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 Celebrated the Season

Prior to the holiday break, students in second grade learned about many different countries and their cultural celebrations during the winter season.

Students worked on a Holidays Around the World project and invited families into the classroom to share the experience.

Students shared their hard work with their families. They also gifted them with a special holiday photograph and card, shared in holidays snacks and treats and ended the visit with a special holiday performance.

Second grade has had an amazing few weeks learning about cultural celebrations around the world. It was an honor to share the experience with student families.

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.

Art and History in Fifth Grade

Fifth graders recently made paper mache Trojan horses as part of their social studies on ancient Greece. As a school that works to foster an E-STEAM environment, mixing a hands-on art project with a study of history is a perfect example of how we do it.

E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art & agriculture and math.

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Living History Museum 2019

Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure, event or place and presented information about it. Many students essentially “became” that historical figure as they dressed, acted and spoke as though they were that person.

For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit.

Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived.  Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.

5th Grade Social Studies — Civil War

Fifth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School completed their studies of the Civil War on April 26th but students didn’t want the unit to end.

Jay Ward, fifth grade teacher, developed a multi-layered social studies simulation that required students to imagine they were a soldier who just volunteered for the Civil War. The class was divided into Union and Confederate soldiers and grouped to represent different state infantries.

“Once students were assigned their regiments, they had to research what battle flags looked like and replicate one for their regiment flag,” said Ward.   “Students then marched around campus with their battle flags and we recreated the Battle of Oak Grove.”

To simulate the Battle of Oak Grove, students rolled dice to determine if they fired their weapons, were injured or deserted. They would roll again and use an injury table created for the simulation to determine what injuries they sustained, if they were healed, died, received amputations or were sent home due to injuries.

Recreating the battle took several class days.  Every day after the simulation, the students had to write letters home as a soldier and explain circumstances, outcomes and daily struggles they faced on the front lines of the Civil War.

“My students were so engaged in this learning process and figuring out exactly what it was like to be part of the Civil War,” said Ward.  “This project really allowed us to explore the subject on a deep level.”

4th Grade Learns to Clog as Part of Social Studies Focus on North Carolina

Students in fourth grade across the state have a special emphasis on North Carolina history as part of their social studies curriculum. This year our Fourth Graders learned to clog as part of this emphasis.

Clogging is an American dance form that began in the Appalachian Mountains and now enjoys widespread popularity throughout the United States and around the world.

The students performed a clogging dance to the song “Cotton Eyed Joe” at the annual talent show on April 4th. They did a fantastic job too!

Students Study Science & Social Studies in One Project

Third grade students at The Learning Center Charter School completed a cross curricular study of the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush in March. Their studies included standards in both social studies and science.

Students learned about the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush as part of their social studies curriculum. They learned about specific land forms and water bodies as part of their science curriculum. Their teachers teamed together to create a hands-on project that blended the two together beautifully.

Gina Stafford teaches social studies to the class while Emily Willey teaches science. Working as a team, the two teachers asked the students to create 3D models that included land forms and bodies of water they studied in science with the real life route that people took on the Oregon Trail during the time of westward expansion.

Students used salt dough and cardboard to create their landforms following the guidelines for both science and social studies.

“It’s one thing to study a subject and a whole other thing to relate it to particular events in history,” said Stafford. “Students were surprised to learn about the physical obstacles people faced while traveling west in the search for gold.”