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One Person’s Junk is a Teacher’s Treasure



By Elisha Burns, RAFT Fellow

This is the time of the year when I think of all the things that I am thankful for having in my life.
Materials found at RAFT
With all of the extra expenses that come with a teaching career I am happy to learn of any ways to lessen my expenses. One of the cost cutting resources that I love having access to as a teacher is RAFT. With the dawn of Common Core and the push for project-based learning comes the need for organizations like RAFT. As a teacher at a STEAM academy I am expected to bring my lessons to life, however my school only provides me with a small budget for materials.


Teachers need to create dynamic hands on lessons and RAFT offers the resources necessary to teach.  Every time I come to RAFT I leave with a cart full of items and ideas. I might find a stack of obsolete product boxes that become the foundation for my student’s historical diorama. Walking around I might see a display showing an innovative way to use corporate waste for learning. I find the RAFT kits an excellent introduction to new topics or a great culminating project to solidify concepts that have already been taught. Before the winter holiday break I gave my students a chance to construct a holiday house that could withstand the infamous RAFT shake table (shown below).



These shake tables were made from cardboard, PVC pipe, bottle caps, rubber balls and a small circuit. Alone these items may seem like junk, but to my students it was just the exciting element that they need to engage in their house construction.   

Thank goodness we have RAFT. 

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