K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Related pages

  • The road taken: This lesson will introduce and reinforce main transportation routes for people and goods in North Carolina. Students will enhance map skills including using cardinal and intermediate directions, using a mileage chart, and planning transportation routes. Students will reinforce their knowledge of resources found in North Carolina as well as name and identify the three regions of North Carolina.
  • The regions of North Carolina: In this lesson, students analyze the differences between North Carolina's geographical regions: the Mountains, the Piedmont, and the Inner and Outer Coastal Plain.
  • Finding your way in North Carolina: Students will become familiar with the regions and local features of North Carolina and be able to write directions for others to find these features on a map.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • identify the three regions of North Carolina.
  • research information about these regions.
  • present the information orally and visually as an advertisement for their region.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

4 Weeks


  • Blank map of North Carolina for each group of students
  • Textbook or other trade books about North Carolina
  • Encyclopedia
  • Non-print resources
  • Internet
  • List of items to research
  • Materials for visual presentation
  • Chart paper and markers for KWL chart
  • Note-taking booklets or some other note-taking strategy

Technology resources

computer with access to the internet


  1. Read section of Social Studies book related to the three regions of North Carolina. For example, pages 52-73 of Living in Our World text.
  2. Divide the class into cooperative groups and give them a map of North Carolina. Note that the Coastal Plain is subdivided into two parts.
  3. Review note-taking skills.
    • Students use the questions that are formulated during the brainstorming session to begin their research. New questions that are generated during the project are added to the KWL chart that is displayed in the room.
    • Questions and answers are recorded in a note-taking booklet. (My students create their own note-taking booklet. One booklet per group. By only allowing one booklet per group, then they have to work as a group.)
    • I allow them to design their booklet in any shape or form that they want to use, but they may only put one question on each page. This allows the student to take notes and also record the bibliographic information about the resource used, such as, title of the resource, author, copyright date, publisher, and page number or url if a webpage is used. All the information about a resource must be listed the first time it is used. From then on, they may record the only the title, author’s last name, and page number. I also allow my students to abbreviate certain words, such as Ency. for Encyclopedia.
    • Answers to the questions must be short answer or quotation marks must be included in answers that are copied from a resource.
  4. Review copyright laws:
    • Students may not use any graphics, pictures, text without citing the resource. Even when my students record their short answers in their note-taking booklets they must include the bibliographic information on that particular page in the booklet. Direct quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks and the resource must be noted. Pictures or graphics from web sites may be used by students if the site states that student use is permissible or the students must contact the author or webmaster and ask permission to use the picture or graphic. We e-mail the author or webmaster as a class and ask permission.
    • David Warlick’s Landmarks for Schools website has a great permission form, Landmarks for Schools by David Warlick
  5. Review Acceptable Use Policy guidelines. Our district has an acceptable use policy that each student, teacher, and staff member must sign before gaining access to the Internet. Each student and their parent agrees to abide by the policy.
  6. Teacher and students must decide upon a checklist or rubric for assessment.
  7. Decide a note-taking strategy for students.
  8. Review and practice oral presentation skills.


  1. Each group will locate the three regions of North Carolina and label the regions on a North Carolina map: Coastal Plain (Tidewater and the Inner Coastal Plain), Piedmont, and Mountains.
  2. Explain to the class that after researching the regions of North Carolina they will chose a region to advertise as the perfect vacation spot in North Carolina.
  3. The class will then brainstorm a list of questions about their region to research and create a KWL chart (What we Know, What we want to Know, What we Learned). I ask the groups to brainstorm a list of 5 questions and then we use each group’s questions to compile a class list. I also include in this list the following questions:
    • Name the major cities in your region and tell why they are important.
    • Give the absolute and relative location of an important place in your region. Example: Jockey’s Ridge, N.C. State Zoo, Mt. Mitchell.
    • Name the major landforms, bodies of water, and natural resources in the region.
    • Tell how the location of your region influences the life of the people.
    • Pretend that you are advertising your region as a vacation wonderland. How would you convince the audience why they should visit your region?
    • Compare your region with the other regions.
  4. After brainstorming, formulate a list of questions to be used for the research.
  5. The class makes a list of resources that they think will be useful.
  6. Allow the students to choose the region of the state that they would prefer to research.
  7. Divide the class into cooperative groups according to the region of the state that they chose. Assign each member of the cooperative group a job each time they meet: recorder, time keeper, monitor, leader, and collector. (My groups take turns doing different jobs each time.):
    • The recorder is the note-taker for the group. This person actually does the writing or drawing. Students may also draw an answer. If a drawing is very detailed, the recorder may chose another person from the group to draw the picture. This picture is then stapled to the booklet. This allows the others to continue with the other questions.
    • The time keeper keeps an eye on the clock to let everyone know how much time they must finish. I tell everyone how much time they have by writing on the board the time we will finish this session. Sometimes, they have to report back to the class what they have found so far.
    • The collector gathers all print resources and puts them away. My students may only use one resource at a time.
    • The leader reports to the class what information was found.
    • The monitor makes sure that everyone is participating.
  8. Students will work in groups to research specific questions (from #3) and record their findings.
  9. Students will share their findings with their group and check for accuracy and compare the information that they find from different resources.
  10. As new facts are discovered, they are added to the KWL chart as a whole class activity.
  11. After the KWL chart is complete, individually or in groups, the students will design a method of presenting the information as an advertisement to convince the audience why they should visit their region (Example: TV Commercial, Brochure, Radio Advertisement, Video, Skit, Song or a Play).
  12. Practice their presentation.
  13. Students will present their project to the class.


  • The teacher will check the research items.
  • The teacher will check for individual and group participation.
  • Students will self-assess their project.
  • The teacher will check the oral and visual presentation.
  • See attached rubric.

Supplemental information


Sometimes, I have had students create a visual presentation for their project. Some of the creative presentation ideas were brochures, shadow boxes, booklets and murals.

This lesson took 4 weeks to complete. The students worked 45 minutes each day.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • 3.RP.1 Apply a research process as part of collaborative research. 3.RP.1.1 Implement a research process by collaborating effectively with other students.
        • 3.SE.1 Understand issues related to the safe, ethical, and responsible use of information and technology resources. 3.SE.1.1 Understand the guidelines for responsible use of technology hardware. 3.SE.1.2 Understand ethical behavior (copyright, not plagiarizing,...
      • Social Studies (2010)
        • 3.G.1 Understand the earth’s patterns by using the 5 themes of geography: (location, place, human-environment interaction, movement and regions). 3.G.1.1 Find absolute and relative locations of places within the local community and region. 3.G.1.2 Compare...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Information Skills (2000)

Grade 4

  • Goal 2: The learner will IDENTIFY and USE criteria for excellence to evaluate information and formats.
    • Objective 2.04: Develop and express personal criteria for selecting resources for information needs and enjoyment.
    • Objective 2.05: Determine usefulness of information resources.
  • Goal 5: The learner will COMMUNICATE reading, listening, and viewing experiences.
    • Objective 5.03: Collaborate with others, both in person and through technologies, to identify information problems and to design, develop and evaluate information products and solutions.

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 4

  • Goal 1: The learner will apply the five themes of geography to North Carolina and its people.
    • Objective 1.01: Locate, in absolute and relative terms, major landforms, bodies of water and natural resources in North Carolina.
    • Objective 1.02: Describe and compare physical and cultural characteristics of the regions.
    • Objective 1.03: Suggest some influences that location has on life in North Carolina such as major cities, recreation areas, industry, and farms.
    • Objective 1.04: Evaluate ways the people of North Carolina used, modified, and adapted to the physical environment, past and present.