Sixth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School adopted not one, but two endangered species as part of a broader Project Based Learning (PBL) project in science class.
PBL projects are part of the regular approach to learning at the charter school. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to authentic, complex questions, problems or challenges.
In this instance, students tackled not only learning about specific animal species and all the science related to that task, but also the ecological, environmental, economic and social circumstances that are threatening the existence of the species. They gained insight and understanding of the fact that it is not as easy as it may seem to change the factors threatening animals.
These students learned about and found ways to help endangered species across the globe. They researched various animals, narrowed down their choices, and came up with ideas to raise money to help their selected species. The students finalized their plans and raised enough money to symbolically adopt both a polar bear and a Sumatran rhinoceros.
Jessie Karagenes, sixth grade science teacher at the school, said, “These students have diligently worked through the standards in this science unit.” Karagenes went on to explain that the connections these students made to one of several 21st century skills that the school stresses, thinking globally, made this project even more impactful for the class.
Recently, kindergarten students spent time making art as part of their social studies lesson on Africa. Working across the subjects in this manner develops a deeper and wider understanding of the subject at hand. The students loved learning about the geography, animals, food and culture found in Africa.
Kindergarten teachers, Ms. Stephanie and Ms. Monica, take their students outdoors as often as possible. Being outside engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn.
You might remember that Kindergarten students are cooking their way around the world (click here to read more.)
Their social studies continued recently and the next stop was Asia. The students learned about the Philippines and how to make spring rolls with the help of an awesome parent volunteer.
In addition to cooking and eating, the kids had the chance to ask questions and found out many facts about the continent of Asia. They were especially surprised to learn that in Philippines, if someone knocks at your door, they must be invited in and given coffee or tea. In fact, if it’s meal time it is expected that they will join you.
Earlier in the school year, seventh graders worked a project based learning project (PBL) to discover how the systems in the human body work together. Students were tasked with creating a life size diagram of the human body-illustrating three of the systems. Additionally, students created multimedia presentations to explain how the systems of the body function together.
Second graders spent a week completing a cross curricular unit where they learned the history of US Presidents. Through the use of technology, literature and writing, students completed many activities learning about our presidents. The students completed a Lapbooks project to go along with their studies.
Recently students in second grade learned about the Lunar Calendar and the celebration of Chinese New Year. The class used technology with interactive activities, crafts and literature to learn about why and where this celebration happens.
Students also had an interactive experience as they “visited” China through the use of technology. They were able to experience the culture and customs and traditions that surround the celebration.
Students at The Learning Center Charter School recently held the first of two annual mini malls on campus. This popular event is made possible through a program called Middle REAL.
Offered to 5th through 8th graders, Middle REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) provides curricula, training and resources to help rural students grow through hands-on entrepreneurship education and small business creation. The school also has a Mini REAL program that serves kindergarten through 4th graders. Both programs are a part of the North Carolina REAL program which is dedicated to helping bring entrepreneurship and small business creation to our state.
The Mini and Middle REAL programs work together to hold two annual Mini Malls, an event that has students in kindergarten through fourth grades “shopping” at the Mini Mall with “bucks” they’ve earned in their classroom throughout the school year. Middle school students are responsible for creating all the goods and services available at the Mini Mall. These students create their business from the ground up doing everything from business plans, market surveys, and product design. For the first time this year, students even made video commercials advertising their business.
“This Mini Mall saw everything from popcorn and juice for sale to rented time enjoying a virtual reality machine,” said school Director, Mary Jo Dyre. “Although the day of the event was very much fun and games, the skills these students learned creating their businesses are valuable and will serve them for years to come.”
You can find out more about the REAL Entrepreneurship program at www.ncreal.org.
There are four students participating in a regional competition called Envirothon today. Envirothon’s goal is to teach students about wildlife, aquatics, soil, forestry, and current events involving the environment. The students started preparing for the event in October and started the Envirothon elective in January.
These photos show the students completeing a training day in Waynesville on February 1, 2018.
At today’s competition, if they place in the top three, they will go on to compete in the state competition. Good luck students!