Session E: Welcome to RAFT

After a colourful culmination of dropping, squeezing and launching paint balloons in Session D, the Project Ember team also had an action-packed weekend; saying a fond farewell to our friends at Black Pine Circle and relocating our program to our new day camp space at RAFT (Resource Area For Teachers) in San Jose.

For those unfamiliar with RAFT, they are a non-profit organisation who are on a mission to promote more hands-on, project-based learning in classrooms; providing ideas, materials and activity kits, as well as professional development programs, for teachers and schools. Our two weeks in San Jose are running simultaneously with RAFT's EduCamp program, so you might see some eager educators coming to view our project as it evolves.

Our team has also grown significantly this week, with three new Junior Collaborators joining the Project Ember family for our two weeks here at RAFT. At 15-16 years of age, Anna, Alex and Addison have experience beyond their years; competent makers with excellent problem-solving and communication skills. We are thrilled to be gaining their insights, enthusiasm and intuitive interpersonal connections.

We are excited to welcome Anna, Alex and Addison to Project Ember (and they seem pretty happy about it too!)

The first day of camp is always an exciting one; it's where we meet and make new friends and learn how to use new tools and equipment safely...

Day one also means project announcement. Here at Project Ember HQ, we have been eagerly awaiting this one - A DRIVE-THROUGH CAR WASH! We are particularly excited by the opportunity this project poses to fully immerse our campers creativity and imagination, and we have the added bonus of accessing some unusual materials and recycled products from RAFT's warehouse and resource centre. 

We initially split into two main groups, with campers following their own personal interests; either engineering the car and track or creating car cleaning contraptions. A productive design session ensued, with the car and track team (consisting of Cory, Devran, Evan, Lucas A and Yildiz) devising ambitious plans to recreate a gull-winged Tesla!

The Tesla Team come to an exciting agreement on the design of the car and track

The (rather large) car wash contraption team divided in order to conquer. Asha, Ella and Zach took on the challenge of creating a soaper-upper; with long, dangling, octopus-esq tentacles, it is excitingly and affectionately known as the 'Floptopus'! The next stage in the car wash conveyor belt is actually cleaning the car, for which Alyssa, Lavanya, Michael, Sophie and Varun are designing a series of spinning rollers to scrub and rinse (look out for a potential water jet system!) And finally, Logan and Lucas B are excited to be working on a drying system.