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.

Daniell DiFrancesca is a science teacher at Wakefield Middle School in the Wake County Public School System. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught science in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Fairfax, Virginia before coming to Wakefield in 2007. Daniell teaches eighth grade science and is the Science Department Chair.

Resources created by Daniell DiFrancesca

Cells
In Critical thinking in science, page 7
This lesson introduces students to organelles, cells, and characteristics of the kingdoms. Students will begin their investigation at the organelle level and work up to the kingdom level. Students will use the observations and information they gather to make conclusions.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7–9 English Language Arts and Science)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
Change over time
In Critical thinking in science, page 6
Students will use satellite images, population data, and local city data to study human impact on the environment.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
Experimenting with pH
In Critical thinking in science, page 4
This lesson introduces pH, and the effect of concentration and volume on pH. Students will use common foods for the experiment, helping them to make connections between pH, real-life things, and even the relationship between pH and taste. Students design their own experiment, which strengthens their inquiry skills.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–10 English Language Arts and Science)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
Introduction to experimental design
In Critical thinking in science, page 2
Students will take the Pepsi-Coke Challenge and, at the same time, learn about the scientific method. While practicing their critical-thinking skills in an inquiry-based experiment, students will define and apply experimental design vocabulary . This lesson is written using the 5E learning model.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Science)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
Microbiology and infectious disease
In Critical thinking in science, page 8
Students will research the different causes of infectious diseases. They will look at North Carolina-specific data on a disease and use this information to create a monitoring plan and an eradication plan for the disease.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Science)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
The story of pi
In Critical thinking in science, page 3
In this lesson, students design an experiment to test the importance of decimal places by rounding the value of pi. The collected data is used to answer questions and write a short editorial.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7–8 English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
Water quality
In Critical thinking in science, page 5
Students will experiment with water quality and several common pollutants. They will focus on their local water source and determine the effects of their actions on the quality of their water source and the organisms that rely on it. Students will design a water-monitoring plan to evaluate the health of the water source.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Science)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
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