On Monday, August 16, 2021, RAFT helped the Luther Burbank School District kick off the 2021-22 school year with a professional development session focusing on materials and makerspace teaching. This session is the first of many more engagements planned between the school and RAFT.

Eric Welker, RAFT’s Director of Educational Content, led teachers through two design-based activities to model how teachers can easily begin to engage students within their makerspace, slated to be built with RAFT and the school community this fall.

The first activity called “This Reminds Me of…” provided the opportunity for teachers to analyze the attributes (characteristics) of different materials, list them, and then connect them to categories such as places, foods, events, and more.

Example: Bottlecap – “This reminds me of my high school because the round cap is similar to the juice I drank while in school.” This activity is great for learning material properties and developing descriptive language.

Teachers engaged in a design challenge where they collaborated in teams to create a new product inspired by another object, combining the attributes of both! One example is a team that designed and prototypes a new chair inspired by a honeybee.

The chair operated as a recliner but had colors and patterns common to honeybees. It also had bee-like appendages serving as handles for adjusting for the user’s comfort. Talk about creativity!

The day wrapped up with a debrief and evaluation, both of which indicated that teachers at Luther Burbank are excited to get started using makerspace materials with students and that RAFT provided an empowering PD experience that teachers can use with confidence.

Interested in a professional development workshop with RAFT? Contact education@raft.net.