Getting Started FAQs

In 2001, Drs. Steven Wainwright and Norman Budnitz at Duke University established The Center for Inquiry-Based Learning (CIBL) to help North Carolina K-8 teachers learn inquiry-based teaching practices. Today, CIBL serves schools and districts all over North Carolina with STEM kit rentals and professional development.

CIBL offers a full line of hands-on STEM kits for K-8 classrooms. At each grade level, CIBL has kits that provide additional math & ELA integrations and STEM design challenges. Additionally, many of CIBL’s kits were developed specifically to align to the North Carolina Essential Science Standards.

In December 2014, CIBL conducted a survey to better understand the needs of teachers using CIBL kits. From the 269 responses, CIBL learned that:

When teachers use a CIBL kit in the classroom:

  • 83% experience students spending more or much more time engaging with science content in the classroom
  • 71% experience students asking more or many more questions during science
  • 69% experience students being more or much more on-task during science
  • 83% report spending less or much less time acquiring classroom materials to teach science
  • 75% feel more or much more prepared to lead a hands-on science lesson
  • 57% feel more or much more confident teaching the science content at their grade level

When no CIBL kit is available, 69% of teachers responded that they do not have the materials support they need to teach hands-on science.

54% of survey respondents currently receive 0-1 kits from CIBL.

76% of survey respondents would prefer to use 3-4 kits from CIBL each year.

We’re so glad you asked! When you work with CIBL, you will receive one-on-one customer service to help you through the process. To begin, you will need to secure funding, commonly through a purchase order, to pay for the kits. Next, you will work with Mara to determine which kits you would like to order and when you would like to receive them. CIBL rents kits on a 9-week basis, corresponding with the traditional and year-round calendars.

CIBL does not sell kits. If your school owns kits, CIBL offers refurbishment packs to replenish consumable items.

At this time, CIBL only serves teachers in North Carolina. Several of our kits and FUSE supplements specifically align to the North Carolina Essential Science Standards.

Our K-5 kit prices vary, but the average cost is $285 for a 9-week kit that serves 32 students. Kits with living materials require purchase of a starter kit. Starter kits are a one-time cost and stay in the classroom for use in future years. CIBL offers professional development at no charge with any kit rental.

6th grade kits are $545; 7th grade kits are $495; 8th grade kits are $595. All middle school units serve 125 students for 9 weeks. CIBL offers professional development at no charge with any kit rental.

Please contact Mara at mara (at) for a full price list.

Please click here to see current grant opportunities.

There is no charge for shipping. CIBL is required to charge sales tax on rentals and kit refurbishment pack sales. Tax rate will vary by county.

The K-5 kits serve 32 students. The middle school kits serve 125 students.

CIBL offers professional development on various kits throughout the year. Any upcoming training dates will be posted on our website. CIBL cannot guarantee that there will be a training session on every kit each year. Please contact Todd at (919) 294-9883 or for more information on professional development.