1st Grade STEM — Bears!

First grade teacher, Ms. Katie Beaver, and elementary science teacher, Ms. Emily collaborated on a huge ecosystem unit that covered deciduous forests, rainforests, and coral reefs.  In addition to covering an entire wall with trees to represent deciduous trees found in each season, students also were given a STEM activity where they created bear caves for the bears to hibernate in using nothing but marshmallows and toothpicks to engineer their designs.
Each student was given 10 marshmallows and 15 toothpicks. The students were instructed to use these materials to build a bear cave (shelter). The shelter needed to fit a paper bear that was about  4 inches wide and 3 inches tall.

Additionally, students delved further into their studies by designing and constructing underground burrows by connecting small paper bags to model beneath the ground shelters of animals in the deciduous forest.

1st Grade — All About Birds

First grade students recently spent time studying birds across the curriculum. Their bird STEM project incorporated reading, math, writing and a hands-on art project.

The students studied and gathered information about six different types of birds — Penguins, Eastern Blue Birds, Birds of Paradise, Hummingbirds, Golden  Finches, and Blue Jays. They learned how to draw and label diagrams with specific bird body parts/ field marks, create graphic organizers of bird facts, use bullets to organize and record data, write detailed sentences of bird facts, and use a ruler to measure the actual height of each bird.

To gather this information, the class read non-fiction books and read online articles about each of the six birds during Guided Reading.

The students also made suet feeders out of peanut butter, seeds, and dried corn.  Student especially liked gathering sticks from The Outdoor Learning Center to serve as a perch for birds at their feeders.

Speaking of School Maker Faire . . .

The last post was a recap of this year’s awesome School Maker Faire that we hosted on March 14th. Did you know that in the weeks and months leading up to the School Maker Faire our students eagerly work on all sorts of projects that they plan to display at the Faire?

From the very first day of school, teachers and staff remind students of all the ways that they can participate in our annual School Maker Faire. Whether it be with the costume they craft for our Halloween Monster Makers event to a project that sparked their imagination as part of their course work, students are encouraged to always be looking forward to School Maker Faire.

These photos are all of the second grade students busily working on their patriotic themed School Maker Faire projects in the weeks leading up to the Faire.  Hopefully while you were on campus you swung by the classroom and checked them out.

Scenes from Our 4th Annual School Maker Faire

The Learning Center Charter School celebrated making of all kinds at our 4th annual School Maker Faire on Thursday, March 14 from 3:30 – 6:30. Imagine a science fair, craft show, tech conference, and county fair, all rolled into one and you can picture a School Maker Faire.

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

A special thank you to our wonderful community of Makers that made this event possible. The School Maker Faire proved to be an inspiring and educational evening for everyone who attended.

5th Grade Science — Catapults to Study Force and Motion

Fifth graders have recently learned about force and motion as part of their science studies. They have learned about trebuchets, catapults, and balistas.

The students were tasked with researching each of these launching devices and then designing their own.  They then build prototypes of their designs using popsicle sticks, straws, rubber bands, hot glue, tape, cardstock, and coffee stirrers.

Some realized their original designs would not give them the momentum needed to  effectively launch their items, so these students immediately started adjusting their original design. Ms. Jay commented that watching the students go through the problem solving process of trial and error (some as many as five times) and not giving up was fantastic.

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.

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.