Skip to main content

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. 

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…