Supporting School Based Makerspaces


The new school based coaching model eliminates barriers to effective professional development by delivering training on site with new emphasis on building relationships between RAFT coaches and teachers. By serving teachers in their own schools, RAFT is dedicated to serving the unique needs of individual teachers and schools

Teachers at participating schools will engage with RAFT coaches on site for a minimum of four coaching sessions. Teachers will learn about project based learning and the design thinking process as well as new technology tools that make management of student learning more efficient. As the program continues throughout the year teachers begin to develop their own inquiry based learning experiences and share their learning with their peers.

Year Round Support

Coaching sessions build capacity for teacher professional learning communities to understand the most powerful components of constructivist learning, project based learning and design thinking as well as developing teacher’s understanding of creating learning experiences and mentoring other teachers.

Session 1 Goals Session 2 Goals Session 3 Goals Session 4 Goals
  • Using and Managing Your School Makerspace
  • Skills and Mindsets
  • Learn the Design Thinking process
  • Learn to use existing raft.education curriculum
  • Introduction to Google Classroom
  • In class implementation of an existing unit using the Design Thinking process
  • In class discussion of NGSS
  • In class development of one unit lesson
  • Begin discussing mentorship of other teachers
  • Assessment strategies
  • In class development of workshop plan for training other teachers at participant’s site
  • Reflection on growth for 2016-2017
Between Sessions 1 & 2   Between Sessions 2 & 3   Between Sessions 3 & 4
Participants set goals for visiting the makerspace for the first time & using RAFT curriculum with their RAFT coach (online through Google classroom) Participants set goals for implementing the lessons they created with their RAFT coach (online through Google classroom) Participants set goals for implementing and sharing the lessons they created with their RAFT coach (online through Google classroom)

Design Consultation and Implementation Plan

Design Concept

RAFT works with your school community  to co-design a custom, on-site makerspace, often starting small and scaling up as the school community grows into STEAM or maker­ pedagogy initiatives. A makerspace can be as simple as a well designed cart full of up-cycled building materials, or a reimagined storage closet, a single wall in a classroom or library or an entire robust workroom.

RAFT’s design team will facilitate a meeting with your school community to co-design the space and co-develop success metrics. We encourage the inclusion of teachers, staff, administrators, parents and students. After this meeting, our designers will present a plan for creating the school’s makerspace, to be approved by the school community. Once the plan is approved, we can help facilitate a school community event to implement the plan.


In response to the national call for deeper learning and assessment of performance expectations, RAFT has created a new offering of curricular materials based on Stanford’s Design Thinking model. Using research based practices to develop a new model of integrated standards based lessons, we can ensure greater results in student achievement.

Design Thinking is a methodology used to solve real world problems. This  process helps students to deeply understand a problem, learn and explore the concepts needed in finding solutions, and iterate on a solution while achieving proficiency with performance expectations.

All of RAFT’s STEAM lessons are built directly from NGSS performance expectations and Common Core MATH standards. The design thinking process is useful in deconstructing each concept used in a performance expectation and giving students ample practice before applying their understanding to an end-of-unit challenge that mirrors the performance expectation. Each unit authentically integrates multiple national standards and performance expectations, mirroring the integration of skills needed for real world problem solving

Throughout the year, RAFT master teachers and RAFT fellows will collect and co-create new lessons, projects and units to be published on RAFT’s curriculum platform. These new units include teacher feedback and communication tools that allow best practices to be shared across all participating schools and all RAFT teacher members.

Up-cycled Materials

An Abundance of Green Resources

Too often teachers and schools are presented with a dearth of resources for creating meaningful project based learning. RAFT can supply school based makerspaces with and abundance of up-cycled materials directly to schools throughout the school year. Sustainability is a cruial part of our school based makerspace program, and greener more affordable resources ensure that teachers and schools will have the tools they need to create joyful and effective learning.

Retail Locations

Retail stores in Redwood City and San Jose remain at the forefront of our emphasis on supporting teachers professionally and at an affordable price. We love to reward our innovative educators with the best customer service, the best selection of up-cycled materials, the most affordable resources for their classrooms, and an environment that supports their desire to build their own capacity as educators. To help create new opportunities for teacher-leaders and creators, we have created a makerspace for teachers at our Simon Center location in San Jose where teachers can explore our resources with other educators.

Delivery of Up-cycled Materials

RAFT coaches also serve as school liaisons, coordinating and delivering up-cycled maker- materials as they visit their cohort schools for programmed sessions or school visits. By delivering materials directly to schools, RAFT can help teachers and schools gain better access to more high quality affordable materials than ever before.
RAFT upcycled materials in a school based makerspace


RAFT Fellows

In recent years, RAFT has supported a small group of educators who demonstrate passion for education and enthusiasm in spreading the mission of RAFT. RAFT supports these exceptional member teachers with a $1,000 stipend for their year of service. For the 2016- 2017 school year, RAFT will include teacher leaders from each participating makerspace school in this group for a total of ten teachers. This not only extends the value of the school makerspace service, but also ensures that RAFT will create a network of teachers who share the learnings of each site directly with other sites.

Teachers Coaching Teachers

As teachers at participating RAFT makerspace schools progress through the 2016-2017 school year, they will move through a continuum that begins with implementing ready to use PBL lessons to creating their own projects and lessons to sharing what they have learned with other educators. We support teachers who have the capacity and passion to become trainers for their peers, provide a reliable group of educators to support the development of hubs in each district that RAFT supports in 2016-2017.

District hubs

RAFT is working with schools that are both enthusiastic about constructivist education, and participation in the program. Through these strategically located schools, RAFT can support surrounding districts by assisting year one schools in becoming training hubs in subsequent years.

Ongoing Support

RAFT will continue to supply schools with up-cycled materials, professional development and curriculum as needed or requested by schools well beyond the creation of their school based makerspace. RAFT has served Bay Area teachers for over 20 years with high quality professional learning and affordable resources, and will continue to support educators by bring those services directly to schools.

Affordable Flat Rates for Year-Round Service


RAFT is committed to creating an affordable program to support school based makerspaces. Our material team works with businesses and organizations throughout Silicon Valley to collect high quality, clean useable materials for school based makerspaces. Our approach does not focus on expensive machinery and tools that too often sit unused or unsupported. Instead, we delivery simple to use project materials that help every teacher and every student to get started right away.

Low Cost Materials Students using low cost building materials

Community Support

RAFT is committed to affordable hands-on learning, so we’re helping schools build their makerspaces with support from our corporate and community partners. We can bring financial aid and help cover up to 90% of the costs of the program. Email makerspace@raft.net for more information.


RAFT SRI Partnership

SRI International is supporting RAFT with custom assessment items within its research based assessment platform. RAFT and SRI will collaborate to create rigorous assessment items for a selection of RAFT’s newly developed lessons and projects. This data will yield a more comprehensive look at the effectiveness of school based makerspaces in student achievement.

Assessment metrics for school based makerspaces

RAFT collaborates with schools to collect and review student achievement and engagement data. RAFT will create a plan during the design and implementation phase and development to track student engagement, student achievement using assessment items custom created with SRI and metrics to collect data around the school’s own goals for use of the space.