5th Grade Science — Ecosystems

Earlier this spring, fifth grade students learned about biomes and had to recreate a biome of their choice.

They did these at home while the class worked on a PBL project (Project Based Learning) on Ecosystems in the classroom. Some students chose biomes based on what they worked on in class, while others created something completely different.

They had to include five animals, from carnivore to decomposers, three plants, and were encouraged to be as creative as possible.

5th Grade Learning About Real World Jobs

Back in May, a student’s dad visited the fifth grade class to talk about his jobs.  He’s both a mechanical engineer and a pilot in the Air Force Reserves. This was in line with a science unit the class did earlier in the year about force and motion.

He works for Snap-on Tools as well as serving in the AF Reserves flying the C-130.  He brought components he helps design for Snap-on and talked about how he became both a pilot and a mechanical engineer.

The kids were really impressed and asked great questions.

Living History Museum 2018

Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure and not only presented information about that person, but dressed like them as well. They essentially became that historical figure.

For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit. Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived.  Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.

Checking in on 1st Grade Fairy Houses

First graders have been working on their fairy houses in The Outdoor Learning Center busily since school started this year.  This ongoing project affords rich educational opportunities for these young students.

Imaginative play, self-directed skill building, sharing spaces and cooperation, engineering and construction, are just some examples. Plus, Ms. Emily is always sure to include science as part of the exploration.

This spring these students have been learning about Earth materials. They have used the opportunity to go to the woods check on and repair their fairy houses.  Students are finding granite to use as countertops and floors. They have also found interesting organisms like gobs of slime growing on sticks.

3rd Grade Science — Life Cycle of Plants

Recently, third grade students learned about the life cycles and needs of plants. While working in the garden, students excitedly learned about a larval insect they discovered while digging.

Gardening engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn. Plus, it’s really fun!

 

All About Bugs in 2nd Grade

Second grade teacher at The Learning Center Charter School, Stephanie Hopper, wrapped up a cross curricular unit on insects with her class earlier this month. Found online, Eddie the Entomologist sent the class friendly letters each day that included clues. Using the clues, the students then guessed what creature was the bug of the day.

Hopper was able to bridge the study of insects across all subjects in her class. In science, students learned about insect life cycles. Numerous books and interactive online reading texts were used by students for research and reading comprehension.  Plus, the daily letters from Eddie allowed the class to review and reinforce what they had previously learned about the composition of friendly letters.

In math, students used measurement standards to compare different types of insects as well as jumping distances.  Additionally, students put their STEM skills to use when tasked with designing and building their own insects.

Plus, these industrious second grade students wrote acrostic poems using descriptive words to describe insects, wrote a sequence paper on the life cycle of an insect, made terrariums with appropriate habitats for insects to live and did a drawing activity where they were guided, step-by-step to draw, label and color a realistic bumble bee and butterfly.

At the end of the all encompassing insect unit, students earned an “Entomologist Expert” badge from Eddie.

Hopper said, “These students could hardly wait each day to read the letter from Eddie and use the clues to figure out the bug of the day. Using their excitement about bugs across all of our studies engaged them thoroughly in each subject.”

5th Grade Students Enjoy Muddy Sneakers® Expedition

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!”

Innovation Tech Camp Set – June 11-14

The Learning Center Charter School is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Innovation Tech Camp for rising sixth through twelfth graders. For four days, from June 11-14, Innovation Tech Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning. They will use emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, and computer programming in a fun and challenging environment.

Innovation Tech Camp was co-founded by California based Debby and Steve Kurti who like to inspire a new generation of tinkerers, explorers and innovators. Originally from Franklin, Steve and his wife have hosted the camp here in Murphy since 2014.

Each year students at the camp are presented with a complex fictional scenario. The group is then placed onto varying teams to ultimately solve the problem by designing equipment, programming robots, 3D printing components and navigating a solution through trial and error.

“We create challenges worthy of their intellect with tools powerful enough to hold their attention,” said Debby Kurti. “This is the best experience to jumpstart your teen’s curiosity and technical skill.”

Innovation Tech Camp is part of the Kurti’s nonprofit organization called Curious Student Foundation.  The Foundation helps provide scholarships for kids eager to attend camp.  The Curious Student Foundation never turns away kids that cannot pay. In fact, about 50% of students at the Murphy based camp receive funding each year through their scholarship program.

To learn more about Innovation Tech Camp set for June 11-14, 2018, visit www.naturallygrownkids.org/innovation-tech-camp.   You may register online at that address. Feel free to call 835-7240 to find out more and inquire about scholarship opportunities.

Our Own Winter Olympics

The official 2018 Winter Olympics have long been over but not so in the minds of students at The Learning Center Charter School. That’s because students studied, crafted, planned and participated in their own Olympic Games back in February.

Over the course of three weeks, students studied the history of the Olympics, studied Geography when choosing countries to represent, and got up close and personal with the science behind bobsleds as they engineered and constructed their own. The brainchild of PE teacher, Shelley Dockery, the Olympic Games engaged students so much so that many teams participated in after school work sessions.

The Olympic Games began with the running and lighting of the torch followed by a parade of athletes around the school.  Second graders took turns relaying the torch and two kids from the class that consistently display exemplary character and sportsmanship had the honor of placing the torch in the cauldron. Third graders created an Olympic ring banner that was carried behind the torch. Fourth through eighth graders divided into teams representing nine countries that proudly displayed their flags and native costumes during the parade. Kindergarten and first graders cheered and waved flags during the parade. As the parade approached the gym, each country was announced to a panel of Learning Center alumni judges who decided “Best in Show.” The entire school was present to watch the bobsled and curling competitions while iceless dancing, biathlon and speed skating competitions were performed the following day during PE classes.

“Students took real ownership of the Olympic Games,” said Dockery. “This has been the best, most productive, 100% participation STEAM PE project yet!”

The acronym, STEAM, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Agriculture, and Math.

Dome Theater Recap

The Dome Theater visited our campus on March 6, 2018. The Dome Theater is much more than a traveling planetarium. Developed by Rice University, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and supported by NASA, the Dome Theater is 16ft x 16ft wide and reaches 10ft tall.

Traveling all over the nation, this interactive giant features highly innovative, educational and entertaining programs.

All students viewed hour long educational Dome Theater programming during the school day.

Students and staff enjoyed having the Dome Theater on campus!

Thank you to PI (Parents Involved) for making this event possible.