Where do Activity Kits come from?

In some cases, the kits are based on successful volunteer activities designed by IBMers worldwide. In others, the kits come from the IBM Volunteers program, formerly known as On Demand Community -- IBM's global volunteerism initiative. Still other kits are derived from other IBM programs or partnerships developed as part of our corporate citizenship activities.

All kits are intended to provide fun and impactful ways for volunteers to use their skills benefitting community organizations and schools.

Is there any fee to use these Activity Kits?

No. You may download and use these kits free of charge and share them with anyone.
IBM is pleased to offer these resources to support your community outreach.

Do I have to log in or provide any personal information to use a kit?

No. Access to these kits is anonymous and you do not need to log in.

Do I need to be an expert in the subject matter to leverage the kits?

While it helps to have subject matter knowledge or expertise, it is not required. The kits are designed to be used by anyone. Many of the activities that relate to technology and engineering can be used successfully by volunteers who do not have technical backgrounds. Some of the activities do include using IBM Cloud, coding or specific materials. Those would work best for volunteers who are familiar with those technologies.

We encourage all users to take the time to review and understand the content and bring enthusiasm to the kit. Your familiarity with the steps will help you make it enjoyable for everyone.

The kit includes a script, do I need to follow it?

The script is available to help a volunteer. In many cases you may wish to adapt the information to your audience. Many of our volunteers have created extensions to the kit, or worked with students to innovate how the exercises are implemented. We always welcome other examples based on your experience in using the Activity Kits.

Are there any out-of-pocket costs associated with using a kit?

Most activities require only a computer for a presentation or activity. Some kits include activities that use common household items. For example, the “Driving on Sunshine” kit requires a few small items available in local stores. A few activities such as the “TJ Bot” kit may incur additional costs for things like 3D printing and Raspberry Pi controllers. There are other kits that require material purchases, including Robotics kit, which uses Lego Mindstorm materials.

How can I provide feedback or report a problem on a kit?

Questions about SkillsBuild

What is SkillsBuild?

SkillsBuild is part of IBM Volunteers https://www.ibm.com/volunteers/home.wss. It is a call to action for our volunteers, to reach 5 million students in 5 years, or 1 million students reached per year, starting in 2018.

Through our volunteers, we aim to showcase IBM and open source technologies and offer hands-on exercises to help students understand more about STEM and related careers.

The activities include ideas for engaging a wide variety of students, varying in age, and provide options based on topics, volunteer skills and involvement, from a casual short presentation to an ongoing club.

Who is the target audience for SkillsBuild?

Our focus is on STEM and career development topics for volunteers who are working with primary to secondary school students (4 to 19 year olds) around the globe.

What Activity Kits are available for SkillsBuild?

We have a variety of kits and are organizing them for volunteers in two ways, depending on what you are looking for: an activity for a specific timeframe, or options for a specific topic or theme:

  • Specific time:
    • 1 hour (classroom visit or event)
    • 1 day (as part of an event or camp)
    • Multiple days (club or hackathon)
  • Topic or theme areas:
    • Key Technologies: 21st Century skills; including Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Watson and others
    • Digital Literacy and Coding; including mobile, Agile, Design Thinking and activities that use programming languages, as well as the IBM Cloud.
    • STEM Careers for Everyone; including how to build a resume, learning about what engineers do, etc.

Can I see a summary of the kits for SkillsBuild?

We will continue to add Activity Kits to support SkillsBuild. Some available today at https://www.ibm.com/volunteers/home.wss include:

  • Build an app: Pursuit of Trivia - Students can enjoy a hands-on introduction to creating an iOS mobile app using Swift.
  • Chatbots for Good – Introduction and Chatbots for Good kits - Be a champion for compassion and build a chatbot
  • Code Your Toy Box - Introduce kids to programming by designing video games online.
  • Driving on Sunshine -Students explore engineering by designing and making a solar-powered model car.
  • Eat Your Science -Lead students in an experiment that explores chemistry while making ice cream.
  • Game On! -Explore microservices and cloud development through the text adventure Game On!
  • Hands on STEM (aka DiscoverE) -Introducing and reinforcing the importance of STEM education and careers.
  • Hello, Watson -Introduce IBM's Jeopardy! champion computer and the technology behind it.
  • Internet of Me -Help raise cyber security awareness
  • Medical Minecraft -Intersecting games with Cognitive Computing.
  • Mission: Innovation -Inspire students to consider how technology can make our world better.
  • Problem Solving with Design Thinking -Raise awareness of the design thinking framework as a problem-solving device.
  • Robotics for Programming a Robot for FIRST- A guide to FIRST(R) Robotics
  • Running a Modern Project – Agile - Introduce Agile practices to students through fun, hands-on activities
  • Solar School Mini - Take your information anywhere to share via a solar powered WiFi webserver.
  • Teaching Respect - Help teens to appreciate the importance of differences among people.
  • Train Your Computer with Machine Learning- Learn how computers can be trained to recognize the intent behind writing, emotional tone, hand writing, languages, play games and other fun activities
  • Walking On A Cloud - This kit is intended to provide an introduction to Cloud-based programming with IBM Cloud.
  • What's possible with AI - TJ Bot- An open source project to connect to Watson services in a fun manner.
  • World Community Grid - Join and promote a project devoted to humanitarian research.

How do I ensure my volunteerism counts toward the SkillsBuild goal?

As an IBM employee or retiree, you can record the hours and the number of students you reached through your volunteerism on the IBM Volunteers site. When tracking hours, please select 'yes' to the question, 'Was this an IBM-Sponsored volunteer opportunity?', then select SkillsBuild as the program or opportunity. Once selected, you can enter the number of participants, as well as the number of hours volunteered.

Track hours here:


Can I earn a grant for my volunteerism with SkillsBuild?

Documenting the hours you spend as a volunteer to an organization will help you qualify for a community grant ranging from $500 - $2000. For more information on the grant requirements, see https://www.ibm.com/volunteers/grants.wss

Can I use my volunteerism toward THINK40?

If you learn new skills or technologies, or leverage your current skills, with your management’s approval, you can track those hours in THINK40. There is a link to the THINK40 tool at the bottom of the track hours page, if you desire to use it.

What if I want to use an Activity Kit that does not support SkillsBuild?

We welcome our volunteers to use whatever Activity Kit supports their personal volunteerism.

About this volunteer activity

IBM is sharing activities our employees have performed successfully worldwide, and we invite you to use them in your own community. Many are drawn from our community service initiative, IBM Volunteers, which supports our colleagues’ volunteer efforts. Find more resources at www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/initiatives/volunteers.shtml.

IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Volunteers and SkillsBuild are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other product, company or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.