7th Grade Social Studies — World War I

Recently, seventh graders were studying World War I.  Here they are seen simulating their version of WWI trench warfare. One group was the Allies, the other the Central Powers. Based upon the rules of their particular game, the Central Powers were victorious in their simulation. The kids loved engaging in this activity and, as a result, understand WWI on a deeper level.

4th Grade – Civil War “Escape Room”

Fourth graders recently had to use their sleuthing skills to help Clara Barton decode and solve clues to help wounded soldiers as part of her historical role during the American Civil War. The lesson was based on the pop culture “escape room” concept.

An escape room is a physical adventure game in which teams of players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to escape a locked room.  Escape rooms have popped up all over the country including in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

2nd Grade — Chinese New Year

On February 5th, students in second grade celebrated Chinese New Year. Students learned about the customs and traditions of the holiday and the importance of the celebration in China. They also learned about the lunar calendar.

The students were able to read books, enjoy interactive parades and make Chinese New Year dragons and lanterns. To end the celebration, the students were able to enjoy traditional Chinese fried rice. The day was loaded with fun and learning.

4th Graders Dive Into History

Fourth grade students recently learned about events leading up to the French and Indian War.  As part of their studies, they were tasked with composing a letter to a friend or family member back home describing their circumstances and environment as a soldier in the war.  The students then tea stained the parchment paper and sealed the envelope with a wax seal.  Their teacher, Ms. Carrie, said it was so interesting to hear the detail that students included in their letters. It was clear to her that the letter writing process caused her students to become invested in the history and understand it on a deeper level.

6th-8th Grade Annual Fall Camping Trip

On September 26-28, Learning Center charter school 6th – 8th grade students embarked on what they wanted to be their annual fall camping trip to explore Great Smoky Mountain National Park. However, they got rained out and came up with alternative ways to explore the park.

Instead of camping as originally planned, students stayed at the bunkhouse at Wildwater Outdoor Center. They visited Occunaluftee Indian Village as well as the Mountain Farm Village.

The group ventured into the town of Cherokee where they had lunch at Newfound Lodge and enjoyed eating a traditional Cherokee meal. Students also stopped at Nantahala Outdoor Center where they played in the Treetop Adventure Playground and waded into the river.

“Camping is an annual event for our 6th-8th graders where our students get to share experiences and stories with their classmates in a new setting,” said Mary Jo Dyre, Executive Director of the school.  “Although this year’s weather didn’t allow for camping, our students got to experience our mountain region in brand new ways.”

Dyre added, “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.”

1st & 2nd Grades Visit Murphy Mayor

Back in October, students in first and second grade visited the Mayor of Murphy, Mr. Ramsey. They got to tour his offices and ask all sorts of questions about what a mayor does on a daily basis. Learning about roles within a community are important academic standards for these young students and visiting Mayor Ramsey cemented in their minds the importance of the job. Thank you Mayor Ramsey!

2nd Grade’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Before Thanksgiving, second graders completed a STEM project where they learned to design and build their own balloon floats.

Students learned all about the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They learned about the beginnings in 1924 all they way up to the present day parade through an amazing book, Balloons Over Broadway, by Melissa Street.

Afterwards, students were challenged to design and construct their own Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. Students were allowed to share their hard work by celebrating with a second grade parade. Students marched around the school and visited all of the classrooms to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

4th Grade E-STEAM focused on Social Studies & Science– Harvesting Seed Beads

Recently, fourth grade teacher, Carrie Dyer, and elementary science teacher, Emily Willey, collaborated on Native American science and social studies E-STEAM project.

Students learned in science that technology evolves with society and that technology is anything or system that makes a process easier. Student went out into the school gardens and harvested seed bead plant, a plant that produces a little seeds with a natural hole through them that native Americans often used to make jewelry. The plant is technically a native from Africa but has been used in America for many years.

The students were challenged to see how many they could collect in a certain amount of time. It was interesting to watch the students process in gathering change. Some students quietly sat and picked the seed off the plant. Others picked up seeds that had dropped from the pile of plants pulled from the ground. Finally one group decided to start whacking their plant on the ground to knock the seeds off and collect them. Ms. Emily told that they basically had discovered the threshing of grains.  The class discussed how indigenous peoples harvested grains and had to thrash the plants to get the seed off of the plant.  They further discussed other systems of production and how need for survival encourages the development of technology. Students then worked with Ms. Carrie to incorporate the seed beads into a Native American project that tied in with their social studies standards.