Halloween Maker Events

Monster Maker winners

Being a Maker is what E-STEAM learning at TLC! is all about. We want all of our students to engage in the kind of hands-on learning that inspires natural curiosity and develops the skill to create and innovate. Each year for Halloween, we host Maker events that challenge and inspire the Maker spirit in our classrooms.  This year students could enter the Monster Maker contest, several categories of costume contests and a pumpkin carving contest.

Honorable mention in traditional category

While the challenges were not mandatory, teachers had the opportunity to use them as Project Based Learning opportunities in the classroom. Students could work on these challenges at home, in groups, as individuals, or with their families. We strongly encouraged all students and teachers to participate in these challenges, and be part of creating a handmade, hands-on experience for our Community of Learners!

Pumpkin carving winners

Students stretched their creative skills to the MAX to make monsters out of used materials! Upcycling means taking things we usually send to the landfill and recycling them into wild, creative, and sometimes useful art. Anything you can find and repurpose was allowed in this contest!

winners 1980s category

The pumpkin carving contest was back this year too!

winners group category

The costume contest categories included traditional, Maker Challenge Yearly Theme of the 1980’s,  upcycled costumes, and group themed costumes.

winners teachers winners traditional category Winners upcycled Honorable mention upcycled IMG_6357

Fun was had by all!

2nd Grade Has Gone to the Birds!


Second grade students worked on a “Birds” PBL (Project Based Learning) unit in which the children learned all about birds through literature, writing, interactive construction of birdhouses, and art. The students used texts and technology to research their favorite bird and write a bird report. The students presented their final projects during our School Maker’s Faire on March 9th.

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School Maker Faire Recap 2017


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

2017 Maker Faire - Save the Date - WEB VERSION

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!

School Maker Faire Spotlights 3rd Generation BBQ Smoker, March 9


The Learning Center! Charter School is celebrating “making” of all kinds at their 2nd annual School Maker Faire on Thursday, March 9 from 3:30 – 7:30. Imagine a science fair, craft show, tech conference, and county fair, all rolled into one and you can picture a Maker Faire. Over 70 Makers – from Learning Center students to community members – will have booths featuring their own unique Maker project. There will be hands-on activities, demonstrations, a costume parade, and delicious homemade food from “Meal Makers”.

One of these Meal Makers is local Jimmy Nix, who will be offering his signature hardwood-smoked pork. “The smoker has been in my family for three generations,” said Nix. Herbert Nix, Jimmy’s father, adapted the design from his own father’s smoker, and used it for years before passing the rig on to Jimmy.

Each Nix generation has tinkered with the design of the smoker to create the perfect environment for low and slow cooking. This generations-long Maker project is mainly comprised of “up-cycled” materials – objects that have been reclaimed from their original use to create something new. “The main compartment of the smoker is essentially a 500 gallon propane tank,” Nix explained. “Connected to that is a Papa Bear Fisher wood stove for the firebox, and the axle for the wheels is from an old Chevy Vega.”

As with any good barbeque family, the Nix meat rub is also a constantly evolving Maker project. The family recipe spice blend is continually being tweaked in some way with a pinch of this or a touch of that.

“I never cook for a profit,” says Nix. “I prefer to cook at community events where people are just enjoying being together and eating good food.” The Nix family has cooked for many weddings, church events, and most recently, the Cherokee County Faire.

The Learning Center is an official host of the second annual School Maker Faire open to the Murphy area. The event will be held at the school on Thursday, March 9th, from 3:30 – 7:30 pm. Enjoy a delicious plate of hardwood-smoked pork that is three generations in the making. All proceeds from Jimmy’s booth will go to the school’s Odyssey of the Mind teams, who have placed high-enough in regionals to go on to the state-level competition this spring. Contact The Learning Center for more at 828-835-7240.

Calling all Thinkers, Tinkerers, Inventors and Makers

Thomas A. Edison, inventor of the light bulb, once said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” If you like to tinker, create, invent or make things with your hands you won’t want to miss The Learning Center! Charter School’s 2017 School Maker Faire®  on Thursday, March 9th.


Imagine a science fair, craft show, tech conference, and county fair, all rolled into one and you can picture a Maker Faire. These national events, which began a few years ago in California, have been growing in popularity around the globe. The School Maker Faire® attracts tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, crafters, students, educators, artisans, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, and commercial exhibitors. Makers come to show their creations and share what they’ve learned.

The Learning Center! Charter School is an official host of the second annual School Maker Faire open to the Murphy area. The event will be held at the school on Thursday, March 9th, from 3:30 – 7:30 pm.

As an “E-STEAM” school, (a curriculum that emphasizes Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Agriculture, and Math) The Learning Center! promotes learning through doing. Providing opportunities for community participation in the Maker Faire Movement is the perfect way to engage and excite students about the world around them.

As students work on plans for their own Maker projects for The School Maker Faire®  The Learning Center is calling on Makers from the Murphy area Community of Learners. The School Maker Faire isn’t just a student showcase, it is a chance for Makers of all ages to come together and share the joy of creating. The school invites the public to submit a project proposal and be a part of The School Maker Faire. Demonstrate a craft, showcase an invention, teach others how to make something, bring something edible, or just come check out the fun! The sky is really the limit at a Maker Faire!

The first step to being a part of The School Maker Faire is to visit The Learning Center’s website:www.naturallygrownkids.org. Contact The Learning Center office at 828-835-7240 for more information.

School Maker Faire Set for March 9, 2017


To celebrate Making of all kinds, and become closer with our community of Makers, we are hosting our 2nd Annual School Maker Faire and we want you to be a part of this event.  

You can demonstrate your making, bring something you have made, lead a hands-on activity or help us pull off the event itself. 

We encourage Making of all kinds! Last year’s Faire included food vendors, crafters and artisans, computer and electronics demonstrations, plays and dramatic arts, a trebuchet, a race car, and even an hovercraft. 

Maker projects can be done by a single student, a group of students, teachers and staff, families, or any member of our entire extended Community of Learners.

Visit our website by clicking >>>HERE<<< to learn more, see photos AND SUBMIT YOUR PROJECT PROPOSAL!

We can’t wait to see what you will MAKE!

8th Grade Social Studies — Civil War


Eighth grade students were asked to make 3D representations that illustrated the magnitude of destruction of the Civil War. Alongside these visuals, they created diary entries and letters from the point of view of certain individuals’ perspectives from the time period. These projects were on display at our School Maker Faire and served as a powerful visual of the number lives lost in the war.

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Cultivating the Lowly, (But Important) Worm


Earlier this year, a member of the community came through for The Learning Center! Charter School when she heard about an unusual request. Local masseuse and yoga teacher, Renee Lamance, owner of Soul Therapy Massage & Bodywork in Murphy, donated a worm bin for research needs. Second grade teachers Stephanie Hopper and Emily Willey then began an intriguing study unit involving worms that spaned several months and crossed the entire curriculum of the school.


“We have been exploring how important earthworms are to human life,” said Hopper. “The worm unit ties in reading, writing, language arts, math, agriculture, and environmental studies.” Students have been experimenting with vermiculture – the cultivation of earthworms and their by-products for composting.


Students used the donated worm bin to house the worms for study, conduct experiments, and make observations to learn the importance of worms to soil. They also created individual worm jars to observe earthworm anatomies and ecosystems, worm tunnels and soil churning.


Experiments included recycling food scraps and other organic materials to turn food waste into rich, organic nutrients used to grow plants. The students learned what worms can and cannot eat, how they eat, how to care for the red wiggler composting worms, change their bedding, and how to harvest the castings (worm excrement) to use for garden fertilizer.


The worm composting will be an on-going project in which the worms’ castings will be used to help fertilize the outdoor garden areas at The Learning Center.