6th Grade STEM — Learning About Pollination


Sixth graders have been learning about pollination. They listened to a presentation by a special USDA representative about what pollination is and why it is so important.   2017091395132355

Students learned how pollinators are an essential link in agriculture. Animal pollinators, especially bees, are critical for producing more than one-third of U.S. food products. In addition to bees, other pollinators, including butterflies and moths, beetles, flies, wasps, birds, and bats are necessary for pollinating more than 80% of plants in nature.


In addition to what the class learned in the presentation, they have gone on to build their own 3D models of pollinators based on what traits an efficient pollinator needs.

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SolarFest Celebrated Total Eclipse of the Sun on August 21, 2017


As educators, we know that learning by doing is the best teacher. The total solar eclipse that happened on August 21, 2017 gave us the incredible, rare opportunity to bring our Community of Learners together to witness the awesome effects of planetary motion! How could we pass that up?

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SolarFest brought us together to witness the total solar eclipse and to learn new things in the process. Our educational booths taught us about the science behind an eclipse, pinhole cameras, and 3D printing. It even allowed the perfect selfie opportunity! Food, crafts and water games added to the festivities. It was an awesome day!

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You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers — RESCHEDULED FOR SEPT. 8th


Our Director, Mary Jo Dyre, offers Director Under the Tent days as a time where parents can access her without getting an appointment. This is a time where you can ask questions, get involved with volunteer efforts, and begin or continue to better understand the big picture vision of the educational opportunities that we offer on The Learning Center campus. Be sure to stop by the tent on Friday, September 8, 2017 anytime between 7:30am and 4:00pm to ask questions and find out more about all things related to The Learning Center Charter School.

Parent Fair August 17th from 1:30-6pm

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The Learning Center! Charter School invites parents, students and the public to the annual “Parent Fair” event on Thursday, August 17 from 1:30pm – 6:00pm. The event encourages parents of currently enrolled students (as well as parents who are curious) to meet the teachers and learn more about the charter school’s offerings. Parents can inquire about the school’s substantial E-STEAM curriculum and unique electives such as aquaponics, creative writing, cooking, drama, and “Pop Culture Creations,” to name a few. In addition, parents can learn about extra-curricular offerings and excellent school nutrition program that offers free lunch and breakfast funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision.

“We hope to not only provide parents of enrolled students with all the details for the upcoming school year, but also offer parents outside The Learning Center a choice in education,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre. “The Parent Fair is also an opportunity for the public to learn more about our many school activities and resources designed to impact the greater community of learners.”

The Parent Fair will also highlight project-based learning activities that take place in a variety of spaces, both indoor and outdoor, on campus and within the community.

The Learning Center invites parents, students,  and the public to learn more about its unique and varied offerings on Thursday, August 17, from 1:30pm – 6:00pm.

For more information call 828.835.7240 or visit naturallygrownkids.org. Visit the blog (tlcgrowzone.org/blog) and Facebook page (facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage)

The Learning Center! is a tuition free public school. Any student eligible to attend a public school in North Carolina is eligible to attend a charter school in North Carolina.

SolarFest August 20-21, 2017 at The Learning Center! Charter School

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Why Celebrate the Eclipse?

As educators, we know that learning by doing is the best teacher. This incredible, rare event gives us the opportunity to bring our Community of Learners together to witness the awesome effects of planetary motion! How could we pass that up?

We hope SolarFest gives our students and community a memorable, educational, and safe viewing experience!

Our educational booths

3D Printed Pinhole Projectors

Cross-Cultural Constellation Projectors

Solar Selfie Photobomb Booth

  • See a 3D printer make pinhole projectors – we got the design from NASA!

  • see other examples of pinhole cameras, and learn how they use light to capture an image

  • See examples constellations and learn how other cultures name them

  • create your own constellation projector to take home with you!

  • Act out the eclipse with your friends for the best eclipse selfie in town!

  • Sweet costumes will help you make this selfie pop!

Living History Museum


Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure and not only presented information about that person, but dressed like them as well. They essentially became that historical figure.


For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit. Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived.  Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.

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Engineering Camp & Mini Maker Expo Coming Soon!


The Learning Center! in Murphy, NC is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Engineering Camp, for rising sixth graders to twelfth graders. For four days, from July 17-20, from 9am to 4pm, Murphy area Engineering Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning, using emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, programming and physical computing in a fun and challenging environment.

AND, Mini-Maker Expo is Monday, July 17th from 6:00 – 8:30pm at our school and is geared for young inventors and makers from 1st grade through rising 5th graders.  The Murphy Mini-Maker Expo grabs kids by the eyeballs and sucks them into the world of inventing–2017 style!  No boring books or lectures or videos. Kids get their hands on 3D printers, Blinking LED art, and digital design software for making their ideas come to life.

The Mini-Maker Expo is designed as an eye-catching introduction to the world of innovation and inventing.  For two hours, kids are immersed in hands-on simulations designed to spark curiosity.  The energy in the room is crackling with excitement.  Sign up now before the seats are all taken.

Spots are limited, so call The Learning Center! Charter School at 828.835.7240 for more information and sign up your bored teenager now!

Visiting Artist Creates Giant Beetle at Learning Center

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Who knew what an old trampoline, some creativity and old-fashioned know-how could turn into? That’s what 5th grade students at The Learning Center! Charter School were saying after they teamed up with visiting artist, Jeff Menzer.



Asheville based artist, Jeff Menzer, visited the school back in February to plan projects he and students would be implementing on campus this spring. Menzer specializes in creating “Re-Art” Sculpture, figurative sculpture, and environmental installations using found objects and industrial discards.


Menzer worked with the students to brainstorm some ideas for the project with the idea that it would eventually be a bug or insect themed art piece.



Menzer returned to the school recently to turn discarded trampoline parts into art pieces that will become part of the school’s “Outdoor Learning Center” program. The large-scale art piece project serves to involve students in the design process, involve students in collaborative problem-solving of environmental issues through the creative process, and to complete an art piece that has now been permanently installed on campus.



As the trampoline was being taken apart and the parts rearranged, the idea for a beetle began to develop. This concept tied into the 5th grade science ecosystems unit and also the math curriculum as students had to figure out lengths for sections of the beetle structure and the size the beetle needed to be relative to the garden area.

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Each student contributed a name for the beetle sculpture. The two names that were chosen were a common name: The Junkyard Beetle, and the scientific name: Schoolias Beetilus. School director, Mary Jo Dyre has her own nickname for the beetle sculpture. “I like to call it ‘VW.’”