Skip to main content

RAFT and Common Core


As we approach the full implementation of Common Core and the Next Gen Science standards the classroom has become a far more busy and chaotic place.  Lots of learning with lots of mess and noise.

My curriculum is all designed around a grid system where students need to accumulate a certain number of points via various assignments and projects.


My first grid is learning the basics: like vocabulary, concepts, ideas, laws, formulas, etc.   There are even choices within each choice [ridiculous!]. Most of these assignments involve writing, reading, watching videos, or using a digital media to create a learning tool [ex flashcards, vocabulary game...]

My second grid is where the students apply what they learned via grid #1 and any offline/in class learning to USE their knowledge to create or complete something.  RAFT is indispensable for these types of activities.  For our forces and motion unit the students utilized four different RAFT kits in addition to all my weird RAFT supplies.

So picture a classroom of 22 high school students all in the middle of doing DIFFERENT projects and amongst all this creativity you have two students building some giant ramp out of plastic tubing and an absurd amount of masking tape.  No matter what my other students were working on everyone stopped “Hey, what assignment is that? Can we do that one too?” 
There seems to be some undeniable pleasure in sending an innocent marble hurling down a steep incline and through a maze of friction, hills, and spirals.  The RAFT supplies were perfect for creating the marble death traps as well as the bonus challenges like loops, or spirals.  The students think it is all fun and games but in the end they are able to explain where the laws of motion came into play, why having a high friction starting hill was not an advantage even if it was a steep one, and how a spiral or loop actually increases the marbles speed through the coaster.

Cynthia Lipsig, Teacher and RAFT Fellow

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Are you ready for Pi?

Time to get ready fer Pi Day at RAFT me hearties!  Set yer compasses an’ sails fer FREE Pi Day activities on March 8thbetween 3:30 to 5:30 on th’ main poop deck (aye-aye in th’ “Kit Area”) at SJ RAFT!
RAFT’s very own notorious wench, Jeanne Lazzarini (RAFT Math Master Educator), prepared a boatload of Pi Day activities to share with yer classes fer Pi Day (celebrated on March 14th every year)! Pi, (also written as π; th’ ratio of th’ circumference of a circle to its diameter) be an irrational number that goes on forever without any repeating digits, starting with 3.14159… π is illustriously celebrated over land an’ high seas March 14th (get it? On 3.14…!).    Discover great “make-an’-take” Pi day activities that prepare ye fer real Pi day!  Here’s a RAFT idea sheet fer Pi Day you can use now: Pi Day Pin. Make sure X marks th’ spot on ye calendars this March 8th, or walk th’ plank me scallywags!   Shiver me timbers an’ yo-ho-ho!  ‘Tis a RAFTy life fer me, Bucko!!!  Arrrgggghhhhh!

CUSD Shares Possible STEAM Projects by Grade

Twelve STEAM Innovation Leaders from the Campbell Unified School District (CUSD) came to RAFT earlier this month to create new motivational activities for the start of the school year!  They met in grade-level teams with our RAFT Education staff to generate new ideas using RAFT materials that will motivate, challenge, and inspire their students. Each team was given a RAFT Makerspace-in-a-Box containing a wide variety of upcycled materials. They were asked to create a Design Challenge that directed students to solve the instructor’s challenge with the materials from the box. The Design Challenges addressed an engineering standard appropriate for each grade level and could include standards from other subjects. Here are some of their exciting back-to-school ideas:
************************************************************************************* Grades TK – 2 Engineering Standard: K-2-ETS1-1:  Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to chan…

¡Olé! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

¡Olémis amigos! Holy Guacamole! It’s once again time to celebrate Cinco De Mayo—the 5th of May! Instead of all the controversy around Mexico in the past year, this may be an excellent opportunity to educate your students and allow them to ask questions about what they hear on the news. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain (which is September 16th)! “¡Ay, caramba!”as Bart Simpson would say….

This is “la verdad” (the truth): when the French invaded Mexico in 1862, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza’s force of 4,000 soldiers defeated 8,000 French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The Mexicans’ courage inspired Mexican Americans (Chicanos) to celebrate the victory even though the French occupation continued four more years. Later in the 1960’s and 70’s, Chicanos involved in the civil rights movement associated Cinco de Mayo with their quest for respect in the U.S. They identified with the Native Mexican and Mestizo (people of mixed Native Mexican and European de…