Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.


About Fusion

IMSA Fusion is a teacher professional development and student STEM enrichment program for Illinois students who are talented, interested and motivated in mathematics and science. IMSA Fusion places a special emphasis on students who are historically underrepresented in those areas.  Fusion works with teachers and students in grades 4-8.

In brief, the program goals are:

  • Maintain or increase students interest, involvement and literacy in science and mathematics
  • Enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers in science, mathematics, and technology; stimulate excellence in schools
  • Stimulate excellence in schools' science and mathematics programs
  • Help increase access to programming for students who are historically under-resourced in science, mathematics and technology and for all areas of the state


By design, the IMSA Fusion curriculum is inquiry based, problem centered and integrative. The learning experiences focus on helping students "learn how to learn" and emphasize logic, mathematical thinking and experimental scientific thinking. Topics relate to the students' lives, thereby arousing their curiosity and increasing their motivation to learn in mathematics and science. Teachers from each participating school are supported with on-going professional development for the delivery of the curriculum and use of appropriate pedagogy. Teachers select two STEM modules from a menu of twelve to learn and deliver each year.  Partner schools are provided with curriculum, classroom kits, and ongoing teacher development and support for the annual delivery of two units of hands-on, minds-on STEM. 

Illinois Bicentennial Fusion Project (application now closed)

Schools will be notified of the selection committee decision by May 18, 2018. 

Register for 2018-19 Fusion Professional Development here!

Registration for 2018-19 Fusion Professional Development is now open.  We are offering training for all 14 Fusion curricula at IMSA, in central Illinois and southern Illinois.  Exact off site locations will be determined loser to the training date based on registration demographics.  Follow the link to choose your curricula and training dates.  

Order 2018-19 Fusion kits here:  

For Illinois schools: Click here for instructions to get discounted Illinois-Only prices for IMSA Fusion STEM Modules.

For Schools outside of Illinois: Click here to view and purchase IMSA Fusion STEM Modules directly from the Flinn Scientific Website.

Browse the IMSA Fusion STEM Modules (Grades 4-5, and 6-8) below.

For Grades 4-5:



Item # AP9580 Available October 2, 2017

What’s the Story, Data?

Information is all around us and constantly being generated. “Big data” concepts of volume, variety, and velocity of data will be explored and students will create a unique data visualization to convey the story of data they collect.  Finally, data will be critically analyzed to test the validity of claims and students will explore how data can be manipulated to misrepresent a claim.

Item # AP9571 Available December 4, 2017

Dive-In: Oceanographic Engineering

Through inquiry-based explorations, students will engineer solutions to aquatic challenges. Engaging in island construction, growing crops through aquaculture, and examining ocean “ownership” will afford learners the opportunity to participate in various aspects of the engineering design cycle.




Item # AP9578 Available December 4, 2017

Synthetic Scorecard: Building the Future of Biology

Biology, engineering, and technology will intersect in in this curriculum. Investigations will familiarize students with various equipment and techniques used in these fields of study. Protein folding, population densities, gel electrophoresis, case studies, design challenges and more will be explored throughout the curriculum.



Item # AP9573 Available December 4, 2017

You Be the Judge

Welcome to an introduction of some basic principles involved in chemistry, the application of chemistry as well as practices required to create and carry out meaningful investigations. After students have experienced the concepts in a lab setting, they will have a chance to apply their knowledge and lab skills in a variety of simulations throughout the unit. Students will take the role of experts and identify problems, develop methods of testing, and conduct the tests. After gathering, analyzing, and interpreting results, students will make and share evidence based decisions in a variety of settings.



Item # AP9570 Available December 4, 2017

Climate Change: The Future is Now

This unit engages participants in a variety of investigations to help establish basic understandings regarding climate science literacy. Exploration through real-time and virtual experiments, the use of web based applications, as well as modeling and engineering experiences will help participants identify the facts, issues, and actions they wish to take.



Item # AP9572 Available December 4, 2017

Engineering: Design & Build

Student led teams conceptualize, build, test, and acquire knowledge while becoming familiar with the engineering design process. Using an open-ended inquiry approach students are able to foster their creativity. Students learn to apply multiple skills and develop the habits of innovators.




For Grades 6-8:



Item # AP9574 Available October 2, 2017

Mars: Manifest Destiny

Students will consider the enormous challenge of planning a permanent, sustainable colony on Mars.  To do so, students will explore gravity and orbital mechanics, the environmental conditions on Mars, and spaceflight hardware currently in development.  They will also participate in citizen science projects, analyzing actual imagery from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and other platforms to apply engineering design principles to propose their own spaceflight hardware, and apply project management techniques to develop their own mission architecture.

Item # AP9569 Available October 2, 2017

Out of the Silo:  Agronomic STEM

This curriculum explores STEM topics in the context of agronomy, the science and technology of producing and using plants for food and fuel. Students will investigate plant genetics, soil science, crop management systems, new technologies, and other issues at the forefront of agronomic research. Data analysis, policy development, efficient process design, and problem-solving will engage learners in a deeper understanding of the role of agriculture in Illinois and the world.




Item # AP9575 Available December 4, 2017

Material Science:  Living in a Material World

Students are on an eight thousand year journey to see how the development of Materials Science has shaped the course of human civilization. Explore the world of man-made objects by examining relationships between molecular structure and materials properties.  From Stone Age tools to modern carbon nanostructures, students will test, analyze, and create complex materials from simple building blocks.


Item # AP9579 Available October 2, 2017

Take Flight:  Investigating the Aviation Industry In this curriculum, middle-school students will be immersed in the various facets of the aviation industry ranging from aircraft design and assembly, airport structure and runway design, navigation, air traffic control, and airline efficiencies to the economic and environmental impact aviation has on their lives. 







Item# AP9576 Available October 2, 2017

MEDIEVAL: STEM Through the Middle Ages

This curriculum is an exploration of science, math and technology that was developed, altered or utilized by civilization during medieval times.  This time period helped lay the foundation for modern science and mathematics. Technological advances abounded. This curriculum focuses on agriculture, society and epidemiology, engineering, chemistry and textiles, and technological developments that lead civilization into the Renaissance.


Item # AP9577 Available December 4, 2017

Secret Communications:  Sharing Concealed Messages

Ciphers, codes and modes of delivery come together in this unit to foster inquiry into the subject of cryptology.  Important capacities such as persistence and tenacity are practiced as students combine critical observations skills with logical analysis strategies to solve "secret" messages and share encrypted ideas with others.  Acting as researchers and investigators students explore a variety of ciphers, codes and methods for making sense of encrypted messages.



Would you like to receive information about IMSA Fusion? We are happy to hear from you. Please contact: Brian Grublesky, Program Manager of Statewide Educator Initiatives Tel: 630-907-5860 Fax: 630-907-5893 Email: