San Jose K-8 School Adopts RAFT Makerspace

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RAFT, Project Ember, Orchard School collaborate to create first makerspace in school history

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RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) and members from the Orchard School community together created a new makerspace. With the help of Project Ember, the group of students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and RAFT employees transformed an old, unused locker room into a space where making supplies can be found for use by the entire student body.

Orchard is a K-8 school with a student body of approximately 900. The aim of this makerspace is to enhance student learning through providing space and materials for hands-on projects. Supporting curriculum from RAFT encourages students to create and problem solve using the design thinking process. These experiences deepen student learning and understanding of topics currently in their curriculum. The Orchard makerspace has been stocked with a specific focus in supplies for math and art.

“We are very excited to have a makerspace at Orchard School. There was tremendous enthusiasm from the students who helped to build the tables and carts”, Says Peter Holley, teacher at Orchard School. “The makerspace will give students more variety in their classroom experiences as teachers utilize it in their curriculum. We are also working toward giving students opportunities to use the space outside of class on projects that make them excited to create.”

The day began with Project Ember’s safety training and explanation of reverse engineering to provide students the knowledge and encouragement to work as autonomously as possible. Project Ember is a Bay Area Maker Camp dedicated to stoking kids' creativity, confidence and sense of community through the creation of large scale projects. RAFT provided a broad collection of containers which students transformed into storage solutions. They sorted a cornucopia of donated materials, organized, and stocked their new makerspace. Classes and groups of students will be able to visit their makerspace and collect materials useful in prototyping their own designs.

One student exclaimed “I can’t believe I built this”. Peter expounds, “This is the kind of experience we want to bring to our students. We want them to be excited about making and proud of the work they accomplish.”

RAFT assists schools with the design of makerspaces, whether in dedicated rooms, at the back of classrooms, or even via portable designs. To then support these spaces, RAFT stocks the space with an ongoing supply of surplus materials. Thanks to the support of hundreds of corporate and community donors, RAFT is able to provide schools such as Orchard with a wide range of materials to incorporate in their STEM learning. Maker education stimulates students to make flexible, adaptive choices about the materials and tools they use in learning challenges.

For more information about RAFT makerspace products and services visit http://raft.education/

About RAFT – Resource Area For Teaching

RAFT – Resource Area For Teaching is a non-profit, resource solution to help educators transform a child’s learning experience through hands on education to one that inspires the joy and discovery of learning. Founded in 1994, RAFT focuses on providing educators of all types – classroom teachers, after school educators, homeschool educators, scout leaders, early care and education professionals – with effective, engaging, affordable hands-on learning resources aligned to national curriculum standards. RAFT, believes the best way to spark a love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators is through hands-on learning. RAFT supports some 7,000 educators in enriching and improving the education of more than 550,000 students young year.

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©1994-2016 Resource Area For Teaching. All rights reserved. The RAFT logo and RAFT product names referenced herein are trademarks or service marks of RAFT – Research Area For Teaching. All other trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies.

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Natarshia Mosley
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