Muddy Sneaker Spring Expedition

Each year, our fifth grade students 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.

Spring is here and students had a wonderful spring expedition with Muddy Sneakers in April. Students compiled a list of various indicators that spring has arrived.

1st Grade School Maker Faire Project

Students in first grade worked together on a School Maker Faire project all about birds. They had been learning about the building and nesting of Cardinals and Vogelkop Bower birds and took what they learned and ran!

First, students each build a cardinal nest. They learned that the birds use pine needles, weeds, twigs, tree bark, and roots to make their nests. They collected nesting material outdoors and used their engineering skills to build replica nests.

The second project was Vogelkop Bower bird nests. Students learned that this bird uses sticks for the nest roof and moss for the floor. The male bird collects colorful and shiny items to present on the “bower”, or stage, to attract females.

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3rd Grade Science – Plant Life Cycle

Third graders recently studied plant needs and life cycle. They were so excited to germinate seeds in their desk, dissect and label parts of the seed (seed coat, epicotyl, radical, embryo, and cotyledon) and then learn the parts of a flower by dissecting daffodils.

4th Grade – Science in the Spring Garden

Fourth grade students helped prepare the spring garden as part of science lessons. Students studied the rock and mineral cycle and learned and observed how that relates to soil quality. There is so much to learn in the garden!

5th Grade – Muddy Sneakers

Each year, our fifth grade students 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.

In early February, students had a fun outdoor science excursion. Students trekked in the woods (The Outdoor Learning Center) to observe a flock of robins searching for food, then searched under the leaves to find a few myriapods (centipedes and millipedes), spiders, and other fun creepy crawlies.

Next, students learned about weather measurement tools, cloud types, evaporation, air density/pressure zones, and how all these factors play together to create the weather effects we are all already familiar with. Teacher, Mr. Fenris, was the “Sun, the Great Evaporator” evaporating our 5th grade water molecules in a Red-light, Greenlight style game.

Finally, they built and decimated a model city with EXTREME weather (handfuls of leaves).

Students had an absolute blast!

1st Grade Science – Ecosystems

First grade students spent time outdoors learning about ecosystems as part of their science studies. The Outdoor Learning Center on our campus is a living, breathing, science laboratory and our first grade students love being in it!

First Graders Use Nature and E-STEAM to Celebrate Holidays

First grade students at The Learning Center Charter School used nature, reading lessons, and E-STEAM to make holiday ornaments as part of their studies leading up to Christmas break.

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

The students read books as a class and independently on winter and winter animals for days leading up to the project.  Students then collected berries, leaves, moss, and flowers from the school’s Outdoor Learning Center.  While foraging for these supplies, students learned which plants and berries stay alive during winter and what characteristics they have that allow them to do so. They also learned which animals eat berries and use moss and leaves for nests.

First grade teacher Katie Grider said, “Each school day we spend as much time as possible outside and finding ways to teach lessons and engage students in hands-on learning outside the four walls of our classroom is key to a deeper understanding of the subject matter.”

Grider added that not only does being outdoors encourage physical activity, fitness, and health, but it also provides a living laboratory for students to explore, experiment, interact and collaborate.

After collecting the items from outdoors, students made ornaments by filling cups with the items and water and allowing them to freeze. The ornaments were then hung on a tree on campus.