The RAFT Maker Mobile, sponsored by The Sharks Foundation and Western Digital, rolled onto the Milpitas School District campus on a cool July morning. About 50 summer school students joined RAFT's Education facilitators, Qi Diaz, Mikey Ramot, and Mike Pollock for the Ramp It Up design challenge.

The Ramp It Up challenge encourages students to engineer a rolling device with hubs and axles using upcycled CDs, straws, binder clips, paint stirrers and other creative reuse materials. Once their device is complete they test it out on a 1 meter (around 3 ft) tall ramp seeing how far it can roll on its own. It sounds easier than it is!

After some trial and error, most students crafted unique, working prototypes. Using their STEAM journals, they noted design changes, made predictions, and compared results. Some students challenged themselves to modify their designs to turn or stop at a specified distance. 

While some students teamed up to create larger and more sophisticated devices, others explored unique design concepts like The Unicycle, The Rattler, and our favorite, The Taco Truck. The Taco Truck was engineered to travel exactly 5 meters (around 16 ft) and stop.

One student was able to create a rolling vehicle that traveled over 14 meters (around 45 ft) and earned the Ramp It Up longest distance award. The teachers, students, and staff expressed their excitement and gratitude for the event and RAFT looks forward to continuing our collaboration with the talented students and staff of the Milpitas Unified School District.