Delivering Hands-On Learning

RAFT-On-Wheels delivers our special brand of pragmatic professional development and the same repurposed materials we have in the store directly to teachers across Colorado. 

A RAFT-On-Wheels Experience Includes:

We know that many students benefit from hands-on learning, and now, teachers in rural Colorado can access RAFT’s creative repurposed materials and training through RAFT-On-Wheels. This special and unique program will inspire teachers and students alike across the state.

– Gov. John Hickenlooper


For early learners, STEM is exciting and it is everywhere!  In this workshop, which is focused on how to scaffold “play” into powerful learning experiences, participants will play as students but think like educators. After demystifying the STEM acronym, we will build everyone’s expertise in using repurposed materials to provide opportunities for exploration, inquiry, and scientific thinking. We will also provide practical tips – plus take-home materials – to make it almost effortless to ensure kids are enjoying STEM opportunities every day!

Upcycled MakerSpaces

In this fun and hands-on session, participants will discover how easy and affordable it can be to set up a MakerSpace.  The session will occur in a MakerSpace that uses upcycled materials to demonstrate how teachers can create and maintain Upcycled MakerSpaces of their own.  Participants will use the Space to do their own material exploration and a project, then reflect as a group how incorporating open-ended maker projects can help foster student learning and essential skills.

Cross-Curricular Engineering

According to Albert Einstein, “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.” Engineers are dreamers, innovators, researchers, inventors, problem-solvers, and creators. In this workshop, participants will engineer “curricular collisions” that integrate STEM with other content areas. This engineering process will lead to exciting new ways to learn about the world that not only provide valuable context to content, they also open up opportunities to develop those critical engineering skills regardless of the content area.

Developing Hands-On Projects to Support Academic Standards and Goals

Some educators need to align their curriculum to external standards (e.g., The Colorado Academic Standards or NGSS), while others need to ensure their teaching covers their organization’s internal academic goals. This course can be tailored to address either of these needs. Multiple challenges will be used to show the applicability across content areas and in developing essential skills.  During the discussions surrounding each challenge, participants will gain more insight on how to use standards or objectives to design challenges that effectively advance learning goals. Participants will also spend time building rubrics to assess the students’ performance and understanding against desired outcomes.

Assessing Student Understanding through Hands-On Projects

Bubble dot tests are limited in their ability to measure student learning. Teachers need a variety of tools to fully assess student understanding, and this session provides excellent scaffolding for how to use design challenges to do just that. Participants explore how to use both open-ended and result-focused Design Challenges to guide and assess student learning.  Participants will also spend time building rubrics designed to methodically assess their students’ performance and understanding.

Design Challenges for Individualized Learning

With no prescribed outcome, open-ended Design Challenges provide perfect opportunities to let students approach their learning in their own way.  We will explore how to use quality challenges to take students through prescribed content and reinforce that learning, while providing them with individualized opportunities to express and report. We will also discuss how to evaluate student learning when faced with so many different work products to assure that students have learned the necessary content.