Framing Research on Activities as Mathematical Experiences (FRAME)

Enhanced mathematics in museum-based making and tinkering activities

Lead Staff:
Andee Rubin
Project Staff:
Scott Pattison


During the NSF-funded Math in the Making convening, questions about how to authentically highlight and enhance mathematics in making and tinkering experiences emerged as critical issues for researchers, educators, and mathematicians alike. As a response, FRAME investigated strategies for enhancing the mathematics in museum-based making and tinkering activities and laid the foundation for a full research study on broadening family participation in mathematics through making.

The project provided a practical lens to help researchers and educators connect topics across STEM with making and tinkering experiences. It sought to advance theoretical understandings of museum-based learning by exploring how activity design and facilitation strategies can influence the visitors’ understanding of the goals and, in turn, how their experiences shape learning outcomes.

The project was designed to explore in depth the most promising of these math-enhancement strategies and to develop a theoretical framework for how such strategies influence the engagement of families through mathematics in maker experiences.

Research Activity

In collaboration with community-based organizations, the project researched how mathematics in maker experiences influenced participant engagement and learning. The project culminated in the design of a research study.


The project developed reports and resources broadly disseminated to researchers, mathematicians, and educators.


Math in the Making project video on Vimeo.