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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Sixth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School adopted not one, but two endangered species as part of a broader Project Based Learning (PBL) project in science class.
PBL projects are part of the regular approach to learning at the charter school. 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 authentic, complex questions, problems or challenges.
In this instance, students tackled not only learning about specific animal species and all the science related to that task, but also the ecological, environmental, economic and social circumstances that are threatening the existence of the species. They gained insight and understanding of the fact that it is not as easy as it may seem to change the factors threatening animals.
These students learned about and found ways to help endangered species across the globe. They researched various animals, narrowed down their choices, and came up with ideas to raise money to help their selected species. The students finalized their plans and raised enough money to symbolically adopt both a polar bear and a Sumatran rhinoceros.
Jessie Karagenes, sixth grade science teacher at the school, said, “These students have diligently worked through the standards in this science unit.” Karagenes went on to explain that the connections these students made to one of several 21st century skills that the school stresses, thinking globally, made this project even more impactful for the class.
Earlier in the school year, seventh graders worked a project based learning project (PBL) to discover how the systems in the human body work together. Students were tasked with creating a life size diagram of the human body-illustrating three of the systems. Additionally, students created multimedia presentations to explain how the systems of the body function together.
Recently students in second grade learned about the Lunar Calendar and the celebration of Chinese New Year. The class used technology with interactive activities, crafts and literature to learn about why and where this celebration happens.
Students also had an interactive experience as they “visited” China through the use of technology. They were able to experience the culture and customs and traditions that surround the celebration.