First Grade STEM Project #3

(This is the third STEM project Ms. Darea has led her first grade class on this year.  Be sure to use the category selector over on the right hand side of this blog to select STEM to read and see about the others.  Below you can read what Ms. Darea said about this weeks project.)

We began learning about forests in science, social stuides, and guided reading this week.  Throughout the week we talked about what we could find in forest habitats, what we can get from forests, and shelters that different animals use in forests.  Before we went to The Outdoor Learning Center on Thursday, we made predictions in our science notebooks about what kind of shelters we would find.  While we were out, the kids were eager to explore everything from holes in the trees to under rocks and inside logs.  We found some pretty cool things!  They drew their observations in their notebooks while they were out there and some kids couldn’t stop!  A few sat down on the deck to finish up drawing while waiting for Ms. Gale to get back with the key to the room.



On Friday we looked at our post-investigation in our science notebooks where we confirmed our predictions of animal shelters and added others we found.  The children then went back to their observations and counted the total number of individual animal shelters they found.  The students made picto-graphs of the data they collected and organized.  We then compiled the data as a whole class and used the Mimeo to make a tally chart of each shelter.  It was fun doing this.  We went from group to group adding aloud as each student said how many of a shelter they had recorded on their graphs.  The mental math was pretty amazing! 


When all the data was tallied up we discussed the results.  I asked why they thought rocks were used to frequently as shelters.  One child said, “because it’s easy to for small animals to get under there.”  Another students said, “it’s makes it hard for bigger animals to find them.”  I then asked why they thought logs had such a low number and a student said, “probably because there weren’t too many logs out there.”  When comparing the number of trees that were counted as shelters to the number of logs, one student said, “there are way more trees out there than logs!”  Wow!  What a great group of thinkers! 



Third Grade Works to Discover Whether Electricity Produces Both Light and Heat


Third graders have been studying energy in science and recently did a directed inquiry whether electricity can produce light and heat.  The children were put into groups of three and each group then assembled an electric circuit.  The students then observed and determined if indeed electricity could produce both light and heat.

If you know a TLC! third grader be sure to ask them about the results of their experiment!

Science is everywhere on campus!

Science is everywhere on The Learning Center! campus.  Just ask these fifth graders. . .


Watering the newly planted fall crop in the greenhouse
These greenhouse beds include spinach, lettuce and edible flowers.
Having fun touching the full seedpods of the jewelweed plant. Science teacher, Ms. Emily, took her students around campus to identify wild medicinal plants and learn their latin names. Jewelweed is known for it ability to relieve itching due to bug bites and poison ivy. Another name for jewelweed is touch me not.


Becoming Student Scientist

(Eighth grade science teacher, Ms. Chris, recently filled me in on a science experiment her students conducted using The Outdoor Learning Center.  This is what Ms. Chris had to say.)

The eighth graders did an experiment on transpiration in trees.  Their hypothesis was that trees at the top of the ridge in The Outdoor Learning Center had a lower  rate of transpiration than trees at the bottom of the ridge because those trees might have less water available to them. 

Transpiration is a measure of a plant ’s physiology—it is water given off from plants during its metabolism through pores in its leaves.  Transpiration is a significant part of the water cycle for the planet, moving water from the ground back into the atmosphere.  

The class has worked their way through the process of a scientific investigation, including analyzing potential errors.  Our experiment didn’t work exactly as we had planned, but we are one experiment closer to being student scientists.


Zoinks! Mystery Machine Spotted in Andrews Homecoming Parade!

Scooby and the Gang have been spotted in Cherokee County! Look for clues on Facebook as to where they will be next!

 Scooby and the Gang have been spotted in Cherokee County . . . thanks to Ground to Graphics  and Sounds Good Electronics!

Keep an eye out for Scooby and the Gang in their Mystery Machine in and around Murphy.  Look for clues on our Facebook page.  If you’re able to list all the locations then you can enter to win a prize at Monster Mash!  And, don’t forget to prebuy your Monster Mash tickets in the front office or on our website at!

Monster Mash: Mystery Machine in Progress

Ground to Graphics is knocking the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine out of the park!!





Don’t forget to pre-buy your Monster Mash tickets!  You can purchase them by cash or check in the front office.  If you’d rather pay by credit card, visit and use the “pre-buy tickets” button on the homepage to pay via PayPal.