From pencils, paper and paints to activity kits, lessons and professional development.

RAFT leverages community donations and bulk purchasing to offer a wide range of low-cost materials, hands-on teaching tools, and school supplies at our educator resource centers. Our online resources include content to help in the classroom meeting the needs for a wide variety of subjects, standards and curriculum. What are you looking for today?

Resource Center

Our resource center is equipped with a variety of materials and tools to meet your needs.  One such resource is the Green Room, a creative workspace providing RAFT members with equipment, ideas, and expert assistance as well as an opportunity to collaborate and share experience and expertise.  Please note that food and drinks are not permitted in the Green Room or Makerspace, and for safety reasons children under 12 are not allowed in the Green Room.

What’s in the Green Room?

  • Large collection of Ellison dies
  • Paper cutters
  • Embossing and crimping tools
  • Book binding equipment
  • Laminators
  • Button Maker
  • Computer with printer
  • Photocopier

Adjacent to the Green Room is our Makerspace, equipped with a Universal Laser Systems VLS4.60 Platform.  This laser system is a versatile device that can cut, etch, or raster a variety of materials, from plastics and glass to more natural products such as wood, leather, and paper.  Educators must complete RAFT’s Laser Certification Workshop before using the laser system.  See our Calendar for the next available Laser Certification Workshop.

Professional Development for Schools and Organizations

RAFT offers a series of professional development workshops for school and organizations.  Each workshop utilizes our warehouse of bulk materials and learning activities to explore STEM/STEAM topics and design challenges, addressing grade level standards and best practices.  All of our workshops are hands-on and participants leave with plenty of ideas and/or materials for implementation in the classroom.  See descriptions and prices below.

Take a field trip to RAFT!  We have two classrooms and a 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse that can accommodate your next staff training.  Come experience the magic of our warehouse full of bulk materials and be fully engaged in a workshop facilitated by our Learning Engineers.  Can’t make it to RAFT?  Our Learning Engineers can travel to you and bring the joy of hands-on learning to your staff.  NOTE: Prices listed below are for workshops held at RAFT.  Workshops held offsite may be subject to additional fees.

If you are looking for a unique workshop, half or full day staff event, or a series of workshops, we are happy to customize the training to fit the needs of your team.  For more information, email Eric Welker ( or Diana Phuong (

Workshop Descriptions

Mini Design Challenges: 60-90 minutes

Foster creativity with interesting recyclable materials!  Short design challenges can be a great way to engage students, foster creativity, assess understanding and build collaborative skills without a huge investment in planning time.  In this workshop we engage in short challenges, explore materials, their attributes and uses, while discussing the “maker moves” that ensure successful student-led learning experiences.  $250

Integrated STEAM Education: 2-3 hours

This workshop focuses on integrating design challenges into existing or emerging lesson plans so that students will be able to potentially develop solutions to Global Challenges.  Participants engage in a sample NGSS-aligned design challenge and then review key design challenge components using RAFT’s lesson planning resources, after which they dive into planning.  With workshop participants as a forum, we brainstorm ideas, explore materials and share initial plans for feedback.  $350 – $450

STEM Learning Activities: 2-3 hours

Prepackaged STEM activity kits are a great way to design a hands-on lesson, while investigating unpacked science standards (NGSS).  With limited planning, RAFT kits can easily be modified or extended for any learner.  Explore how our kits can become effective engineering challenges, encourage problem solving, creativity, and application of learning.  This is a great way to integrate student-led instruction without exhaustive planning.  $350 – $450

Found Engineering and Materials Management: 1-2 hours

This workshop focuses on organization systems and creative reuse of materials.  This is a great foundation training for any team looking to learn how to use inexpensive common objects to create robust and meaningful hands-on projects.  In addition to exploring material attributes and how to manipulate common materials, we review how to organize and manage materials in the classroom to avoid excessive clutter and clean-up time.  $250 – $350

Create Your Own

Customize the above or contact RAFT to discuss other options including developing maker mindsets, planning STEAM showcases, and community engagement events.


Workshops for Individuals

RAFT offers workshops for individuals that focus on current best practices in hands-on education that directly support teachers and informal educators.  The workshops offered vary in content and skills covered, accommodating a wide range of grades and personal and professional interests.  Examples of topics covered in our individual workshops include electromagnetism, classroom management, science and math activities, laser engraving, and more!  These workshops use a variety of RAFT materials, kits, and other teaching tools to enhance the learning experience.  Participants leave the workshops with items they make and also relevant handouts and supporting documents.  RAFT workshops earn training hours that can be applied towards continuing education units issued through San Jose State University.  See below for workshop descriptions.  For more information, email Eric Welker at or call us at 408.451.1420 ext. 5.

Workshop Descriptions: June 13 – August 31, 2019

Classroom Management: Strategies for Hands-On Activities (2 hours)

Effective classroom management balances student excitement with engagement and ensures that lessons run smoothly, activities are completed on time, and students display positive, respectful behavior.  Participants in this workshop will engage in hands-on activities designed to demonstrate different engagement structures and physical arrangements that allow students to practice collaboration and communication as well as learn content.  Discussions, activities, and reflections will include consistently enforced and clearly-set expectations, rules and routines, praise and rewards, and student roles & responsibilities, all necessary elements of a well-run classroom. NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

Exploring Electromagnetism with Simple Materials (3 hours)

This workshop presents a series of activities intended to teach the fundamental concepts of electromagnetism.  Participants will experience hands-on activities focusing on magnetic polarity, magnetic fields induced by electric currents and their effects on magnetic compasses, and much more!  As participants engage with the activities they will learn important steps in the preparation of the activities for different grades and will also learn and discuss facilitation strategies ideal for certain learners.  This workshop is a must for those curious about electrical or magnetic phenomena and for those who are looking to add more pizzazz to their science teaching!  NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

Facilitation Strategies for Implementing Design Challenges (3 hours)

Many teachers are aware of how powerful a good STEAM curriculum can be in developing problem-solving skills.  One method of creating a quality STEAM curriculum is to include opportunities for students to learn and apply design thinking through challenges that require teamwork and content knowledge from different subject areas.  This teaches students to focus on the end user, leverages collective expertise, employs empathy, fosters iteration through product testing, and creates valuable solutions that solve real-world problems. Workshop participants will learn how to plan and facilitate design challenges by engaging in several mini challenges, discussions, and resource analyses.  They will learn to use RAFT’s simple template and create their own design challenge to use with students.  NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

Laser Certification Workshop (3 hours)

Laser cutting machines help to create many customized items by using laser technology to etch, engrave, and cut through a wide variety of materials.  For example, laser cutters are used to create teaching tools, puzzles, graphic designs, and more.  This beginning course gives participants the knowledge and practice required to safely operate the machine on their own and provides an understanding of the different pieces of hardware and basic design fundamentals through hands-on experience.  Participants will clean, calibrate, and configure the machine for different tasks and materials and also learn to troubleshoot common issues that can occur during use. NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

Laser Engraving with the Rotary Fixture (3 hours)

Laser engraving provides a unique way for people to explore creativity and innovation through designing and processing materials using laser technology.  This workshop provides training and skills required to use the rotary fixture, which allows users to engrave and mark a variety of cylindrical objects such as wine glasses, mugs, cups, paper tubes, and more!  Participants will learn how to reserve, install, adjust and calibrate the rotary fixture, load materials for processing, determine graphic placement, and processing jobs. Prerequisites: To be eligible to sign up for this workshop you must be a current RAFT member AND be laser certified through our Laser Certification Workshop.  THIS CLASS IS FULL

Makerspace Woodworking (4 hours)

Makerspaces are places in which people with shared interests can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.  They include a variety of materials, tools, and equipment intended for users to engage in design thinking and explore creativity.  This workshop focuses on building modular storage and work space solutions out of wood that are ideal for efficiently operating within a makerspace.  Participants will learn to use power tools such as drills, drivers, saws, and common wood shop tools (clamps, squares, levels). Other concepts covered include how to create strength in wooden structures, best practices for woodworking safety, and much more!  NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

Math & Science Activities for Preschool (3 hours)

This workshop will provide the skills and strategies necessary to leverage many science and math RAFT activities in a preschool setting.  Participants will engage in activities involving rolling objects, light, magnets, foam, containers, and other interesting materials to teach science and math concepts.  Concerns, challenges, and solutions will be discussed and shared as well as best practices for working with preschool-age children. Examples of math and science topics addressed include counting, number sense, patterns, magnetic phenomena, properties of light, pushes and pulls, cause and effect, animal attributes, and scientific investigations. NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

RAFT Activity Series: Focus on Upper Level Math (3 hours)

Reusing recyclable materials is the heart of innovation at RAFT.  Over the years RAFT has created hundreds standards-aligned activities that embrace the creative use of materials.  They are meant to serve students in a range of grades depending on the objectives of the teacher. In this workshop participants will learn how to facilitate several hands-on math activities that focus on upper level (grades 6-12) math topics such as quadratic equations, systems of equations, functions, and more!  Many of the activities serve as examples of how to apply math concepts in different contexts.  Participants will be able to modify the activities to address grade-specific standards and learning objectives. NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

RAFT Activity Series: Focus on Upper Level Science (3 hours)

Reusing recyclable materials is the heart of innovation at RAFT.  Over the years RAFT has created hundreds standards-aligned hands-on activities that embrace the creative use of materials.  They are meant to serve students in a range of grades depending on the objectives of the teacher. In this workshop participants will learn how to facilitate a variety of science activities that focus on upper level (grades 6-12) science topics such as conservation of energy, forces and motion, biodiversity, heredity, the solar system and more!  Participants will be able to modify the activities to address grade-specific standards and learning objectives. NO MORE CLASSES AVAILABLE THIS TERM

Science Activities for the Non-Scientist (3 hours)

Are you intrigued by science but also intimidated by it?  Have you been asked to teach science for the first time but do not have the background?  Do you want to explore more science topics with your own children? Perhaps you need a brief science refresher course.  Then come and learn how to do simple science activities using common materials such as straws, bottles, magnets, UV light, dry ice, and much more!  You will explore Newton’s Laws, tinker with air pressure, levitate magnets, conduct simple investigations and learn how to conduct a variety of cool activities that are sure to give kids that “wow” factor.  Best of all, you will learn the science behind the activities presented. This workshop is ideal for K-5 teachers, homeschooling parents, scout leaders, summer or after-school program staff, and anyone interested in making science more accessible to young learners.  Available classes: AUGUST 24

Visit our San Jose location to shop in store!

A RAFT membership is required in order to shop at our resource center.

No Time to Shop In Store?

No problem.  Check out our online store and get the supplies you need at a price you can manage now.

RAFT San Jose

1355 Ridder Park Drive
San Jose, CA 95131

Shopping Hours

Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Thursday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Friday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Phone & Email

General Questions: (408) 451-1420,
Membership: (408) 213-7216,
Workshops: (408) 451-1421,
Material Donations:
Retail: (408) 451-3853

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