RAFT Activity Kit: Static Merry-go-Round

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Beyond the Traditional Math

By Courtney Hunter, Resource Specialist

As Common Core is being integrated in every classroom amongst all grade levels, it is leaving some parents and children feeling baffled, perplexed, and many times, lost. With the new California Common Core methods students have yet to learn the techniques of looking at Math as a puzzle or unique contraption. Instead students are seeing it as a one-way path to unravel the one-way arithmetic explanation to resolve the only solution.  As we, educators, continue to build the minds of our students in our classroom, we embrace the complex problems with intriguing ways of solving them.  We lead our students to the understanding that Math can be messy and its okay to have a spider web of intercut pathways leading to a variety of correct answers. 

For example, my fourth grade students were learning fractions. To many it was a number with lines keeping them separated. To others it was a circle with the same number of pieces all matching in color to make a whole, in their words, a pizza. As I began to take pieces away from the whole, many told me it was impossible to complete the circle, or fraction. I challenged them to prove me wrong and start building their fractions. How many ways can we make a whole using 24 different pieces to a whole? Are there going to be two of the same answers? How many different ways can you make a whole using all the pieces? What if I take away 1/3 and 1/8? What happens?

The moral of this activity is to challenge your students to expand their learning! Ask questions! Keep them on their toes to problem solving by taking away pieces, adding pieces, and setting different scenarios. Integrate hands on learning with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and everyday critical thinking skills. The more we as educators challenge students, the more doors we open for their futures.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 IMD Cohort Visits RAFT

By Greg Brown, Director of Education Iniatives, RAFT

Each year, the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) executive MBA program makes a visit to Silicon Valley to see innovative companies, including RAFT. Participants of the program are executives from around the world who are completing their MBAs through a Swiss university program. Organizers of the program feel that RAFT visits gives the executives an insight into the creativity and resourcefulness that makes Silicon Valley so special.
The second 2015 IMD cohort visited RAFT last week. The participants came to Silicon Valley to experience not only the innovation in our region, but to observe how RAFT is included as an example of a Silicon Valley non-profit innovation organization that encourages hands-on learning.
In just two hours, the visitors took a RAFT tour, made and experimented with Puff Rockets, and assembled over 100 Solar Cooker kits and 30 Kumihimo yarn assemblies.
“I’ve been bringing my students to RAFT for five years now and I plan to come back again next year. “ says Jim Pulcrano, Program Organizer.

When you visit RAFT you might see groups just like IMD, corporate volunteering teams, local education organization meetings, and afterschool groups. If you and your organization would like to come visit RAFT, please let us know! Requests can be made to raft@raft.net.