TTC_raftSAN JOSE, CALIF. – October 19, 2016 – RAFT – Resource Area for Teaching, the leading solution center to help educators transform a child’s learning experience through hands-on education, announces the launch of our Rock the Ravine Design Challenge kit.  This design challenge is aligned with the theme of the 2017 Tech Challenge which reinforces 21st-century skills including creativity, problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking.

The Tech Challenge 2017: Rock the Ravine, presented by Dell, marks the 30th anniversary of this signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation. Students in Grades 4-12 use the engineering design process to solve a real-world problem. Participants spend months collaborating and becoming deeply engaged in the challenge while documenting their progress and designs. The program culminates in a thrilling two-day showcase April 29th-30th, 2017 when teams put their solutions to the test in front of judges.

RAFT has collaborated with The Tech Museum of Innovation to create a design challenge kit to help students who are a part of the competition tackle smaller scale problems in preparation for solving the larger problem of the challenge.

“We are thrilled that in addition to helping students work up to solving large problems, this collaboration gives younger students the chance to start building engineering skills,” says Abby Longcor, Senior Director of The Tech Challenge.  “This partnership helps bring quality engineering education to diverse neighborhoods across our community by working with groups such as libraries and after-school programs.”

In addition, our Rock the Ravine kit enables students in grades K-3 to begin exploring the design process to develop solutions to a real world problem. It contains enough building materials for four to six small groups of students to explore engineering concepts and build ravine-crossing solutions. Materials are upcycled from area manufacturers to promote environmentally friendly learning.  Students work in teams to design, build and test a model for safely crossing an obstacle – in this case a crevasse – with a set of criteria and constraints.  The students also create a story describing how their design will positively impact the intended users and solve a real-world problem.  Other skills learned include developing empathy, brainstorming and critical thinking.

“The 2017 Tech Challenge Kit, Rock the Ravine, helps younger students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. The curriculum includes mini lessons to allow students to explore concepts at their own pace before attempting to synthesize those skills in the design challenge. The Rock the Ravine kits are created from 100% up-cycled materials and are a great example of RAFT’s commitment to deeper learning through hands on lessons,” says Jason Pittman, RAFT’s Director of Learning.

To learn more about our kit go For more information about the Tech Challenge

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, home-school 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 11,000 educators in enriching and improving the education of more than 850,000 students young year.

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