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.

7th Grade E-STEAM – Catapults & Roller Coasters

Seventh grade students learned about force and motion in a fun hands-on way. Students designed, engineered, built, and troubleshooted both roller coasters and catapults!

Building and testing both catapults and roller coasters was a good way to learn about the relationship between force, mass and acceleration.

Students also learned about accuracy, precision, and angles.

As a result, students are now able to describe how force affects the motion of a projectile, explain and compare the meanings of accuracy and precision, and explain the optimum angle for launching a projectile the farthest distance. Plus, the students had a total blast.

4th Grade Coding Project

Fourth grade students participated in an extended Thanksgiving project that had them programming computers to make tiny robots do what they wanted them to do.

Students used Ozobots which are little toy robots that blends the physical and digital worlds — and teach kids programming.  Ozobots can identify lines, colors, and codes on both digital surfaces, such as an iPad, and physical surfaces, such as paper.

1st Graders Outside Learning Science and Social Studies

Ask a first grade student at The Learning Center Charter School where their favorite classroom is and they will tell you outside. That is because students at the school spend time outdoors daily learning everything from math and science to social students and language arts.

Elementary science teacher Emily Willey takes her students outside at every possible opportunity. This fall she has had her first grade students outside participating in fall activities as students planted pansies to learn about cold weather crops.  Students also donated old clothes and helped make a scarecrow for the garden by gathering leaves and stuffing the scarecrow.

“Being outside engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn,” said Willey.  She added that even though students loved playing in the leaves and getting their hands dirty in the garden, the time was also spent learning about weather, why some plants can withstand cold temperatures better than others, and autumn cultural activities.

“Our E-STEAM curriculum is taught using Project Based Learning activities that take place in a variety of spaces, both indoor and outdoor, on campus,” said Willey.