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.


It is recommended but not absolutely necessary that students have background knowledge of:

  • The digestive system and basic processes of the body
  • Types of living organisms
  • The sun as the primary energy source
  • Food chains
  • Differences between wants and needs
  • The scientific process
  • Basic computation, algebra, data, and graphing skills
  • Basics of density

Unit preparation

Commercial food chemistry and testing kits can be integrated with the lessons in this unit. Lessons may be used in sequence, stand-alone, or in whatever manner is most effective for the students in a particular classroom.

Write essential questions on chart paper. Keep charts visible during the unit so that students may add ideas as they arise.

Each student should have a science notebook or journal. Notes and other materials from each activity will be kept sequentially in the notebook. I have found that a binder works well because pages can be easily inserted and removed. Students can make title pages for the unit section in their notebook or journal. An interactive table of contents can be placed directly behind the title page. As activities are completed and content is added to the notebook, students can log these on this page.

Each day, students can set up their notebooks like the example including their names, the date, and the question of the day. QOD is an acronym for Question of the Day. The QOD for each lesson is also the title of the lesson.

science notebook entry