School Maker Faire spotlights makers of all kinds, March 14

This Maker crafted her dress entirely from duct tape!

The Learning Center Charter School is celebrating making of all kinds at their 4th annual School Maker Faire on Thursday, March 14 from 3:30 – 6:30.

Maker Faire, an official brand and trademark for this worldwide phenomenon, is a celebration of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. It’s a place to show what you’ve made and to share what you’ve learned with others.  Schools host Maker Faires because they are a perfect combination of part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new. School Maker Faire exhibitors, or “makers,” are primarily students—either as individuals, clubs, classes or groups. And Maker Faire exhibits can be from any discipline — from science to art to gardening to engineering to craft.

Makers – from Learning Center students to community members – will have booths featuring their own unique Maker project. There will be hands-on activities, demonstrations, and delicious homemade food.

Julie Johnson, organizer for the School Maker Faire, says, “Kids are inherently curious and creative. Given the space and opportunity to build and create, they will and you’ll be amazed at the things they make.”

Johnson added that having makers from the community sharing and interacting with the young people make the event truly special.

The Learning Center is an official host of the fourth annual School Maker Faire open to the Murphy area and is looking for Makers to join the festivities. The event will be held at the school on Thursday, March 14th, from 3:30 – 6:30 pm. Contact The Learning Center for more information and to enter YOUR Maker project at naturallygrownkids.org/school-maker-faire.

Students Go “Robotic”

Kindergarten through eighth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School are no strangers to technology. They regularly use everything from computers to 3D printers. However, students are especially excited to become more familiar with the school’s brand new Sphero Mini robots.

A Sphero Mini is an app-enabled device about the size of a ping pong ball. Students are able to use the Sphero Mini app to draw paths for the robot to follow, write their own JavaScript text programs, and use actions, controls, operators and more to give their robots commands.

Monica Matthews, an Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) licensed educator at the school, loved introducing the robots to her AIG students. They explored how to use drag and drop code to make each robot move in the direction they wanted.  The kindergarten through second grade aged students used the drive function and practiced controlling the robot to knock over mini bowling pins.

“Our Sphero Mini robots provide a toolset that has unlimited potential to weave hardware, software and community engagement together,” said Matthews. She added that while computer coding is a key 21st century skill, the robot and its app go beyond code by incorporating robotics and technology with collaborative STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art and math – activities.

“These robots are proving to be a whole lot of fun and a fantastic tool to nurture students’ imaginations,” said Matthews.  “I look forward to seeing all the creative ways teachers across campus use them in their classrooms.”

Ready for School Maker Faire?

Across the world, Makers are coming together to celebrate the innovation and invention that comes from curiosity and the drive to explore. In gathering both formal and informal, they are coming together to share the love of their DIY, tech-driven passions. Maker Faires occur across the globe.

This year marks our Fourth Annual School Maker Faire!

School Maker Faires are mini versions of the city-wide Maker Faires that happen all over the globe.

As an E-STEAM school that emphasizes learning through doing, we think being part of the Maker Movement is the perfect way to engage and excite our students and larger community, about the world around them.

Mark your calendars for March 14th to join us for our School Maker Faire. Want to showcase your makes?  Click HERE to register!

 

1st Graders Make Airplane Ornaments

Ms. Katie and Ms. Emily collaborated to bring airplanes to young pilot enthusiasts.

They explored biplanes and created Christmas ornaments that clip onto Christmas tree branches. Students designed and decorated colorful biplanes after looking at traditional plane designs.

Students exclaimed this was the best science ever- especially since they will follow up with fairy house building!

Even Our Youngest Students Learn About Engineering

Safety glasses are a must if you are a kindergartener at The Learning Center Charter School. That’s because when learning about the engineering concept of levers, these young students used hammers, nails and bolt cutters.

A lever is a simple machine that makes it easier to lift heavy objects or magnify the force made by our hands alone.

Instructional Technology Director at the school, Franklin Shook, visited the kindergarten class in October to teach students about this engineering concept.  Students learned about levers by making seesaws, using hammers to get nails out of wood and using bolt cutters.

Kindergarten teacher, Stephanie Wilson, said, “Kids are never too young to start learning about engineering.” She added that engineering calls for students to apply what they know about science and math and their learning is enhanced as a result.

“Since engineering activities are based on real-world problems and technologies, they help students see how disciplines like math and science are relevant in their lives,” Wilson added.

Mary Jo Dyre, Executive Director for the school, said, “For many years, we have worked diligently to make our curriculum and campus a STEM environment.”  STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

“It doesn’t surprise me one bit to walk into the kindergarten class on any given day and see them doing these engaging, hands-on activities,” added Dyre.

Students Build Robotic Cars in Tech Ed Elective

Students in sixth through eighth grades at The Learning Center Charter School have a wide variety of electives to choose from each week. This semester one such elective is called “Tech Ed” and involves all things technology, engineering, and making.

Under the supervision of Franklin Shook, Instructional Technology Director for the school, students in this elective have been building robotic cars. They first learned about internal computer hardware components. Then the students spent time dismantling old computer technology to see the similarities in basic components including power supply, control boards and switches.  They have been spending most of their weekly meeting time assembling robotic cars that they will eventually program to perform tasks like driving, object avoidance, responding to a TV remote and line tracing.

Shook plans to teach the group the basic function of everyday items via this hands-on STEM approach through building video games from old computers, 3D printing and additional robotics work.  STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Shook said, “I’m excited to be able to share technology skills with my students. It is fun to be able to watch their excitement as they learn something new.”

Students Use Technology to Celebrate Holidays

Sixth graders at The Learning Center Charter School used state of the art technology to celebrate the holidays.

First, students designed cookie cutters as part of their studies of expanding ratios in math class. Once designed, each student printed their cookie cutter on one of the schools several 3D printers. They used the cookie cutters in salt dough which ultimately became Christmas tree ornaments.

However, the class did not stop there.  Each student also designed and 3D printed unique Christmas ornaments, sharpened their computer programming skills by writing computer code to move a robot along a desired course, and engineered pop-up Christmas cards.

Sixth grade math teacher, Kathleen Shook, said, “At our school we integrate state of the art technology into everything we do. Christmas was no exception.”

Shook added that having the means to take what starts as an idea all the way through to a completed project keeps her students engaged in the standard course of study required by the state but also makes her students thirsty for more.

“Having the technology at our fingertips means that I’m able to cover academic standards with impressive scope,” said Shook.

Shook added that her students are already gearing up with ideas, plans, designs and projects for the school’s fourth annual School Maker Faire scheduled for March 14, 2019.