5th grade students enjoy Muddy Sneakers trip to Fires Creek

Building boats and racing them down the creek was the order of the day on October 29th for fifth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School.  That’s because field educators from Muddy Sneakers took the class on an expedition to Fires Creek to learn about force and motion.

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.

While at Fires Creek, students had to construct a boat and see how fast it could travel in the creek in 11 seconds.  Students made a hypothesis, tested their boats, made adjustments and then tested them again.  They also investigated how a pulley system works by trying to find the best way to get a rope over a tree limb to lift a weighted backpack off the ground.

Fifth grade science teacher at the school, Gina Stafford, said, “The students loved the trip not just because it was fun, but because they were divided into small groups and were really able to focus on what the instructors were teaching. I loved seeing the kids so involved with the activities and enjoying the outdoors. They really did get muddy sneakers!”

Want to know more about our approach to education and the emphasis we put on be outside? Fill out the form below and we’ll contact you!

Email with questions about TLC from contact form in blog post –
Full Name
reCAPTCHA

2nd Graders Immersed in STEM & PBL Project About Bats

Second grade students at The Learning Center Charter School spent the month of October immersed in a STEM and PBL project all about bats.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and PBL stands for project based learning. Students at The Learning Center charter school are very familiar with each since students at the school engage in STEM and PBL education daily.

A targeted STEM education approach ensures students engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics regularly. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, complex question, problem, or challenge.

Of course the second grade students read about bats but they also expanded their studies across the curriculum.  In science, students learned that bats are flying mammals that are important for our environment. In geography, they learned that bats live in warmer climates, closer to the equator and that no bats live in the continent of Antarctica. In math, they learned how to read thermometers as related to the preferred climates of bats as well as measurements of bats’ wingspans.  

 “Bats are a good fit for students in the month of October due to Halloween,” said second grade teacher Stephanie Hopper. “The kids are interested in spooky things and I take the opportunity to harness that curiosity and use it in every subject we study and really delve into the subject deeply.”

Hopper added that “What we could have learned about bats in one lesson on one day is nothing compared to the deeply engaged learning that we participated in during our PBL unit with bats as the overall theme,” said Hopper.

8th Graders “Ventured Out” to Asheville

Each school year, eighth grade students VENTURE OUT on day trips. It’s part of our school’s cross-curricular travel-study program that weaves literature, science and history with travel and real life experiences. The VENTURE OUT program promotes trips to places and people of interest across the Mountain Region of North Carolina.

In September, students traveled to the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville. In addition to seeing and learning about the many animals at the center, students also enjoyed the ropes courses.

Why do we venture out with our students?

Traveling is an investment in education. It allows kids the opportunity to see first-hand the things they have learned and to put into practice the skills they have acquired. They gain a global perspective and a strong independence that no other teaching method can impart. Travel teaches tolerance, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. Without travel, students only see the world on a screen or in a book but TLC ensures they get to experience it for themselves.

2nd Grade Science — Weather Satellites

Second grade recently learned all about weather patterns and climate. Part of their learning included satellites as they monitor and track weather patterns and changes over periods of time. STEM time was devoted to designing and building satellites. Students had a great time and enjoyed sharing the satellites they designed and built.

Art and History in Fifth Grade

Fifth graders recently made paper mache Trojan horses as part of their social studies on ancient Greece. As a school that works to foster an E-STEAM environment, mixing a hands-on art project with a study of history is a perfect example of how we do it.

E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art & agriculture and math.

Want to know more about E-STEAM? Fill out the form below and we will get back to you shortly.

Email with questions about TLC from contact form in blog post –
Full Name
reCAPTCHA

How we celebrated National School Lunch Week

National School Lunch Week was October 14-18th and The Learning Center Charter School celebrated with a cultural culinary exploration each day for lunch.

The National School Lunch Program serves more than 30 million children every school day.  In 1962, President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom.  During the annual weeklong celebration, schools across the country celebrate in their cafeterias with special menus and events.

Hilary Ehlers, Child Nutrition Director at the charter school, decided that this year’s celebration would be a cultural exploration of food found around the world.  The nutrition staff and teachers worked together in the planning to ensure that students would learn about the highlighted global cultures while getting the opportunity to try the corresponding foods at lunchtime.

Each day a new country and its foods were presented to the students.  Greece, Italy, Thailand, Mexico and the Caribbean were all part of the week.  Ravioli, egg rolls, fried rice, fajitas, jerk chicken, pineapple salsa and coconut rice were just some of the delicious things on the menu.

“Our goal was to introduce new foods and flavors to our students,” said Ehlers.  She added that the enthusiasm about trying new foods far exceeded her expectations. 

“Food is such a fundamental part of the human experience and exposing our students to cultures around the world through food has been so much fun for everyone at our school,” said Ehlers.  She added that many of the new foods will become regular features on the school’s lunch menus.

Farm to School Produce at The Learning Center Charter School

Offering well prepared, healthy food that nourishes students is a cornerstone of the educational environment at The Learning Center Charter School.  Using locally grown produce is icing on the cake.

The charter school is part of the NC Farm to School program which affords the school ample opportunity and access to healthy North Carolina produce.

The NC Farm to School program is run through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Food Distribution.  During the 2011-12 school year, the NC Farm to School program delivered over one million dollars worth of NC produce to NC schools, reaching 1,003,921 students in 1,599 schools.

NC Farm to School gives North Carolina farms a viable market for their crops while providing schools a local source of fresh, seasonal produce.  Produce includes watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, apples, cucumbers, red potatoes, grape tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, romaine lettuce, apple slices, collards, sweet potatoes, strawberries, squash, zucchini and blueberries.

Hilary Ehlers, Child Nutrition Director at the school, said, “The Farm to School program not only provides easy access to foods grown locally but also opportunities for agriculture, nutrition and health education.”

Ehlers added that when a student makes the connection between agriculture and food, they realize that food comes from a farmer and not magically from the grocery store.   

“Nutrition education is a key part of our mission at our school,” said Ehlers. “Our students tend vegetable gardens on campus and the produce we buy from local farmers through this program reinforces the lessons we teach daily.”

Want to know more about the nutrition program at The Learning Center Charter School? Fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you!

Email with questions about TLC from contact form in blog post –
Full Name
reCAPTCHA

5th Grade Starts Muddy Sneakers

For the third year in a row, fifth graders at our school are participating in 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 had their first excursion to learn the rules and procedures during these field work expeditions.  Students learned things like how to identify poison ivy, what to do if they see a snake in the woods, how to use compasses and magnifying glasses, and how to behave around stinging insects.

On the second day, students focused on matter and the water cycle. Students did a scientific experiment with transpiration where they placed baggies on leaves and collected data about which leaves had the most transpiration.  They also did an experiment where they had to create a representation of the water cycle. 

The students really are excited to learn more on future Muddy Sneakers expeditions!

Want to know more about our approach to using the outdoors as our classroom? Fill out the form below.

Email with questions about TLC from contact form in blog post –
Full Name
reCAPTCHA