Emerson: STEM Activity Challenge

Successfully launched STEM activity kits during pandemic

Designing and producing over 7,300 STEM kits for Emerson on a short deadline and in the middle of the pandemic.

STEM ball blaster

An Emerson survey found that hands-on experience is critical for STEM education… so Obata helped create, produce and deliver two different fun STEM activity kits for kids, ages 6-10 and 11-14.


Emerson found that though a significant majority (91%) of parents point to hands-on experience and experiments as key to motivating their child’s interest in math and science, less than 4 in 10 (39%) parents have done these hands-on experiments in the current remote learning environment. Emerson asked Obata to create, design, test and produce over 7,300 hands-on STEM kits on a one-month turnaround to be ready for the start of school.


A three-day video shoot featured 8 kids using the STEM activities.
The video was included in a custom microsite for parents to access and upload videos of their children using the kits.


While Emerson provided starter concepts, Obata reconceived activities for production realities such as material availability, cost and practicality. Projects were designed to engage the kids providing a format for experimentation and “lessons learned” that kids could adapt and apply.  And, shared materials like rubber bands, washers, and toothpicks were used to minimize project contents.

We tested each project, then wrote, designed and produced detailed instructions and lesson plans for each activity.

Sourcing was a challenge. The material list included 350,000 toothpicks, 132,500 gumdrops, 50,000 rubber bands, and 15,000 wooden spools, among many other items.

Emerson believes companies have a responsibility to offer resources to help support the next generation of innovators.


To help children in its own Missouri headquarters community, Emerson distributed more than 6,200 kits containing instructions and supplies to elementary and middle-school students in Ferguson, Florissant and Jennings school districts. All kits were delivered on schedule, with the microsite and video going live soon after students received their kits.


Strategy, design and ‘Challenging the Chaos’ in the middle of a pandemic…all on a one month deadline. We’re ready for the next project.