2nd Grade Science – Whales

Second grade students were learning about whales and conducted an experiment about how blubber keeps them warm. The students put one hand in a double Ziplock bag that had Crisco between them and another two bags with nothing between them. Students learned that whales have blubber which is an adaptation they need in order to survive living in colder places and diving down to extreme depths in the ocean.

Students Build Square Foot Garden

Students are seen here creating a new Square Foot Garden on our campus.

Square foot gardening is a simple method of creating small, orderly, and highly productive gardens and was invented by Mel Bartholomew as a better way to grow a vegetable garden. It became a huge hit when he introduced the idea to the gardening public in 1981 in his book Square Foot Gardening.

This endeavor is teaching many things including math, science, teamwork, and an understanding of where food comes from. Students will be planting vegetables, herbs, and flowers in these garden beds.

1st Grade PBL – All About Bugs

First grade students recently completed a PBL project that focused on bugs!

PBL stands for Project Based Learning and 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.

In Guided Reading, students read non-fiction books about the differences of insects and bugs. To apply what they learned, they each created clay insects to show the three segmented body parts (a head, thorax, and abdomen) of an insect.

As part of their writing lessons, the students worked on comparing and contrasting insects and bugs using a Venn Diagram.

Using topics that students are naturally interested in, like bugs, provides opportunities to use that subject matter across the curriculum and Ms. Katie was sure to do that!

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.

3rd Grade Taking Lessons Deeper With Use of Pop Culture

Third graders at The Learning Center Charter School are immersing the pop culture phenomenon of graphic novels into their everyday studies and are learning language arts, science, and art as a result.

A graphic novel is a full length story published as a book in comic-strip format. In other words, graphic novels are book length comic books and subject matter can range from mysteries to superhero stories.

Teacher Kathleen Shook noticed student interest in graphic novels and decided to embrace it as a means to teach subjects across the curriculum.  In addition to fully embracing graphic novels as a means to learn topics in language arts, students have also created their own graphic novels as part of writing assignments, illustrated them in art class, and included science lessons as part of the novels.

“My class has been really into graphic novels outside of class,” said Shook. “Bringing that excitement into other areas of study has been a fun way to engage my students and deepen their learning in other areas.”

Shook added that students have even been writing comics at home and bringing them to school to share with the class. Plus, Murphy Public Library loaned twenty new novels for the class to enjoy.

“Learning should be fun and my students have been having a blast weaving graphic novels throughout their studies each day,” said Shook.

Future Engineering Program

Starting in the 2021-22 school year, The Learning Center Charter School will be participating in the Amazon Future Engineer Program. This program provides resources and support to teachers and students in the field of computer science.

The school is expanding to include high school grades.  For the upcoming school year, ninth grade will be added.  Tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades will be added in each subsequent school year.

“The engineering program offered in partnership with Amazon will be a valuable tool we offer both our high school and middle school students,” said Ryan Bender, head of school.  Bender added that the partnership will allow teachers to introduce students to a variety of technological resources.

“This will allow us to introduce the basics of computer science including Scratch coding language,” said teacher Jessie Adams.  Adams is the current sixth – eighth grade science teacher. However, with the addition of ninth grade next school year, she will be the seventh-ninth grade science teacher.  Adams added that the curriculum provided through the partnership will also allow students to explore robotics, artificial intelligence, app development and more.

“We are excited that our middle and high school students will develop these skills and have amazing experiences like virtual visits with Amazon engineers, field trips to Amazon facilities, and ongoing opportunities for real-world experiences,” said Adams.

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.