5th Grade Muddy Sneakers Trip to Hanging Dog Campground

You might recall that our fifth graders spend the year doing field work with Muddy Sneakers.

The Muddy Sneakers program exists to enrich the standard course of study through experiential education in an outdoor setting where students connect with the land, become more active, and gain self-confidence while improving science aptitude.  Muddy Sneakers began as a pilot program in the spring of 2007 with Brevard and Pisgah Forest Elementary Schools in Transylvania County and has grown each year to now serve 36 schools across 12 counties and 13 school districts in the Carolinas.

Students spent the day at Hanging Dog Campground learning about Energy and Heat Transfer.  Students learned about heat transfer, insulators, and conductors, by testing the temperature of a rock in its original setting, then taking the rock and trying some different methods to warm the rock up and then testing the temperature again. 

They also created a habitat out of only natural and native materials to see who could create the warmest environment.  They tested their habitats by inserting a heated bottle of water and checked the temperature before inserting the water and at about 10 minutes after inserting the water.  They also got to sample some pine needle tea as they learned about conduction, convection, and radiation. 

Student Run Business – Coffee Cart

Did you know that there is a student run coffee cart open on Friday mornings?  This coffee cart business is part of a combined functional math and social studies focus.

On Friday mornings, students use a Keurig to brew coffee and hot chocolate from 7:30 – 8:30 am in the Dining Commons. Each cup is $1.00.  The proceeds are used to sustain the business and hopefully fund a field trip at the end of the school year.

This business is giving students the opportunity to practice life skills such as social exchanges, taking orders, sequencing, taking money and making change.

Additionally, these young entrepreneurs are learning about collaboration across grades because there are two upper grades students who offer so much support with ensuring the coffee business goes smoothly!

This coffee business is teaching so much to these young students and is just another example of our school’s commitment to an E-STEAM culture.

2nd Grade E-STEAM STEM Gingerbread Houses

Before Christmas break, students in second grade participated in an E-STEAM/STEM project that had them sculpting with all sorts of confections in order to learn a variety of concepts and skills.

E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art and agriculture and math. For many years, we have worked diligently to make our curriculum and campus a true E-STEAM environment. We teach students that science, math, and technology skills are essential for becoming 21st Century citizens and are deeply integrated within the activities of entrepreneurship and agriculture, as well as language, music, and visual arts. Our philosophy of education is built upon the idea that young learners need to be exposed to a broad array of rich learning experiences. 

The students had to design, build, troubleshoot and redesign their gingerbread houses over the course of several days. Students had fun working with each other and with the entire design/construction process. Their resulting houses added a festive touch to the classroom.

2nd Grade Celebrated the Season

Prior to the holiday break, students in second grade learned about many different countries and their cultural celebrations during the winter season.

Students worked on a Holidays Around the World project and invited families into the classroom to share the experience.

Students shared their hard work with their families. They also gifted them with a special holiday photograph and card, shared in holidays snacks and treats and ended the visit with a special holiday performance.

Second grade has had an amazing few weeks learning about cultural celebrations around the world. It was an honor to share the experience with student families.

2nd Grade Cross Curricular Study of Thanksgiving

Second grade completed a cross curricular Thanksgiving lapbook project where students learned all about the history of Thanksgiving through reading, writing, research and collaboration. 


As part of the project, students were partnered up and given instruction on how to work collaboratively and how to have constructive conversations.

Next the students were taught how to conduct research on laptops and how to take notes.

Lastly, the children worked closely with their partners to complete their Thanksgiving lapbook projects and presented them to the class, taking questions from classmates and giving feedback. 

Annual 8th Grade Fall Camping Trip

Each fall our 8th graders go on a school camping trip. This go around, students traveled to Camp Kanuga in Hendersonville, NC from September 23-25th.

Activities were supervised by Camp Kanuga staff and included ecology lessons, canoeing, high ropes and climbing courses. There was also a night hike, Appalachian culture activities and campfires.

Daily Walking Program in 2nd Year

The National Center for Safe Routes to School is the coordinating organization for Walk to School Day held every October and Bike to School Day held each May. These events are used to encourage families to celebrate the benefits of walking and biking and to increase local leader commitment and visibility for traffic safety and community quality of life.

However, staff at the charter school opted to take this program farther than just a one day event each semester. Instead, they instituted a daily walking program for all students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Head of school, Ryan Bender, said “We want to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for students, staff and parents.”  He added that starting each day with exercise is a great way to stimulate the brain and get it prepared to learn during school.  Also, by offering incentives to participate in the morning walk, the school has seen a reduction in the number of students arriving tardy to class each day.

Each morning students walk. If the weather is good, students walk a safe path on campus. If it is raining or below 35 degrees, students complete their walk in the Gymnatorium.

“The first year of our walking program was a success in the way of fitness, attendance, class attentiveness and team building and we are thrilled to be continuing the daily walking program for a second year,” said Bender.

Want to know more about our daily walking program or about the emphasis on physical activity at our school? Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you.

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