LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Not every lesson plan looks alike, but all lesson plans share certain basic parts. This guide to LEARN NC’s lesson plan template explains what we are looking for in a lesson plan and how you can make your lesson plan as usable as possible to other teachers on the web.


The title of your lesson plan should be concise, clear, and descriptive. It should invite teachers to take a closer look at the plan. Remember that teachers may see only the title and a short abstract of your plan in a page of search results, so they need to know what to expect if they click on it!

This field is required.


Use the introduction to tell us a little about your lesson plan. Briefly describe the instructional techniques, what students are to learn, and any activities or assessments that you think are particularly noteworthy.

This field is recommended.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are what students are expected to learn after completing the lesson plan.

  • Learning outcomes should be closely related to the curriculum alignment but should not simply repeat goals and objectives of the Standard Course of Study. Learning outcomes may be broader, address particular aspects of curriculum objectives, or teach the curriculum in a special context.
  • Each learning outcome should be clearly reflected in the activities and assessed at the conclusion of the lesson.

This field is required.

Curriculum alignment

Curriculum alignment is the relationship of the lesson plan to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. List specific goals and objectives that this plan addresses, such as “Grade 3 Social Studies, Goal 1, Objective 2” or “High School Biology, Goal 3, Objective 4.”

  • Your lesson plan must address at least one objective of a current curriculum, and it is a rare plan that addresses more than three objectives at once.
  • If the plan is appropriate to multiple grade levels or courses, list goals and objectives for each grade level or course.
  • Remember that all objectives you list here must be addressed in the learning outcomes, activities, and assessment!

This field is required.

Classroom time required

Classroom time required is, obviously, the amount of time a teacher will need to schedule for this lesson plan. You might specify minutes, hours, class periods, or even weeks.

  • Consider different scheduling constraints. If you’ve designed your lesson for a block schedule, mention that (“one block period”). You might also offer a suggestion in the activities or supplemental information for breaking the plan into two traditional periods.
  • If the plan is intended to last for several days, explain the time requirements as specifically as possible (for example, “two hours over a week” or “three consecutive class periods”).

This field is required.

Materials needed

Materials needed include resources used by both teacher and student, including books, handouts, paper and pencils, art supplies, and so on.

  • If a specific book is needed or recommended, provide a full citation (author, title, publisher) so that teachers can easily locate it.
  • If you use handouts or specific materials for presentation, please make them available as separate files.
  • If the lesson plan requires that the classroom be arranged in a particular way, mention that here.

This field is recommended.

Technology resources

The technology needed section includes technology resources used by both teacher and students, including computers and related resources (internet connections, printers, and specific software such as a word processing application or PowerPoint), scanners and digital cameras, projectors, VCR or DVD player, and so on.

  • Be as specific as possible when listing software and hardware requirements.
  • Specify how many of each resource is needed (one computer per student? per group of students?).
  • Provide alternatives if possible. For example, if you teach this plan with one computer per student, try to offer a way to teach the plan with students in groups (in activities or supplemental information) and note here that the plan can be so adapted.

This field is recommended.


The pre-activities are what teachers and students need to do before beginning the lesson. They may be as simple as prerequisites — concepts or topics that should already have been covered. They may include activities that will help stimulate students’ background knowledge of the topic, refresh their memory of previous lessons related to this one, or teach critical vocabulary. Or, they may list things the teacher needs to do to prepare to teach this lesson.

This field is recommended.


Activities explain step by step what the teacher and students will do during the lesson. They should be as specific as possible. Consider the following:

  • If the teacher is to explain something, note key points she/he should cover.
  • Similarly, if there is to be a discussion, note the goals for the discussion — what conclusions might or should students reach?
  • If a teacher doesn’t have certain materials or is pressed for time, are there steps that can be left out?
  • Remember that many teachers who use this plan will not share your background or experience. Are there instructional techniques you use with which your readers might not be familiar? If there are additional resources or background information you think would benefit beginning teachers, include them in the Supplemental Resources field.

This field is required.


The assessment explains how the teacher will determine whether or to what extent students met the learning outcomes listed at the beginning of the lesson plan. It should explain the means of assessment as well as the standards by which students are to be assessed.

  • If you use a specific test or quiz, please attach it as a separate file.
  • If assessment is oral, explain what words, ideas, or cues the teacher can use to evaluate student understanding.

This field is required.


Modifications are ways a teacher could adapt this plan to teach special audiences, such as students with learning disabilities, gifted and talented children, or English language learners. It is not necessary to suggest modifications to your plan, but it is helpful to teachers with diverse classrooms.

If you provide modifications:

  • Explain what audience the modifications are intended for.
  • List specific activities for this audience, and provide or link to any special resources needed.
  • If possible or necessary, explain how the teacher can adapt classroom management strategies to use this plan with multiple audiences at the same time.
  • Provide alternative assessments in the field below.

This field is optional.

Alternative assessments

Alternative assessments are means of assessment for special audiences, such as students with learning disabilities or English language learners.

  • If you provided modifications above, provide an alternative assessment for each modification or special audience.
  • If you did not provide modifications above, explain what audience this alternative assessment is intended for.

This field is optional.

Supplemental information

Supplemental information is anything that teachers should or might consider when teaching this lesson. If there are resources that may be used but that are not required for the lesson, note those as well.

Supplemental information and resources might include:

  • additional resources or websites that could be used for in-class presentations or student research if time permits
  • ideas for extensions or extra credit
  • background reading for teachers on the content of the lesson
  • further discussion of instructional strategies or classroom management issues related to this lesson (or links to that information on the web)

Be as generous as you can! Remember that beginning teachers will not have your experience or knowledge of available resources and will benefit from any additional help you provide.

This field is optional.

Critical vocabulary

Critical vocabulary includes words and terms that students need to know in order to meet the learning outcomes for this lesson plan. If modifications are provided for particular audiences (such as English language learners), a special vocabulary list may be provided here.

For each term, please provide a definition or the URL of a website where teachers can obtain definitions.

This field is recommended.


Related websites are websites to be used by the teacher or students in the course of this lesson plan. They may be required or optional. Related websites may provide:

  • background information for the teacher about the content of the lesson
  • reading material for students
  • resources the teacher can use with students in the classroom, such as images or multimedia
  • reference material for the teacher about instructional strategies or classroom management issues referred to in the plan
  • resources for students to use independently

For each website, please provide a title, URL, and brief explanation of how it relates to this lesson plan.

Important! An external website should not be required for a teacher to use your plan unless it is a highly stable, institutionally maintained resource.

This field is optional.


Comments may include anything you think teachers should know or consider that doesn’t fit into the other parts of the lesson plan. They may include:

  • an explanation of how you developed the plan, or why you wrote it in a particular way
  • possible extensions or ways to shorten the plan
  • reflections on the experience of teaching this lesson
  • students’ comments or reactions

This field is optional.

Author Info

Under author info, tell us about yourself! Include the following:

  • where you teach (school, system, city)
  • what you teach (grade levels/subjects)
  • how long you have been teaching
  • special certifications, degrees, experience, or other qualifications that lend credibility to your lesson plan

This field is required.

A note on attachments

You may have supplemental materials that you want to include with your lesson plan such as worksheets, tests, handouts, spreadsheets, even images. Don’t hesitate to submit these with your lesson plan. Just be sure to send them in formats that can be easily opened and don’t require any unusual software.

If possible, we will reformat all lesson plan content for display on the web, and make it available for separate download only if absolutely necessary.

Model lesson plans

Want to see it all in action? Take a look at some of our model lesson plans!

Mountain dialect: Reading between the spoken lines
This lesson plan uses Chapter 13 of Our Southern Highlanders (available online) as a jumping-off point to help students achieve social studies and English language arts objectives while developing an appreciation of the uniqueness of regional speech patterns, the complexities of ethnographic encounter, and the need to interrogate primary sources carefully to identify potential biases and misinformation in them. Historical content includes American slavery, the turn-of-the-century, and the Great Depression.
Overhand throwing
After this lesson, the students should be able to perform and identify critical components of overhand throwing: pulling arm back while rotating an upper body, leaning L, step with the opposite foot, throwing (de-rotating and releasing a ball), and following through.
The migration of the monarch butterfly
The students will listen to and discuss books about butterflies and the migration of monarch butterflies to Mexico in order to integrate science, social studies, and language arts.