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

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.

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Related pages

  • Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest: North Carolina's system of Educational State Forests has been developed to "teach children and adults about the complex, interdependent ecosystems which make up a forest and which can be managed for a multitude of uses."
  • Lake Waccamaw State Park: Students will learn about the Carolina Bays, "one of the greatest geological mysteries of the eastern United States" when they visit Lake Waccamaw State Park.

  • North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences: Resources for learning about natural North Carolina including animals, snakes, insects and ecosystems.

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Plant and animals must coexist to survive. They depend upon each other because each provides something the other needs. Trees provide shade, a place to live, food for nourishment. Animals spread the seeds of plants and help with pollination. This sampling of educational resources found on LEARN NC will help students see the complex connectedness between plants and animals.

Lesson Plans

Ecosystem problem solving
Students will apply their knowledge of ecosystems and the interdependence of plants and animals to creatively solve problems.
Eco-Cycle: Finding the parts of an ecosystem
In this Xpeditions lesson, students explore the Eco-Cycle Station to better understand ecosystems in Hawaii, as well as the plants and animals that make up the ecosystems. Activities in this lesson engage students in development of map-reading skills, online research, and whole class discussion.
Clarification Writing - What could I add to the NC Zoo?
Students will apply their knowledge of clarification writing and address “What Animal or Plant Would You Add to the NC Zoo.” Students must research their plant or animal to determine if the zoo ecosystem could support the species. In addition, the student must provide reasons and explanations to support their choice. This is a follow-up activity to a unit of study on ecosystems/biomes.
Students will observe decomposition in a pile of grass clippings and in a compost heap over time.


Freshwater Ecosystems
Fresh Water topics include water, watershed, fish, amphibians, rivers and streams, ponds and lakes, wetlands, aquatic plants, and water pollution.
NatureWorks: Nature Files
Learn about habitats, biomes, migration, coloration, food/energy chains, and all the inter-related aspects of natural communities. Information on over 120 North American animals.
The Rainforest
provides portraits of the trees, plants, birds, animals and insects of the rainforest. It sketches the relationships which link these organisms together in an intricate web of life.