2nd Grade STEM Bins

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Second graders were recently introduced to STEM Bins, a hands-on form of engineering for elementary students. STEM Bins contain a large variety of materials.  When a student opens the bin and sees the contents he or she is encouraged to think imaginatively.  Students have the chance to design and build real world things such as working tools, bridges, mazes or traps.  However, they can also design something the world has never seen before.  STEM Bins promote creativity and engineering by using 2D and 3D shapes, lines, and angles.
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As the second graders were introduced to STEM Bins, they worked together collaboratively as they thought about what to build as well as when they improved upon designs together as their structures took shape.

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Second graders will continue to use STEM Bins throughout the school year.

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SolarFest Celebrated Total Eclipse of the Sun on August 21, 2017

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As educators, we know that learning by doing is the best teacher. The total solar eclipse that happened on August 21, 2017 gave us the incredible, rare opportunity to bring our Community of Learners together to witness the awesome effects of planetary motion! How could we pass that up?

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SolarFest brought us together to witness the total solar eclipse and to learn new things in the process. Our educational booths taught us about the science behind an eclipse, pinhole cameras, and 3D printing. It even allowed the perfect selfie opportunity! Food, crafts and water games added to the festivities. It was an awesome day!

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Retro Gaming Elective Needs Repurposed Computers

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If you were a kid growing up in the 1980s, you might remember playing video games like Asteroids, Pac-Man, Pong and Space Invaders. Kids today at The Learning Center! Charter School will have the chance to venture back to the 80s with a new retro gaming elective.

This new elective will require students to do more than play retro video game classics — they will be building the actual gaming consoles. The elective is led by IT director, Franklin Shook who joins The Learning Center from Western Carolina University. Under Shook’s direction, students will rebuild old, donated computers to house a console for retro games.

Over the course of this elective, eight students will learn the basics of computer hardware, setup and troubleshooting, installing open source software, and repurposing otherwise obsolete technology.

Shook, who provides technology training for teachers, was asked to teach a computer building class for students. Said Shook about the elective, “I thought the gaming aspect would be an interesting addition for students to take home with them.” Shook is currently finishing his Masters degree in Library Science through East Carolina University.

If you would like to donate an old computer for this elective, contact Franklin Shook at The Learning Center at 828.835.7240 or email at tech@naturallygrownkids.org

As Seen in the Cherokee Scout: Tuition-free Public Charter School Offers Rich Program Across All Districts

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Murphy – The Learning Center, a tuition-free public charter school, continues to break ground with high-quality offerings in 21st century education. On-going facility improvements – including a newly renovated dining commons – are designed for rich academic opportunities on this “future-ready” campus.

The Learning Center! offers an E-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts/Agriculture, and Math) learning environment. The school’s education philosophy includes the belief that all young learners have the right to experience a broad, rich, and rigorous range of academics during the formative K-8 years. Additionally, the school offers an award-winning nutrition program, daily P.E., unique electives and extra-curricular opportunities. The school’s emphasis on healthy living, community involvement and high academic standards is designed to produce future-ready citizens. This tuition-free public charter school (K-8th) has NO district restrictions and accepts students across all counties.

The Learning Center’s Montessori Blend Kindergarten program has proven to be a strong approach to instruction for even the youngest learners. “We’ve had consistent success with the feeder Montessori Program that is located on our school campus,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre.

The school’s “Above and Beyond” programs include Compacted Math classes for gifted students, Flexible Grouping in Math, K-4 chorus and a highly developed drama program. The upper grade’s CREW Program, in its second year of operation, promotes character development, goal setting and responsible behaviors.

More extras including National Honor Society, Odyssey of the Mind teams, “Academics and the Arts” artists-in-residency program, “Mini and Middle REAL” young entrepreneur program and Writers Club provide students with the opportunities to become all they can be.

Designated as a “USDA Healthier U.S. School” (Silver Level), The Learning Center! places a strong emphasis on its nutrition and exercise programs. The school also has a free breakfast and lunch program available for ALL students.

The Learning Center! serves approximately 200+ students and is open to both in and out-of-county students. There is no tuition for grades K through 8th. The school also features a Montessori private preschool, serving ages 3-5 years. After School programs are available for all ages. Summer Enrichment Programs such as “Engineering Camp” and Intervention programs are also offered.

For more information or to schedule a tour, call 828.835.7240. Visit www.naturallygrownkids.org, their blog (tlcgrowzone.org/blog) and FaceBook page (facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage).

SolarFest August 20-21, 2017 at The Learning Center! Charter School

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Why Celebrate the Eclipse?

As educators, we know that learning by doing is the best teacher. This incredible, rare event gives us the opportunity to bring our Community of Learners together to witness the awesome effects of planetary motion! How could we pass that up?

We hope SolarFest gives our students and community a memorable, educational, and safe viewing experience!

Our educational booths

3D Printed Pinhole Projectors

Cross-Cultural Constellation Projectors

Solar Selfie Photobomb Booth

  • See a 3D printer make pinhole projectors – we got the design from NASA!

  • see other examples of pinhole cameras, and learn how they use light to capture an image

  • See examples constellations and learn how other cultures name them

  • create your own constellation projector to take home with you!

  • Act out the eclipse with your friends for the best eclipse selfie in town!

  • Sweet costumes will help you make this selfie pop!

Engineering Camp & Mini Maker Expo Coming Soon!

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The Learning Center! in Murphy, NC is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Engineering Camp, for rising sixth graders to twelfth graders. For four days, from July 17-20, from 9am to 4pm, Murphy area Engineering Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning, using emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, programming and physical computing in a fun and challenging environment.

AND, Mini-Maker Expo is Monday, July 17th from 6:00 – 8:30pm at our school and is geared for young inventors and makers from 1st grade through rising 5th graders.  The Murphy Mini-Maker Expo grabs kids by the eyeballs and sucks them into the world of inventing–2017 style!  No boring books or lectures or videos. Kids get their hands on 3D printers, Blinking LED art, and digital design software for making their ideas come to life.

The Mini-Maker Expo is designed as an eye-catching introduction to the world of innovation and inventing.  For two hours, kids are immersed in hands-on simulations designed to spark curiosity.  The energy in the room is crackling with excitement.  Sign up now before the seats are all taken.

Spots are limited, so call The Learning Center! Charter School at 828.835.7240 for more information and sign up your bored teenager now!

Have Bored Teenagers at Home This Summer?

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The Learning Center! Charter School has discovered the secret weapon for teen inventors that’s catching on across the country. Four years ago, the school teamed-up with California based high-tech education company, Table Top Inventing to challenge area students with hands-on experiences in emerging technologies. The company’s traveling science workshops, called Engineering Camp, is the brain-child ofTable Top Inventing founder and CEO, Steve Kurti, who grew up in and around Murphy and Franklin, NC.

Each year, The Learning Center! partners with Table Top Inventing as part of the school’s themed summer enrichment offerings.Engineering Camp is designed to challenge students and inspire a generation of kids to be tinkerers, explorers, innovators, and deep thinkers.

According to Table Top Inventing, “Teens that join Engineering Camp develop the tools to thrive in a challenging environment. Some of our past campers, who had never been exposed to engineering, ended up pursuing degrees in STEM-related fields after attending. Hands-on experience, team-building exercises, fun and challenging environments — Engineering Camp has it all.”

The Learning Center! in Murphy, NC is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Engineering Camp, for rising sixth graders to twelfth graders. For four days, from July 17-20, from 9am to 4pm, Murphy area Engineering Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning, using emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, programming and physical computing in a fun and challenging environment.

Spots are limited, so call The Learning Center! Charter School at 828.835.7240 for more information and sign up your bored teenager now!

For more about The Learning Center!, visit naturallygrownkids.org

School Maker Faire Recap 2017

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On March 9, 2017, our school hosted our second School Maker Faire. Load of makers were on hand for the event and it was a rousing success. A special thank you to our wonderful community of makers that made this event possible. The hands on activities, demonstrations, delicious food and engaging conversation made for an inspiring and educational evening for everyone who attended.

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Tomorrow is Our 2nd Annual SCHOOL MAKER FAIRE

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Be sure to visit campus TOMORROW between 3:30-7:30pm to be part of our second School Maker Faire. There are exhibits, demonstrations and interactive experiences to be had by all. Come out and support the many Makers that will be there . . . and you’ll even find yourself making and learning something new!