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 inexpensive materials, hands-on teaching tools, and school supplies at our educator resource center.  Our online educator resources and in-person professional development offerings include content that helps teachers meet student needs and provides strategies for covering multiple subjects and content standards.

Professional Development Workshops for Schools and Organizations

Please note: All RAFT workshops have been postponed until further notice in compliance with current shelter-in-place orders issued by Santa Clara County health officials.

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 Chase Davenport (

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.


Professional Development Workshops for Individual Educators

Please note: All RAFT workshops have been postponed until further notice in compliance with current shelter-in-place orders issued by Santa Clara County health officials.

RAFT offers workshops that focus on best practices in hands-on education that directly support teachers and informal educators. Our facilitators use various recyclable materials and teaching tools to enhance the learning experience and teach useful skills. Participants leave the workshops with lots of ideas, goodies, and a professional development certificate verifying the number of training hours completed. RAFT training hours can often be applied towards continuing education units issued through San Jose State University.

Workshop Descriptions

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.

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.

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.

Civil Air Patrol: Beebots Workshop (1 hour)

Bee-Bot TTS Educational Robot Helps to Teach Algorithms | Improve Directional Language and Programming Skills | Rechargeable Docking Station - Pack of 6Civil Air Patrol hosts Bee Bots and Go Mouse in the Classroom: we will explore creative ways to use devices in classrooms and extracurricular activities to teach algorithms and sequential problem solving through hands-on activities. We will also go beyond the devices to give students ways to apply coding concepts to include conditional logic in one-on-one and group games to reinforce the lessons. Finally, we will explore ways to use stories and games to reinforce all of these concepts.




Qalaxia Workshop: AI-Driven Bot Assistant in Your Classroom! (1 hour)

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Set up your own Q&A bot in ten minutes in three easy steps! Qalaxia is hosting a 1-hour workshop where you will create your own bot assistant on Qalaxia, and learn with peers (RAFT members). As a bonus, you will also learn how to use Qalaxia as a Homework assistant to your classroom.

Resource Center

Our Resource Center is a creative workroom equipped with a variety of materials and tools to meet your needs.  RAFT members using the Resource Center can rely on assistance from RAFT staff and knowledgeable volunteers for ideas and also have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from other RAFT members.  For safety reasons, food/drink and children under 12 are not permitted in the Resource Center.  We thank you in advance for your understanding.

What’s in the Resource Center?

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

RAFT also has 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.

RAFT Store Reopens

We are excited to welcome back our community. Beginning Wednesday, June 10 we will be open for shopping three days a week and by APPOINTMENT ONLY.

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

To comply with Santa Clara County’s “Shelter in Place” directive, RAFT will be closed effective 3/17/2020 until further notice.

Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: Closed
Friday: Closed
Saturday: Closed

Phone & Email

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

Check out what’s new in store!

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