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.

From the education reference

critical thinking
Complex thinking based on the acquisition and evaluation of new knowledge. The focus of learning is the pursuit of logical conclusions drawn from facts and evidence. The goal is for students to develop skills that help them critically assess information and avoid indoctrination into received wisdom.
critical literacy
The ability to read texts in an active, reflective manner in order to better understand power, inequality, and injustice in human relationships.
NWREL model of thinking
A simplified version of Bloom's Taxonomy developed by the NorthWest Regional Education Laboratory (NWREL) in 1989. Levels of thinking in this model are recall, comparison, analysis, inference, and evaluation.
higher order thinking
Complex thinking that goes beyond basic recall of facts, such as evaluation and invention, enabling students to retain information and to apply problem-solving solutions to real-world problems.
North Carolina thinking skills
Model of thinking skills adopted by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in 1994. Lists seven levels of thinking skills from simplest to most complex: knowledge, organizing, applying, analyzing, generating, integrating, and evaluating.

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Critical thinking in science
This unit of inquiry-based lessons teaches eighth-grade students to utilize and develop critical thinking skills. Students will create testable questions; design and perform experiments; collect, organize, and analyze data; and use these results to decide on the next step in the scientific process.
Format: lesson plan (multiple pages)
Arts of persuasion
Strategies for teaching middle school students to think critically, analyze persuasive arguments, and use speaking and writing to persuade others.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Map skills and higher-order thinking
This series of articles looks at map skills as a kind of visual literacy, considering what maps are, how they're made, and the higher-order thinking skills students need to move from simply decoding maps to fully comprehending them.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Problem centered math
Why students must build their own understanding of mathematics if they are to be able to use it in the real world, and how teachers can guide them in doing so.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Why inquiry?
The rationale for using discovery learning methods in teaching science.
The Paideia Seminar: Active thinking through dialogue
This teacher training manual, provided by The National Paideia Center, provides a valuable set of resources for educators who want to begin using the Paideia approach.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Tobacco bag stringing: Educator's guide
Elementary lesson plans Elementary lesson plans based upon Tobacco Bag Stringing: Life and Labor in the Depression will help students understand what tobacco bag stringing was, study primary source documents and visuals,...
Format: lesson plan
Educator's guide: The arrival of Swiss immigrants
Teaching suggestions to help your students synthesize the information in the article "The Arrival of Swiss Immigrants."
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.
Critical thinking and art with The Snowy Day
This lesson will focus on the illustrations from The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The students will describe what makes illustrations worthy of a Caldecott Award. In addition, the students will complete an art project that will allow for creative critical thinking to compliment the illustrations in the book.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 Visual Arts Education and Information Skills)
By Caryn Levy.
Social Studies Methods: K-5 Model Lessons
In Preservice teacher education resources, page 2.3
Essential Standards History Critical Understandings: understanding change over time, narrative nature of history, sources of history, historical thinking, North Carolina history, United States History My...
Format: article/teacher's guide
It's an ad!
How do marketers target kids — and how can we teach kids to know the difference between advertising and fact? These websites provide strategies to build critical thinking skills for media literate kids.
By Melissa Thibault.
Primary source letters lesson plan
In Tobacco bag stringing: Secondary activity two, page 1
This is one of a series of activities that will help educators use the Tobacco Bag Stringing project materials in their classrooms. Throughout the series students will learn about tobacco stringing, study primary source...
Format: lesson plan
By Pauline S. Johnson.
Mathematics Methods: K-5 Model Lessons
In Preservice teacher education resources, page 4.3
Common Core State Standards Counting and Cardinality Critical Understandings: number names, count sequence, comparing numbers Counting Fun (Grade K)...
Format: article/teacher's guide
Media Literacy
How do you know if something is true? How can you figure out if someone is trying to influence or sell to you? Put yourself in their shoes and consider the source! Check out this selection of websites from our Best of the Web.
Format: bibliography/help
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.
Resources for looking at art
A guide to some of the best websites, activities, and print resources for building visual literacy through the study of art.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Reading images: an introduction to visual literacy
Images are all around us, and the ability to interpret them meaningfully is a vital skill for students to learn.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault and David Walbert.
Social Studies Methods: 6-8 Model Lessons
In Preservice teacher education resources, page 2.4
Essential Standards History Critical Understandings: using historical thinking, expansion and decline of civilizations, modern societies, global interactions, North Carolina history, US history Name...
Format: article/teacher's guide
Tobacco bag stringing: Elementary activity three
In this activity for grades 3–6, students will read and evaluate primary source letters from the Tobacco Bag Stringing collection. This should be done after Activity one, which is the introductory activity about tobacco bag stringing.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–5 Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.
North Carolina's physical and cultural geography
In Two worlds: Educator's guide, page 1.3
In this lesson students will make assumptions about the influence of geography on various aspects of historical human and cultural geography.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.