The Learning Center Charter School is excited to announce a
recently awarded grant of $3,500 by the Tennessee Valley Authority, in
partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated for a STEM (science,
technology, engineering and math) education project.
“Students will design and construct a putt-putt golf course
on our campus,” said Jess Stephens, eighth grade social studies teacher at the
school. The design will center around
North Carolina history and will include replicas of historical artifacts.
“We’ll be using the grant for building supplies and hope to
continue adding holes to the course every year,” said Stephens.
The grant award is a part of $600,000 in competitive STEM
grants awarded to 142 schools across TVA’s service territory. The competitive
grant program provided teachers an opportunity to apply for funding up to
$5,000 and preference was given to grant applications that explored TVA’s
primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic and career development
and community problem solving. Schools who receive grant funding must receive
their power from a TVA distributor.
“This is the second year we offered this program to the
entire Valley and we saw a major increase in grant applications this year,”
said Community Engagement Senior Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “There is a
demand in the Valley for workforce development through STEM education and I am
proud of the way TVA and our retirees are responding to that demand by supporting
teachers in the classroom.”
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.
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.
Recently eighth grade students learned about geometric shape transformations through Ms. Pac-man and pattern blocks. Students explored and manipulated shapes to practice translations, rotations, reflections, and translations.
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
Second grade students at The Learning Center Charter School have wasted no time getting familiar with the math tools that they will be using throughout the new school year in Guided Math.
Guided Math is the approach the kindergarten through fifth grade classes take each day to math. Class begins with a math warm up and is soon followed by a whole group mini lesson which focuses on a specific math standard. After that, students work in smaller groups following a rotation schedule according to STACK. STACK stands for 1) Small groups with the teacher, 2) Technology, 3) Apply what they have learned, 4) Create using critical thinking skills through math journaling, and 5) Kinesthetic, or in other words, hands-on games and activities.
Stephanie Hopper, second grade teacher at the school, said “Our Guided Math approach allows students to experience direct instruction as well as student-centered activities and hands-on learning.” Hopped added that she is able to work with small groups of students to further enhance the direct instruction and work closely with those who are both struggling and those who are ready to be further challenged.
“After the daily rotation is complete, the class comes back together as a whole and reflects on the lessons of the day,” said Hopper. “Guided Math allows me to monitor each individual student and provide differentiated instruction. It’s a win-win learning experience!”