4th Grade Science — Minerals

Recently, fourth graders headed outside to The Outdoor Learning Center to study rocks and minerals. They examined different rocks and minerals and used properties such as streak, color, luster, hardness and breakage in order to identify each by name.

St. Jude’s Math-a-Thon Update

Each year, students at our school participate in the St. Jude’s Math-a-thon to sharpen their math skills and raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  This year students raised $1565.00!  Over $1000 of this amount was raised by the 2nd grade class alone. The second best class total was 5th grade with $334.

A special thank to you Entegra Bank in Murphy for their $250 donation towards this total.

Mini Mall Encourages Young Entrepreneurs at TLC

The Learning Center prides itself on their long standing Middle REAL program offered to 5th through 8th graders.  Middle REAL stands for the Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning.  Additionally, TLC also has a Mini REAL program that serves kindergarten through 4th graders.  Both the Middle REAL and Mini REAL programs are a component of the North Carolina REAL program that is dedicated to helping bring entrepreneurship and small business creation to our state.

The Mini and Middle REAL programs work together to hold two annual Mini Malls, an event that has students writing business plans, conducting marketing surveys, and devising effective advertising in order to create a successful marketplace.

The videos above were made by students running businesses at the Mini Mall held in January of this year. These video commercials were part of their marketing plan to entice young students to visit their booth and spend their hard earned TLC bucks at their store.

Mini Mall is a hugely popular event on campus but Middle REAL and Mini REAL achieve far more than just that at TLC!  These programs also educate in the following ways:

·         Community Problem Solving – Students focus on the basic rules of safety at home, in the community and on the internet. Students create dramatizations of problematic situations then model effective solutions. Students compete for “best” solutions much like real-life contractors.

·         Community Environmental Design – Students are involved in the design and construction of a miniature “green” community and the design and creation of a Japanese garden.

·         The Global Community – Students learn Internet safety as they develop an awareness of the world that is accessible with the click of a mouse. Student research will support other Middle REAL classes and Friday activities.

·         Community Wellness –With a focus on overall health of humans and the good earth, students experiment with good-tasting, nutritious, “kid-friendly” snack recipes. These recipes are then be distributed to grades K-4 for classroom use.

School Maker Faire Spotlights Makers of All Kinds, March 15

The Learning Center Charter School is celebrating making of all kinds at their 3rd annual School Maker Faire on Thursday, March 15 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 School Maker Faire.

Makers – from Learning Center students to community members – will have booths featuring their own unique Maker project. There will be hands-on activities, demonstrations, and delicious homemade food.

One group of makers is students in the school’s Pinterest elective. These kids have been taking ideas they find on the popular social media platform and making them a reality during elective time each week. They have used everything from wooden pallets to discarded filing cabinets and dining room chairs to make new, useful and decorative items.  They have built stenciled signs, small shelves and pallet Mason jar holders. Recently, they have begun taking their projects a step further by building furniture.

Shelley Dockery, a teacher overseeing this group of Makers at the school, says, “Kids are inherently curious and creative. Given the space and opportunity to build and create, they will and you’ll be amazed at the things they make.” Dockery added that much of what these students have made will be on display at the School Maker Faire in March. “Knowing that they will be displaying their makes has pushed these kids’ imaginations into overdrive. They are really looking forward to it!”

The Learning Center is an official host of the third annual School Maker Faire open to the Murphy area and is looking for Makers to join the festivities. The event will be held at the school on Thursday, March 15th, from 3:30 – 7:30 pm. Contact The Learning Center for more information and to enter YOUR Maker project at naturallygrownkids.org/school-maker-faire.

5th Grade STEM — Students Use Pop Culture “Escape Rooms” Concept to Learn Science

Fifth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School recently had to use their science sleuthing skills to “escape” from class.  That’s because science teacher, Jay Ward, along with School Success Coordinator, Cheryl Catuto planned a lesson to teach force and motion based on the pop culture “escape room” concept.


An escape room is a physical adventure game in which teams of players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to escape a locked room.  Escape rooms have popped up all over the country including in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

To learn about force and motion, students had to use the clues given to them to open a series of locks to a secret, hidden toolbox. They had to do everything from find the missing words while answering questions to decode clues using 3D glasses in order to find hidden messages and additional clues.

The lesson was concluded by conducting an experiment using Mentos candy and soda water to measure force and distance between variables.  Ward said, “The teamwork and excitement generated by the escape room activity had a huge impact on my students. The game aspect of it made it super fun and has cemented the science concepts into their brains.”

2nd Grade Learns About Martin Luther King, Jr.


Back in January, second graders spent a week completing a cross curricular unit on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.


Students completed a Lapbook Project as they learned about MLK, Jr’s impact on the Civil Rights Movement and the history of our nation. The students were fascinated as they learned that MLK, Jr. led peaceful boycotts, gave speeches and wrote books to try to get unfair laws changed.


Students now understand how MLK, Jr. helped change our world for the better and why we celebrate his life every January.

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SMF2018- FB Post

It’s that time of year again to showcase you makes at our annual School Maker Faire!

Our 2017 School Maker Faire was a huge hit! We featured a line-up of over 70 Makers – almost double what we had in 2016.

Visit our website to sign up to show your makes at our 2018 School Maker Faire.  Click >>>HERE<<< to be taken to the form to fill out your entry!