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
First grade students recently spent time studying birds across the curriculum. Their bird STEM project incorporated reading, math, writing and a hands-on art project.
The students studied and gathered information about six different types of birds — Penguins, Eastern Blue Birds, Birds of Paradise, Hummingbirds, Golden Finches, and Blue Jays. They learned how to draw and label diagrams with specific bird body parts/ field marks, create graphic organizers of bird facts, use bullets to organize and record data, write detailed sentences of bird facts, and use a ruler to measure the actual height of each bird.
To gather this information, the class read non-fiction books and read online articles about each of the six birds during Guided Reading.
The students also made suet feeders out of peanut butter, seeds, and dried corn. Student especially liked gathering sticks from The Outdoor Learning Center to serve as a perch for birds at their feeders.
On February 5th, students in second grade celebrated Chinese New Year. Students learned about the customs and traditions of the holiday and the importance of the celebration in China. They also learned about the lunar calendar.
The students were able to read books, enjoy interactive parades and make Chinese New Year dragons and lanterns. To end the celebration, the students were able to enjoy traditional Chinese fried rice. The day was loaded with fun and learning.
Second grade is enjoying their new reading headlamps.
They have been working hard on reading strategies in second grade. Specifically on how second graders need to learn how to pick “just right” books. They are using our new reading headlamps to examine books and use what we have learned to pick out the perfect book.
As part of their study on Johnny Appleseed, students in second grade had to learn how to read a recipe. Students learned what recipes are, why recipes have ingredients as well as suggestions for cooking supplies. They also learned how a person cooking must follow the step by step written directions when assembling the recipe.
Students were able to make a recipe called Apple Smiles where they gathered ingredients and supplies and followed the directions on assembling their Apple Smiles snacks.
Along with recipes and making Apple snacks, the students learned all about the life of John Chapman and made an Apple Fact Tree as part of their Guided Reading time.
Clearly, everyone had fun learning about Johnny Appleseed as well as how to read a recipe.
Second graders spent a week completing a cross curricular unit where they learned the history of US Presidents. Through the use of technology, literature and writing, students completed many activities learning about our presidents. The students completed a Lapbooks project to go along with their studies.