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!

 

2nd Graders Become Engineers of Own Parade Floats

Before Thanksgiving break, second graders at The Learning Center Charter School completed a Project Based Learning (PBL) project focused around the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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 an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.

The second graders first learned all about the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Once they had a solid understanding of the historical perspective, students researched past float designs. They were then challenged to design and construct their own balloon floats.

Stephanie Hopper, second grade teacher, said, “These students diligently worked on academic standards that included math, science, social studies and language arts during our Thanksgiving parade PBL project.”  Hopper added that the genius behind PBL is that the students just thought they were having fun.

“The PBL approach ensures that students learn material with both breadth and depth because students are so engaged in what they are doing,” said Hopper.  She added that the PBL approach provides a means for integration across multiple subject areas and allows students to better understand a topic through the physical act of doing.

Upon completion of the project, students shared their work with the entire school by conducting their very own parade across the campus.

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.

Big Buddies

Did you know that fourth graders are teamed up with first graders to be their “Big Buddies?”

They are always happy to get to spend time together.

One this particular day, the fourth graders spent time with their buddies in the woods. The older students helped the younger ones construct and improve upon their fairy houses.