fun themes: ​​music, art, jumping, and the built environment. ​These ​four sets of math lessons present math a little differently, so you and your students can learn math while jumping rope, making a kaleidoscope, designing a community, and much more. ​Each lesson contains an introduction, materials list, activity plans, discussion prompts, and facilitation ideas. Be sure to view our detailed ‘how-to” videos to help you prepare for and carry out the activities. Each curriculum also includes spotlights on employees from Sandia National Laboratories who rely on math in their careers​.

changing the equation

The Changing the Equation: After-School Math Curricula includes four different sets of themed math lessons. Each lesson contains an introduction, materials list, activity plans, discussion prompts, and facilitation ideas. Be sure to check out our detailed “how to” videos, to help guide your instruction and use of each math lesson.

Art Math

Explore tessellations and fractals.
Build a kaleidoscope.

The Built Environment Math

Learn about measurement, proportion, and
scale. Design your ideal community!

Jump Up for Math

Investigate the math in jumping rope.
Compare powerful animal jumpers!

Music Math

Learn the difference between rhythm and beat.
Design your own musical patterns.

Career Spotlight Interviews

Help your students get more from your math lessons.

  • Give students opportunities to share their ideas with you and with each other.
  • Make sure to introduce each Learning happens best when learners know what’s coming up and why it matters to them.
  • Ask open-ended questions, rather than those that have a “yes” or “no” answer.
  • Ask questions that inspire the learner to thoughtfully analyze a situation and consider consequences, such as, “What do you think will happen if you do this?”
  • Give the learner time to answer the Ask the question, then wait. A while. Trust us: thoughtful answers take time.
  • When a learner tells you what they think, respond by repeating and paraphrasing what they have said without.
  • Don’t give too much praise or reject Telling a learner they are right or wrong can discourage them from generating additional ideas or pursuing deeper exploration.

Funding provided by

sandia national laboratories

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IMLS Community Catalyst Grant

Press Release:  November 14, 2017

Explora Receives Federal Grant to foster Early Childhood STEM Education in New Mexico

Explora, New Mexico’s premier science center and children’s museum in Albuquerque, NM, has been awarded a Community Catalyst grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency that provides library and museum grants, policy development, and research.

IMLS wrote in its review of the project, “This proposal comes from recommendations from national and local reports on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) best practices, coupled with listening sessions and a track record of collaboration with the partners. This is a rare example within the applicant pool of a true community anchor proposal.”

Explora will partner with the New Mexico State Library, Central New Mexico Community College, the Cariño Toy Lending Library, the New Mexico Public Broadcasting Station, and the Bernalillo County Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP) to create and support “STEM Charging Stations” for young children and families. These stations will be places in the community, like libraries, early childhood centers, and more, where families can do STEM activities together, building interest and awareness of the importance of early STEM learning experiences for young children. Through an Early Childhood STEM Summit and a course for pre-service early childhood providers co-developed with CNM, Explora’s project also will build capacity among childcare providers, librarians, and parents to provide quality STEM learning activities for young children.

Explora’s Deputy Director and Director of Community Engagement, Kristin Leigh, says, “We are thrilled to be working with such important partners on this two-year project to address critical issues for young children in our state. As part of Explora’s Cradle through Career STEM Learning Strategic Focus, this project will bring local STEM organizations together to give our youngest learners the best chance for future successes in life, school, and career.”

The project will address a critical community issue: the achievement gap between low-income children and their more economically advantaged peers. The partners will support parent-child engagement in early STEM learning and provide increased opportunities for young children (birth through age four), parents and caregivers, and a variety of early childhood service providers to engage in STEM learning at existing community venues already serving low-income families. This will turn these sites into access points for STEM learning and exploration and will improve access for low-income families to multi-generational, science-rich learning experiences in community settings.

For more information about this grant, or other Explora programs, contact Tara Henderson,
Associate Director of Educational Services, Explora, 505-224-8394,

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