First grade students at The Learning Center Charter School have recently spent time exploring forces, motion and balance as part of their science curriculum. They have experimented with all the ways force can make objects speed up, slow down or change direction. They have even explored how some forces like magnetism and gravity can act over long distances.
Science teacher, Emily Willey, helped students learn these complex science concepts in a multitude of ways. She has assisted students to make balance butterflies to learn about cantilevered forces, manipulate scales to learn about balance, experiment with leverage by changing the position of weights and more. Willey commented, “Each day I walk into the classroom, students are eager to explain an experience they had of an object moving or not when they applied a force to it. It’s so gratifying to see the excitement over the fact that they know that if they push down on an object and it doesn’t move, that there must also be an upward force acting on it!”
Students finished the unit by making a fun mobile with three to four legs. Students balanced a wooden mobile with different amounts of modeling clay to make the mobile able to spin and balance on a bottle lid. Students were quick to further explore where they could balance their mobiles . . . from their noses to their toes!
“I’ve been a science teacher for many, many years and this is the most exciting project we’ve ever done because the students were in love with creating a toy that could be in motion,” said Willey.
The Learning Center Charter School teachers, Monica Gatti and Melisa Paul, know that academically and intellectually gifted (AIG) students should receive enriched educational offerings. That is why these students at the school participate in the AIG Makers After School Program.
Within the program, each student is doing their own “Maker Project.” A maker is an umbrella term for independent designers, inventors and tinkerers. Technology has made it possible to learn, connect with others, and distribute ideas and products without middlemen like manufacturers and these Makers are finding ways to share ideas worldwide. AIG students at The Learning Center are independently joining this Maker Movement with their projects.
Gatti and Paul are facilitators that help each student through the process of brainstorming, researching, planning, creating and presenting. Students will document their process and present at the school’s annual School Maker Faire in the Spring. Additionally, each student will be connected to someone in the community that is knowledgeable on the specific project content or idea.
To date, these gifted students have chosen Maker Project topics that range from stop motion animation to in depth studies of Leonardo DaVinci.
Gatti says, “I am so excited that the students are choosing a Maker Project based on their own interests. This will allow the students to dive deep into a topic they are interested in and then share it with the public at our School Maker Faire in March. These projects will help students learn how to search for information, seek advice from experts, and learn to overcome challenges along the way. These are all qualities and skills the students will use to be successful for the rest of their lives.”
To learn more about AIG at TLC, click >>>HERE<<<.
Kindergarten students were thrilled when members of the Murphy Fire Department visited their class in November. They loved learning about the job and the special equipment the firefighters use to fight fires. They especially loved getting a close-up view of a firetruck!
Third graders have been busy learning about heat transfer, conductors and insulators. Here they are seen working through different stations to learn about these science concepts.
First graders recently learned that they would be building fairy houses in The Outdoor Learning Center as part of their science studies. After locating forest resources and ideal locations they created the beginnings of unique homes in the local trees.
Students will be working on this project for several weeks as they troubleshoot building techniques, learn how to use basic tools for secure construction, explore design principles – including incorporation of the golden ratio in their design, and try out some sustainable building techniques such as building out of clay or cob.
Right before Thanksgiving, students in Kindergarten shared a meal of pumpkin bread, applesauce and butter that they made themselves! Delicious!
Students also displayed turkeys that they made at home with family members. Way to go Kindergarten!
First graders have been learning about trees. Part of their studies has included leaf rubbings as a means to learn about tree identification. The fact that these students got to be in The Outdoor Learning Center and our own forest setting made the lesson even more meaningful!
Taking note of the unique colors each species turn in the fall was fun. Sassafras was a favorite because the tree has three different leaf types.
You might remember that these industrious students spent time in The Outdoor Learning Center last year building fairy houses. Science teacher, Ms. Emily, gets all of her students outside as much as possible because the forest is an extension of her classroom.
As students built these fairy house last year, they learned about the native flora and fauna found on our campus. They also learned about construction, design and trial and error!
They’ve recently been checking on their fairy houses and deciding on repair, reconstruction or expansion ideas.
In memory of and tribute to the many Americans that lost their lives on September 11, 2001, our school hosts an annual Service Day on September 11th of each year. Due to weather, school was unexpectedly cancelled on that day this year. The event was rescheduled on Novemeber 9, 2017, the same day we honored veterans for Veteran’s Day.
Gary Chamberalain, from the North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition spoke with students, provided trash pick-up supplies and encouraged students to be litter-free. Afterwards, students in 5th-8th grades fanned across our campus and community to pick up trash.
In addition to trash pick up, some students did other campus beautification projects such as tree trimming and weeding.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has awarded The Learning Center Charter School their Academic Growth Award for 2016-2017. This is it’s first year presenting awards for achieving and exceeding expected academic growth.
Academic growth refers to academic progress made over a period of time.
Academic growth represents an impressive amount of hard work by students and educators and our school is proud of this recognition!