RAFT relaunched its workshop program this summer with several interesting classes covering a variety of topics such as classroom management, design challenge facilitation, laser engraving, preschool math and science, and several others.  The workshop held on Saturday July 20, 2019 was called Exploring Electromagnetism with Simple Materials, facilitated by RAFT’s very talented “Making Wizard” Mike Pollock.

As many of us may know, STEM/STEAM activities are gaining popularity everyday.  Sometimes there are barriers to learning and teaching certain STEM topics for a variety of reasons such as money and materials.  Electromagnetism is an example of a science topic that can engage and excite students of all ages but is often assumed to require specialized equipment, knowledge, and tools to be taught safely and effectively.  In our electromagnetism workshop, Mike expertly led participants through many activities exploring magnetic polarity, simple circuits, magnetic fields, induced electric currents, solenoids, and more by teaching them to build devices made with simple materials often found at RAFT.  Examples of the materials used included corrugated plastic, paper clips, copper wires, rubber bands, small hardware, straws, small light bulbs, and batteries (see below).  Participants were able to build and engage with the devices they made and learn important steps in the preparation of the activities for different grade levels and they also discussed facilitation strategies ideal for learners with particular special needs.

The Electromagnetism workshop was well-received by the participants who represented different organizations with educational programs in the Bay Area such as independent schools, child development centers/preschools, public elementary schools, and city libraries.  These formal and informal educators will be able to share their learning on electromagnetism with peers, students, patrons and other important stakeholders in the community and pass on ideas around using simple materials creatively to provide access to this intriguing topic.

To learn more about our workshops, visit https://raft.net/resources/#workshops or call us at (408) 451-1420.

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