RAFT would like to thank the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto for providing a grant to support the students and teachers at East Palo Alto Academy (EPAA) in their STEAM initiatives over the past year. During the early days of distance learning, RAFT provided STEAM Project Kits and Learning Activity Sheets to EPAA. With these activities, educators were able to increase the STEAM instructional time during distance learning.

Over the past year, RAFT has continued to work with EPAA’s STEAM facilitator to provide kits and donated materials to support their various STEAM Projects thanks to the grant from the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto.

One project supported by this grant was the “Thriving Community Design Challenge.” Dream Lab Makerspace teacher Danielle Martin led 9th and 10th grade students in a rapid design thinking challenge based on BUILD’s virtual design challenge around designing for thriving communities. Students were prompted to brainstorm and form their own definition of thriving community, wellness, and economic freedom (using research and reporting gathered during UC Berkeley’s Other & Belonging Institute Teacher Fellowship), then quickly build 3D models from recycled materials to answer the prompt, “How might the design of our SPACES build community POWER?”. Students in small groups quickly created models for community arts centers, parks, affordable housing, medical facilities, schools, donation centers based on their own ideas and interests, using materials from the RAFT donation.

By engaging with these hands-on projects, students not only learn about STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) but also learn 21st-century skills such as collaboration, creativity, and resiliency.

In the Fall, students also used RAFT’s “Simple Motor” Kit to learn more about electromagnetism while building a successful circuit to power the motor.

Students at underserved, Title 1 schools, such as EPAA, need access to quality, engaging STEAM lessons. RAFT’s STEAM Project Kits and donated materials help engage students in hands-on learning to inspire creativity and increase students’ confidence in STEAM subjects and in their overall capabilities. 

Thanks to grants from organizations like the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto, RAFT can provide STEAM Project Kits and donated materials to those students who need access to engaging, hands-on STEAM learning experiences.

If you or your organization would like to help fund RAFT programs at schools like EPAA, please email development@raft.net with your inquiry.