STEM

RAFT Launches Product Line to Aid Makerspaces

RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching), a non-profit founded in 1994 to aid in hands-on teaching, has developed a new range of products and services designed to help teachers take advantage of school-based makerspaces.

With the increasing awareness that students can better master science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and skills via inquiry-based, student-directed learning, RAFT's makerspace initiative will take several forms.

It will help schools with the design of makerspaces, be they in dedicated rooms, at the back of existing classrooms or in portable spaces.

RAFT will stock the makerspaces with an ongoing supply of surplus materials for students to use, such as blocks of foam, wood and cardboard tubes that can engage students in prototyping their own solutions to real-world problems. The organization has developed an innovative supply chain process that converts commonly found or discarded materials from the business community into hands-on activity kits, all built with the help of volunteers.

There are curriculum units designed specifically for students in grades preK-8. Aligned with Common Core State Standards, the curricula are intended to help students to work through real-world challenges involving STEM subjects.

Finally, RAFT has prepared professional learning and coaching resources to help educators make the best use of makerspaces and to develop their own design-based curricula.

Believing that learning is best accomplished by doing, RAFT's products include activity kits and low-cost teaching supplies, along with professional development and mentoring.

For more information on how RAFT can help your school, contact Director of Learning Jason Pittman at jpittman@raft.net.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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