From pencils, paper and paints to activity kits, lessons and professional development.

RAFT leverages community donations and bulk purchasing to offer a wide range of low-cost materials, hands-on teaching tools, and school supplies at our educator resource center. Our online resources include content to help in the classroom meeting the needs for a wide variety of subjects, standards and curriculum.

Professional Development for Schools and Organizations

RAFT offers a series of professional development workshops for school and organizations.  Each workshop utilizes our warehouse of bulk materials and learning activities to explore STEM/STEAM topics and design challenges, addressing grade level standards and best practices.  All of our workshops are hands-on and participants leave with plenty of ideas and/or materials for implementation in the classroom.  See descriptions and prices below.

Take a field trip to RAFT!  We have two classrooms and a 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse that can accommodate your next staff training.  Come experience the magic of our warehouse full of bulk materials and be fully engaged in a workshop facilitated by our Learning Engineers.  Can’t make it to RAFT?  Our Learning Engineers can travel to you and bring the joy of hands-on learning to your staff.  NOTE: Prices listed below are for workshops held at RAFT.  Workshops held offsite may be subject to additional fees.

If you are looking for a unique workshop, half or full day staff event, or a series of workshops, we are happy to customize the training to fit the needs of your team.  For more information, email Eric Welker ( or Diana Phuong (

Workshop Descriptions

Mini Design Challenges: 60-90 minutes

Foster creativity with interesting recyclable materials!  Short design challenges can be a great way to engage students, foster creativity, assess understanding and build collaborative skills without a huge investment in planning time.  In this workshop we engage in short challenges, explore materials, their attributes and uses, while discussing the “maker moves” that ensure successful student-led learning experiences.  $250

Integrated STEAM Education: 2-3 hours

This workshop focuses on integrating design challenges into existing or emerging lesson plans so that students will be able to potentially develop solutions to Global Challenges.  Participants engage in a sample NGSS-aligned design challenge and then review key design challenge components using RAFT’s lesson planning resources, after which they dive into planning.  With workshop participants as a forum, we brainstorm ideas, explore materials and share initial plans for feedback.  $350 – $450

STEM Learning Activities: 2-3 hours

Prepackaged STEM activity kits are a great way to design a hands-on lesson, while investigating unpacked science standards (NGSS).  With limited planning, RAFT kits can easily be modified or extended for any learner.  Explore how our kits can become effective engineering challenges, encourage problem solving, creativity, and application of learning.  This is a great way to integrate student-led instruction without exhaustive planning.  $350 – $450

Found Engineering and Materials Management: 1-2 hours

This workshop focuses on organization systems and creative reuse of materials.  This is a great foundation training for any team looking to learn how to use inexpensive common objects to create robust and meaningful hands-on projects.  In addition to exploring material attributes and how to manipulate common materials, we review how to organize and manage materials in the classroom to avoid excessive clutter and clean-up time.  $250 – $350

Create Your Own

Customize the above or contact RAFT to discuss other options including developing maker mindsets, planning STEAM showcases, and community engagement events.


Workshops for Individual Educators

RAFT offers workshops that focus on current best practices in hands-on education that directly support teachers and informal educators.  Our workshops can accommodate a wide range of grades and personal and professional interests.  We use various materials, kits, and other teaching tools to enhance the learning experience.  Some workshops may be facilitated by guest instructors that we believe can offer valuable skills and knowledge to the teaching community.  Participants leave the workshops with items they make, relevant handouts and supporting documents, and a certificate verifying attendance.  RAFT workshops earn training hours that can be applied towards continuing education units issued through San Jose State University.

Workshop Descriptions

Intro to TinkerCAD: 3-D Print Designs (2 hours)

Learn the basics of CAD (computer-aided design) using TinkerCAD and make your own 3-D model.  Everyone will have a 3-D print-ready file by the end of the class.  No previous experience needed.  TinkerCAD is a free online collection of software tools based on browsers.  Most computers and laptops purchased within the last 6 years should work well with TinkerCAD.  Please bring your own laptop or computer.  COMING SOON!

Introduction to 3-D Printing: How to Prepare for 3-D Printing (2 hours)

3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model.  In this workshop, you will learn the basics of 3-D printers using the Go Big 3-D printer as an example.  You will learn how to prepare your 3-D file, set up the machine, load your file and print.  This workshop is appropriate for participants ages 12 and up!  COMING SOON!

Laser Engraving Introductory Course (3 hours)

Laser engravers, also known as laser cutters, help to create many customized items by using laser technology to engrave and cut through a wide variety of materials.  For example, laser engravers can mark, engrave, and cut woods, fabrics, paper products, metals, and even glass!  Laser engravers can be used to create teaching tools, puzzles, graphic designs, and other useful items that would otherwise be expensive to procure.  This beginning course gives participants the knowledge and practice required to safely operate the machine on their own and provides an understanding of the different pieces of hardware and basic design fundamentals through hands-on experience.  Participants will learn to clean, calibrate, and configure the machine for different tasks and materials and also learn to troubleshoot common issues that can occur during use.  RAFT members who complete this workshop will be able to reserve the machine for additional practice and/or working on projects.

Available classes:

Laser Engraving with the Rotary Fixture (3 hours)

Laser engraving provides a unique way for people to explore creativity and innovation through designing and processing materials using laser technology.  This workshop teaches the skills and techniques required to use the rotary fixture, which allows users to engrave and mark a variety of cylindrical objects such as wine glasses, mugs, cups, paper tubes, and more!  Participants will learn how to install, adjust and calibrate the rotary fixture, load materials for processing, change the engraving field, and determine graphic placement. Prerequisites: Laser Engraving Introductory Course, current RAFT membership.

Available classes:

Math & Science Activities for Preschool (3 hours)

This workshop focuses on skills and strategies for facilitating a variety of math and science hands-on activities for preschool age children.  Participants will engage in activities involving rolling objects, light, magnets, foam, containers, and other interesting materials to teach science and math concepts.  Concerns, challenges, best practices and solutions will be discussed as well as next steps towards implementation of the presented activities.  Examples of math and science topics that will be addressed include counting, number sense, patterns, magnetic phenomena, properties of light, pushes and pulls, cause and effect, and scientific investigations.

Available classes:

Qalaxia Workshop: Using AI in the Classroom (1 hour)


Qalaxia is hosting a workshop on how to set up your own bot in ten minutes in three easy steps.  The bot will respond to your students’ questions by extracting answers from your own resources. During the workshop, lasting 1-hour, you will get an introduction to Qalaxia, how to set up your bot, and generate reports containing insights into your students’ questions.  Click Qalaxia to learn more.

Available classes:

Science for the Non-Scientist (4 hours)

Are you intrigued by science but also intimidated by it?  Have you been asked to teach science but lack the background?  Do you want to explore more science topics with your own children?  Participate in this workshop and learn how to do simple science activities using common materials such as straws, bottles, magnets, lasers, UV light, dry ice, and much more!  You will bend laser beams, explore Newton’s Laws, tinker with air pressure, levitate magnets, conduct simple investigations and learn how to do a variety of cool activities that are sure to give kids that “wow” factor.  Best of all, you will learn the science behind the activities presented.  This workshop is ideal for K-5 teachers, homeschooling parents, scout leaders, summer or after-school program staff, and anyone interested in science.

Available classes:

Green Room

Our resource center is equipped with a variety of materials and tools to meet your needs.  One such resource is the Green Room, a creative workspace providing RAFT members with equipment, ideas, and expert assistance as well as an opportunity to collaborate and share experience and expertise.  Please note that food and drinks are not permitted in the Green Room or Makerspace, and for safety reasons children under 12 are not allowed in the Green Room.

What’s in the Green Room?

  • Large collection of Ellison dies
  • Paper cutters
  • Embossing and crimping tools
  • Book binding equipment
  • Laminators
  • Button Maker
  • Computer with printer
  • Photocopier

Adjacent to the Green Room is our Makerspace, equipped with a Universal Laser Systems VLS4.60 Platform.  This laser system is a versatile device that can cut, etch, or raster a variety of materials, from plastics and glass to more natural products such as wood, leather, and paper.  Educators must complete RAFT’s Laser Engraving Introductory Workshop before using the laser system.  See our Calendar for the next available Laser Workshop.

Visit our San Jose location to shop in store!

A RAFT membership is required in order to shop at our resource center.

No Time to Shop In Store?

No problem.  Check out our online store and get the supplies you need at a price you can manage now.

RAFT San Jose

1355 Ridder Park Drive
San Jose, CA 95131

Shopping Hours

Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Thursday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Friday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Phone & Email

General Questions: (408) 451-1420,
Membership: (408) 213-7216,
Workshops: (408) 451-1421,
Material Donations:
Retail: (408) 451-3853

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