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 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. 

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.

2nd Grade Explores Math

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!”

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1st Grade STEM — Bears!

First grade teacher, Ms. Katie Beaver, and elementary science teacher, Ms. Emily collaborated on a huge ecosystem unit that covered deciduous forests, rainforests, and coral reefs.  In addition to covering an entire wall with trees to represent deciduous trees found in each season, students also were given a STEM activity where they created bear caves for the bears to hibernate in using nothing but marshmallows and toothpicks to engineer their designs.
Each student was given 10 marshmallows and 15 toothpicks. The students were instructed to use these materials to build a bear cave (shelter). The shelter needed to fit a paper bear that was about  4 inches wide and 3 inches tall.

Additionally, students delved further into their studies by designing and constructing underground burrows by connecting small paper bags to model beneath the ground shelters of animals in the deciduous forest.