Engineering Camp & Mini Maker Expo Coming Soon!

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.’”

Are you part of the Green & Clean Crew?

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Our school Green & Clean Crew is responsible for keeping our grounds looking beautiful. If you like getting your hands dirty, or finding an excuse to be outdoors on a beautiful day, we have a job for you! Contact the office and find out how you can become part of this “growing” group.

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Have Bored Teenagers at Home This Summer?

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The Learning Center! Charter School has discovered the secret weapon for teen inventors that’s catching on across the country. Four years ago, the school teamed-up with California based high-tech education company, Table Top Inventing to challenge area students with hands-on experiences in emerging technologies. The company’s traveling science workshops, called Engineering Camp, is the brain-child ofTable Top Inventing founder and CEO, Steve Kurti, who grew up in and around Murphy and Franklin, NC.

Each year, The Learning Center! partners with Table Top Inventing as part of the school’s themed summer enrichment offerings.Engineering Camp is designed to challenge students and inspire a generation of kids to be tinkerers, explorers, innovators, and deep thinkers.

According to Table Top Inventing, “Teens that join Engineering Camp develop the tools to thrive in a challenging environment. Some of our past campers, who had never been exposed to engineering, ended up pursuing degrees in STEM-related fields after attending. Hands-on experience, team-building exercises, fun and challenging environments — Engineering Camp has it all.”

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.

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

For more about The Learning Center!, visit naturallygrownkids.org

The Celtic Company Concert

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On April 3, 2017, The Celtic Company with Susan Clearman performed traditional Celtic music for all students at The Learning Center. John Maschinot played the uillean pipes.  They are smaller than the great Highland pipes and powered by a bellows operated by the player’s arm. Susan played the accordion and Evan Kenney played guitar and banjo. They performed with singer/step-dancer Olivia Bradley who performed traditional Irish dance as well as played the bodhran, the traditional Celtic hand drum.

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The authentic, traditional music was available to our students thanks to the Brasstown Concert Association and the Jackie Ward Foundation. Students couldn’t help but to tap their feet and clap along to the wonderful Irish singing and dance!

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Fire Department Visits Kindergarten and First Grades

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Before school let out for summer break, Mr. Cody from Murphy Fire Department came and talked to students in kindergarten and first grades about fire safety. Students learned what an important role the firemen play in our community. Each student got to try on equipment and squirt the hose. Thank you Murphy Fire Department for this special and informative visit!

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Coleman is Learning Center’s Aquaponics Man

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Local aquaponics enthusiast, Bill Coleman shares his passion for the agricultural technique with middle school students at The Learning Center! Charter School. He talks excitedly about the potential aquaponics has to produce sustainable food anywhere – even on rooftops.

He explains that aquaponics is the marriage between aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). It is an integrated system for farming fish and plants together in a mutually beneficial cycle. The fish, kept in tanks, produce waste that supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water that is returned to the fish. The two systems benefit from each other. A third actor is the bacteria that converts the ammonia from the fish waste – first into nitrites, then into nitrates – that feed the plants. “Did you know,” Coleman excitedly asks, “that aquaponics requires only one-tenth the water of soil-based gardening?”

Coleman, a parent of former students at the school, got interested in aquaponics around four years ago – “quite by accident,” he adds – and experimented and perfected his own system. He decided to offer his volunteer efforts long-term to an “Aquaponics Elective” course at The Learning Center. He teaches a two-hour course every Friday for 6th 7th and 8th graders.

Coleman began by building the components, fashioning the tanks and perfecting the sump that is at the center of success of aquaponics design. Over time, the design went from 4 sq.ft. of growing area to about 120 sq. ft. “There were challenges that took months to iron out, including issues with water leakage,” said Coleman. “The whole process was two steps forward and one step back. The students, however, never faltered and we learned a great deal along the way.”

In this student run aquaponics system, one of many goals is to provide fresh, organic food that will be used in the school kitchen. “We have grown lettuce, broccoli, kale, peppers, arugula and more,” said Coleman. Students are learning the science of agriculture, botany, engineering skills and building techniques.

“We are excited about the community involvement in this important project,” said Coleman.” Materials were donated from local stores such as Lowe’s, TEAM Industries, Wilson’s, Hughes Electric, and from individuals just wanting to help the with the project.

If you would like to get involved in the aquaponics project at The Learning Center, or just discuss aquaponics and compare notes, contact Bill Coleman through the school at 828-835-7240.

Community Members Visit Kindergarten

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Recently, Dr. Mitchell and student Dr. Noah visited the kindergarten class to talk about what they do as doctors and working in the community. Students got a chance to ask them questions and listen to their heartbeat. Kindergarten sends a special thank you to both visitors!

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Visiting Artist Plans Recycled Art Project for Campus Gardens

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Back in March, Ashevile based artist, Jeff Menzer, visited The Learning Center to plan projects he and students will be implementing on campus this spring. Mr. Menzer specializes in creating “Re-Art” Sculpture, figurative sculpture, and environmental installations using found objects and industrial discards.  This spring he will work with our students to turn discarded trampoline parts into art pieces that will become part of The Outdoor Learning Center.

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This 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 two art sculptures, one a shelter and one large bug, that will be permanently installed on campus.