Today, September 10, 2022, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Michael S. Pollock, our one and only Making Wizard Engineer, at RAFT. 

Prior to joining RAFT, Mike was a teacher for over twenty-five years and was always passionate about science. He enjoys giving kids tools with which they can explore a phenomenon or can modify and say, “Well, I wonder what would happen if…,” because he believes that’s what science is all about.


Inspired by lending libraries, Mike started working on making a similar concept available for science–if he was able to come up with things that were simple enough and were "backpack-able," kids would be able to take those tools and show them to their parents and siblings, reinforcing the learning at home.

Mike later joined RAFT as the organization’s very first Kit Facilitator. He designed hundreds of RAFT’s Project Kits over the course of two decades, at one point having designed over half the kits available for sale. The very first time he put his kits out on sale, they were a hit and sold out in two hours. Due to the kits’ popularity and success, Mary Simon, founder of RAFT, would proudly announce how many kits they were able to sell for the year and would come up with bigger goals for the next year. Although Mike jokingly says that she never asked him what the practical goal was, he figured, “if it walks out the door, there’s a need.”

Mike’s creativity and resourcefulness were traits he was able to utilize at RAFT. He was able to make use of simple, everyday products to help kids understand science. Along the way, Mike coined the term “Found Engineering.” This meant finding ways to put things together–things that were never meant to go together or do things they were never meant to do–to create unique opportunities for learning, which in this case were low-cost and therefore accessible science activities. Some of his favorite kits that he developed are the Solar Cone Cooker and the Static Merry Go Round, which use materials such as aluminum foil, straws, bottle caps, and Mylar strips to teach energy and electricity.


It is undeniable the impact Mike has made at RAFT and the education community RAFT serves. He always works with the intention of helping others out. Using his backgrounds in education and engineering, Mike spent the last twenty years developing science-based kits he wished were available when he was teaching.

“Being in RAFT has provided me with the opportunity to share my knowledge and to affect more students and teachers than I possibly could.”

- Mike Pollock

When asked about his hopes for the future of RAFT, Mike simply answers, “To keep the lights on.” In the course of twenty years, Mike has seen the organization go through much change and countless highs and lows. He hopes that RAFT will continue to share the joy of hands-on learning and evolve in order to keep satisfying the evolving needs of the education community.

From all of us at RAFT, we would like to thank Mike Pollock for his dedication and contribution to RAFT’s mission.

Congratulations on your 20th anniversary, Mike!



Given how amazing Mike is, it's hard to summarize all of the great work he has done to support RAFT all these years. One quick example of his genius, however, that I think is one of the most innovative things he's made here is the component circle he invented for our Electronic Game Board Design kit (formerly called "Electrical Engineering"). I was tasked with designing this kit to fulfill a grant deliverable to Texas Instruments for RAFT. Without Mike's component circle we wouldn't have achieved the variability in resistance and capacitance that TI wanted us to include. And no one else outside of RAFT had anything close to this made with foam. He even took this concept further by creating a way to show a schematic symbol on a movable foam block with the electrical component built right in so learners could literally build electrical circuits and learn the symbols simultaneously.

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Mike has a gift for always thinking of the scaffolds students need to fully understand usually difficult science concepts. From him I learned the power of keeping things simple, clear, and broken down into logical steps so all students can succeed.

- Eric Welker, RAFT Director of Learning Development