Why buy curriculum?
Buying curriculum for your STEM program may not seem intuitive. For sure, finding a few science activities to do with kids is not difficult -- you can find them all over the internet. A great place to start is our Experiment Exchange, which has a free database of hands-on science activities with printable science facts and supply lists.
But once you’ve gathered the “low-hanging fruit” from the web – activities such as erupting volcanoes and making slime – it gets a LOT harder to create hour after hour of engaging science programming. Also, remember that when you create your own curriculum, it will be untested. You should be prepared to revise, revise, revise once you see what works with the kids, and what doesn’t.
Based on our experience, you should plan to devote at least 16 hours (two working days) to creating each day of camp. You will need to:
research and plan out the activities,
gather the related science information,
catalogue the required materials,
identify or create any videos or handouts, and
do a trial run of the activities.
Also, be sure to think through the supplies and setup for each activity carefully, and make sure everything is timed well so that the students don’t have much down-time.
Assuming your time is worth at least $10 an hour, creating your own curriculum will cost you the equivalent of $160 per single day of camp, or $800 for a one-week camp. If you plan to hire a teacher to write curriculum for you, you should assume a cost of at least $15/hour, or $1200 per camp. And remember that your end-result will still be an untested curriculum. This all makes buying or licensing third-party curriculum an attractive alternative.