You might remember that back in March, Fifth Grade students went on their first Muddy Sneakers Expedition. In May, they had a fantastic time at their final excursion. They went to Fires Creek and studied Aquatic Ecosystems.
They had a blast as it was the perfect time of year to study ecosystems. They saw every stage of a salamanders life cycle, a couple types of snakes, and found out how to check water pollution by investigating bug life in the water and so much more.
According to teacher, Ms. Jay, “Students absolutely loved this experience!”
In celebration of Earth Day back in April, Tony Ward of Hiawasee River Watershed Coalition (HRWC) guided the studets on a walk of Murphy’s Riverwalk and explained the difference in native and non-native species. Students also explored why it is important for plants to grow on riverbanks to prevent erosion as the kids learned that dirt is the number one polluter in our rivers. Students learned about many local trees and shrubs and how they all had different methods of spreading their seeds.
Making nests, drinking white pine tea and building solar ovens was recently the order of the day for fifth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School. That’s because field educators from Muddy Sneakers® took the class on a two day expedition into the outdoors.
The Muddy Sneakers program exists to enrich the standard course of study through experiential education in an outdoor setting where students connect with the land, become more active, and gain self-confidence while improving science aptitude. Muddy Sneakers began as a pilot program in the spring of 2007 with Brevard and Pisgah Forest Elementary Schools in Transylvania County and has grown each year to now serve 36 schools across 12 counties and 13 school districts in the Carolinas.
Muddy Sneakers Field Instructors, Dana Bradley and Jace Besold, visited the charter school for two days in March. They took students to the Hanging Dog recreation area to learn about energy. They will be back again to teach the 5th graders about both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Fifth grade science teacher at the school, Jay Ward, said, “The students loved the trip not just because it was fun, but because they were divided into small groups and were really able to focus on what the instructors were teaching. I loved seeing the kids so involved with the activities and enjoying the outdoors. They really did get muddy sneakers!”
This September, Learning Center charter school 6th-8th grade students embarked on a two night, three day camping trip to explore Cherokee history and the great outdoors. While camping in the Deep Creek area, students explored their surroundings in a variety of different ways.
Students enjoyed a horseback ride through a wooded trail and were able to learn about local flora and fauna. They were taught the basics of horseback safety while exploring the incredible biodiversity of our mountains.
While at camp, students hiked, waded in the river, found signs of insect and animal life, inspected plants of all kinds, and tried their hand at fishing. In camp, students were taught leave-no-trace ethics and pitched in to set up camp and maintain a safe, clean, and happy community.
The group ventured out of camp to enjoy a hayride and ride the Smoky Mountain Railroad Steam Train.
While students can learn many things on our campus, we know the world waiting outside offers even more opportunity for rich, engaging, educational experience. Each Fall, students in 6th through 8th grades have the opportunity to go camping as a group. They enjoy the outdoors, learn a little bit about nature, cook on a campfire and share experiences and stories with their classmates in a new setting. This year’s trip promises to be a great one! Make sure your student is signed up before September 15th!
They should have come home with the above form. If not, you can print this one or pick one up in the front office. Your student won’t want to miss it!
This September, Learning Center 6th – 8th grade students embarked on a two night, three day camping trip to explore Cherokee history and the great outdoors. While camping in the Smokemont area of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, students explored the area in a variety of different ways. At the Learning Center, we believe in hands-on education, and there is no better way for our students to learn than to venture out and spark their curiosity.
The wonderful folks at Smokemont Stables led Learning Center students and staff on a four-mile horseback ride through a wooded trail. Students learned about local flora and fauna from helpful and knowledgeable guides. Students were taught the basics of safely riding horseback while exploring the incredible biodiversity of our mountains.
While at camp, students adventured around the Bradley Fork Creek, hiking, wading, looking for signs of insect and animal life, inspecting plants of all kinds, and learning to fly fish. In camp, students were taught leave-no-trace ethics and pitched in to set up camp and maintain a safe, clean, and happy community.
The group ventured out of camp to explore Cherokee and the many educational opportunities it offers. They toured the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, taking in a fascinating history of the tribe from pre-history to the modern era. Students also perused the Qualla Arts & Crafts Center, seeing a variety of local crafts made by Cherokee artisans. The Cherokee visit culminated in a traditional Cherokee-style meal of bean bread and roasted chicken with the fixings, served at the museum.
Our students were also able to take in the history of the pioneer settlers that lived in the area that became the National Park. The Ocunaluftee Visitors Center features a variety of structures that exemplify the types of humble homesteads that dotted these mountains. From the blacksmith shop, to the pig pens, to the dove-tailed log cabins, Leanring Center students got a slice of local history first-hand.
Learning Center students take a camping trip at least once a year. We know that the great outdoors is a great learning experience and we love to see our students get excited about exploring the world around them. Find out more at www.naturallygrownkids.org/what-makes-us-different