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RAFT focuses on unique learning experiences with Broncos, new pilot

A child learns through a RAFT kit.

A RAFT kit.

RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) Colorado is gaining traction. It recently partnered with the Denver Broncos to create interesting STEM challenges for children, moved to Steele St. and is piloting new programs aimed at creating maker spaces.

"The Tackle STEM program is a partnership between the Denver Broncos and Arrow Electronics with a goal of promoting STEM learning for kids," explains RAFT Colorado Executive Director Stephanie Welsh. The partnership with the Denver Broncos and Arrow engages students with a popular team in Colorado as well as through experiential learning rather than learning via book or lecture.

"They have sponsored three activity kits for us:  the Broncos Blaster, Flick a Field Goal, and Broncos Biomechanics," Welsh says. "We launched these activities at Share Fair Nation held at University of Denver in September, where hundreds of kids had the opportunity to create and play and learn from them, and we now are stocking the kits in our resource center."

The organization also is launching a Mobile Make pilot program in the Spring. Though details on the program are being refined, Welsh says it will take RAFT's resources to students and teachers around Colorado. "The content will focus on making -- we will help libraries and schools learn how easy and inexpensive it can be to set up and run maker spaces and how to maximize the learning that happens within them, by setting up temporary maker spaces for community members to enjoy and then by providing training for teachers and librarians," she explains.

It's an expansion of RAFT Colorado's core, which makes use of donated materials to help advance education for kids. The materials can be purchased by schools or teachers for their own in-class projects. "These donations are the most helpful for us because, in addition to the higher volume, we receive large quantities of the same item, which is helpful for teachers who need enough materials for all of their students, and for us when we are assembling hundreds of money- and time-saving educational activity kits," Welsh explains.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Chris Meehan.

Chris is a Denver-based freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. He covers sustainability, social issues and other topics.
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