Math in the Making is an ongoing NSF-funded initiative. To date, the team has hosted a convening to gather and synthesize perspectives and conducted a series of piloting studies to explore promising approaches to integrating mathematics into museum-based making experiences.

Math in the Making Convening

Although there is a growing body of research on mathematics in informal learning environments, less has been done to understand how math can be integrated into other informal settings or topics—and how this integration might engage those who do not already have positive attitudes about math. In the spring of 2016, TERC and the Institute for Learning Innovation collaborated to host a convening of researchers and practitioners from both the out-of-school mathematics and the making and tinkering communities. The discussions were designed to advance the field’s understanding of how to highlight and enhance the mathematics in making experiences, develop tools and resources for informal educators, and foster collaborations for future efforts.

Learn more about the convening here.

Framing Research on Activities as Mathematical Experiences (FRAME)

Building on the 2016 convening, TERC partnered with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the New York Hall of Science on a two-year pilot and feasibility study to investigate strategies for enhancing the mathematics in museum-based making and tinkering activities. Conducted between 2018 and 2021, the study was designed to lay the foundation for ongoing research on the potential of broadening family participation in mathematics through making.

The primary goals of the project were:

  1. Establish a collaborative working group of museum educators, math education experts, and informal education researchers focused on developing and understanding effective approaches to highlighting and enhancing the math in making experiences;
  2. Prototype approaches to highlighting and enhancing the mathematics in making experiences and explore how these influence participant engagement and learning; and
  3. Develop a theoretical framework for understanding and describing how these strategies influence how families understand and engage with the mathematics in math-enhanced maker experiences.

Learn more about the FRAME project here.


The Math in the Making initiative is made possible through the support of the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1514726 and 1811395. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

About TERC

TERC is a nonprofit made up of teams of math and science education and research experts dedicated to innovation and creative problem solving. At the frontier of theory and practice, TERC’s work encompasses research, content and curriculum development, technology innovation, professional development, and program evaluation. TERC has a passion for social justice and strives to create level playing fields for all learners, reaching more than three million students every year.  To learn more, please visit