It was a fun-packed, fast-paced day at Boronda Meadows Elementary School in Salinas on Wednesday, June 9th! Nearly 50 teachers from the Salinas City Elementary School District participated in a professional learning opportunity (PLO) arranged by Julie Stephens-Carrillo from Hartnell College.

This PLO serves as the teacher kick-off for the Salinas City STEAM Summer School Academy, which will bring 900+ students through four weeks of exciting curriculum covering a range of topics such as energy, forces and motion, magnetism, and the engineering design process.

The day started with a review of effective social-emotional learning (SEL) and close reading tools currently used in the district. Immediately afterward the teachers rolled up their sleeves for some fun hands-on learning as Will Franzell, Science/STEAM Educator for the Monterey County Office of Education, and Eric Welker, RAFT’s Director of Educational Content, led them through engaging activities using RAFT STEAM project kits.

The teachers assembled and investigated forces and motion using RAFT’s Car on a Roll kit. Will brought the teachers outside and let them discover their own “Aha!” moments with the cars and record their discoveries in their science notebooks.

Eric led the teachers in an activity called Design Inspirations where the teachers became engineers, collaboratively developed a design, and built and shared their prototypes.

Some examples of new products designed by the teachers include a chair inspired by a flower and a backpack inspired by an octopus! Both activities were a hit, and Will and Eric modeled the necessary best practices for the teachers so they would receive a demonstration of how to implement each activity with confidence.

Learn more about our professional development opportunities here. To find out how RAFT can partner with you, please reach out to