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

discovery learning
Learning that takes place, not through instruction, but through examination, analysis, or experimentation.
service learning
Intentional combination of community service objectives and learning opportunities that benefits both the recipient and provider of the service. Student service learning projects should be structured to link learning tasks to self-reflection so that they enrich learning, strengthen communities, and teach civic responsibility.
learning disability
A discrepancy between expected achievement and observed achievement, also known as "unexpected underachievement."
learning contract
An agreement between a teacher and a student regarding how that student will achieve specified learning goals or objectives.
collaborative learning
An umbrella term for the variety of approaches and models in education that involve the shared intellectual efforts by students working in small groups to accomplish a goal or complete a task.
cooperative learning
Instructional method in which students work together in small, heterogeneous groups to complete a problem, project, or other instructional goal, while teachers act as guides or facilitators. This method works to reinforce a student’s own learning as well as the learning of his or her fellow group members.
blended learning
A student-centered approach to creating a learning experience whereby the learner interacts with other students, with the instructor, and with content through thoughtful integration of online and face-to-face environments.
project-based learning
Teaching approach that engages students in sustained, collaborative real-world investigations. Projects are organized around a driving question, and students participate in a variety of tasks that seek to meaningfully address this question.
Dimensions of Learning model
Model of learning developed by Marzano et al (1988) that links content area knowledge, metacognition, and critical and creative thinking with a taxonomy of thinking skills and thinking processes.
digital game-based learning
Instructional method that incorporates educational content or learning principles into video games with the goal of engaging learners. Applications of digital game-based learning draw upon the constructivist theory of education.
problem-based learning
Model of instruction in which the teacher poses an authentic problem for student resolution. PBL may be one among many strategies in a classroom or an entire curricular and instructional approach. In the course of problem-solving, students work cooperatively in groups to learn content and skills related to real world problems. The teacher acts as a facilitator to learning.

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Math for multiple intelligences
How a middle-school math teacher realized she was boring and jump-started her career — and her students — by using thematic planning, emphasizing problem solving, and teaching to multiple intelligences.
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)
Discovery learning
This reference article explains the theory of discovery learning and discusses its history and its use in the classroom.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Why inquiry?
The rationale for using discovery learning methods in teaching science.
Discovery Place KIDS—Huntersville
This innovative children’s museum in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina sparks imagination and learning through play for children from birth—age seven.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Discovering Pi
This lesson introduces students to Pi through the discovery method of instruction. Students practice simple measuring skills to discover the relationship between the circumference and diameter of circular objects (Pi).They will be able to use this concept to find the circumference of any circle when the diameter is given.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 and 8 Mathematics)
By Betty Shell.
Discovery Place KIDS—Rockingham
Children CAN be a firefighter, a chef or an inventor, build a castle, create a masterpiece or fix a car. The can visit a farm, experiment with science or explore the great outdoors at the new Discovery Place KIDS in Rockingham, North Carolina.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Discovery Place
Discovery Place offers hands-on activities in all areas of science for students from preschool through grade eight and professional development opportunities for educators.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
The learning cycle
A three-part model of scientific inquiry that encourages students to develop their own understanding of a scientific concept, explore and deepen that understanding, and then apply the concept to new situations.
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
North Carolina A&T University Farm
Discover Agriculture provides an interactive experience for students to learn about agricultural science including farming with the environment in mind.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Geometry and art: Art museum pre-visit
This lesson is the first of a three-part unit integrating math, writing and visual arts. In this discovery learning activity, students look at and compare two works of art. The paintings are quite different, but they contain many examples of geometric shapes. Students then complete a comment sheet, explaining what is similar and different about the works of art. This lesson can be used alone or used to prepare students for an art museum visit.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 Visual Arts Education)
By Loretta Hopper.
Rethinking Reports
Creative research-based assignments provide alternatives to the President Report, Animal Report, and Famous Person Report that ask students to think about old topics in new ways, work collaboratively, and develop products that support a variety of learning styles.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Animal environments: Day one
Students will group animals using common characteristics. Students will develop an understanding of animal adaptations. This lesson was designed to be used with the lesson "Diamante Poetry Using Environments: Day two."
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 Science)
By Cheri Cole.
Discovering North Carolina: A colonial map webquest
In North Carolina maps, page 2.5
In this lesson, students engage in a webquest in which they take on the role of a seventeenth-century explorer commissioned by the King of England to collect information about the area he intends to call North Carolina. Through this activity, students identify the geographic aspects that influenced exploration and settlement and connect narratives with geographic locations for topics including discovery, Native Americans, and politics.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Jennifer Job.
Webquest: The journeys and journals of John Lederer
In North Carolina maps, page 3.4
In this lesson, students complete a webquest in which they study maps in relation to primary source texts to glean insights into the discovery of Western North Carolina.
Format: lesson plan (grade 11–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Jennifer Job.
Blended learning
Blended learning is a student-centered approach that integrates learning experiences in online and face-to-face environments. This article defines blended learning, discusses its history, and provides suggestions for creating an effective blended learning experience.
Format: article
By Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D..
Fire in Pythagorville: Problem-centered lessons
Students will work on problem-centered lessons which use the application of the Pythagorean theorem to put out a fire in the fictional town of Pythagorville.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Mathematics)
By Kelly Crisp.
History of atomic theory
This lesson is developed for a regular low level physical science class. In small groups, students will use media and written script to learn and teach each other about major contributions to the development of the atomic theory.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Development and Science)
By Anya Childs and Rhonda Garrett.
To know them is to teach them
We must maintain high standards and expectations, incorporate students' experiences into the curriculum, and use culturally relevant materials.
By Barbara Rush.
Student presentations in the problem-centered classroom
In Problem centered math, page 2.2
The video clip below shows students presenting their solutions to a math problem. The students worked on the problem in pairs, and several pairs of students used different methods to reach different results. A discussion results among the students as to the...
By Grayson Wheatley.