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The Shortino Family Foundation helps RAFT & YSI reach professional development on hands-on teaching techniques to educators in the ARUSD


Ocala Cluster teachers having fun
with the RAFT Activity Kits
Resource Area For Teaching recently held a professional development workshop on hands-on teaching techniques for elementary and middle school educators across the Ocala Cluster in the Alum Rock Unified School District (ARUSD). The workshop is part of the ongoing science program conducted by RAFT in collaboration with the Youth Science Institute (YSI) and ARUSD.

RAFT and YSI have partnered together to support the teachers from the District’s Ocala Cluster of Caselle, Ryan and Rogers Elementary Schools and Ocala Middle School, with the tools and techniques required to spark imaginations and fuel minds. “It's great to be part of this partnership that's bringing RAFT Activity Kits and YSI programs into Ocala Cluster classrooms with lessons that complement each other,” says Ken Sakoi, Education Director at YSI.
The RAFT Breadboard circuit

These professional development tools and hands on techniques which include a package of classroom materials for each educator, teacher training and, student programs linking RAFT training and materials with YSI student programs, have been made possible by the generous contribution from the Shortino Family Foundation.

At one of the recent teacher training workshops held at RAFT, the RAFT Education team demonstrated various RAFT Activity Kits including Owl Pellets, Evolution by Natural Selection (for 7th grade), Mini Magnet Wands, Floating Compass, Breadboard Circuits (for 4th grade) and Breaking it Down, Still Water (for 6th grade) at the workshop. These Activity Kits are mostly based on repurposed materials that are very affordable and easily accessible like aluminum foil, plastic pipette tips, coffee stirrer straws, pony beads, clothespins, and even plastic forks and spoons!

Jennifer Greenbaum, a school teacher from Ryan Elementary who participated in the workshop was very enthusiastic about her first experience at RAFT. “I had heard about RAFT before but didn’t really understand what it was all about. When I entered and I saw M.C. Escher design tiles, I thought this was a creative, whimsical kind of place…a fun place where creative people worked! I was really engaged in the workshop…gave us a feel of how the kids would experience learning through these hands on materials. Loved all the activities especially dissecting owl pellets…it was fun!”

Educators like Jennifer will be doing these RAFT hands-on activities with their students in the classrooms before and after taking part in the YSI programs. The RAFT Activity Kits will help teachers reinforce educational concepts in their students.

Do you want to have some fun getting creative with education? Do you want to inspire and engage your students with hands on methods of teaching? Join RAFT and start your hands on learning today!

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