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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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.
Amazing liquid conductor
Students will mix a variety of liquid solutions together to see if they will light a light bulb in a electrical circuit. They will be able to identify liquid electrical conductors and nonconductors. Also they will be able to identify that liquid solutions that contain a noticeable amount of acid or salt are good conductors of electricity. Each group of students will make a closed circuit to test their solutions.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 and 6 Science)
By Martha Martin.
A perspective on inquiry
In this interview, Norman Budnitz, cofounder of the Center for Inquiry Based Learning, talks about inquiry and how to teach with it in a K–12 classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Waverly Harrell.
Creating and understanding circles and their parts
This lesson will offer a hands-on opportunity to explore and construct circles. Students will develop a definition for identifying the parts of a circle such as the center, radius, diameter, chord, and circumference. Students will use compasses and rulers in constructing these parts of a circle.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–7 Mathematics)
By Patricia Tingen.
A Ram Sam Sam: A Moroccan tune with a twist
Students will enjoy singing, playing rhythm instuments, reading notations, and performing a Moroccan tune in two different musical styles on student keyboards.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Music Education)
By Marie Batten.
Termites, ink pens and pheromones
Students will investigate the behavior of termites to understand and use the scientific method.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science)
By Jacki Clark.
Describing Japanese screens and scrolls through images
The second part of a larger unit on talking and writing about, as well as creating, Japanese screen and scroll paintings. The purpose of this unit plan is to introduce descriptive aspects of art criticism, while teaching the art and culture of Japan. Students create illustrations of classmates' descriptions of Japanese screens or scrolls.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Visual Arts Education)
By Michelle Harrell.
Solar sizzlers
Group projects of building solar cookers or collectors provide arena for learning about energy sources and transformation. Gathering data for comparison and analysis exercises students' graphing skills and thinking.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 Information Skills, Mathematics, and Science)
By Larry Parker.
Scientific inquiry for elementary teachers
This online course asks teachers to think about the scientific process and how it applies to teaching science in the elementary classroom.
Format: article/online course
Bringing current science into the classroom
In Bringing current science into the classroom, page 1
How your students can experience current environmental research without leaving the classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Michele Kloda and Dana Haine.
Benjamin Banneker
In The Walking Classroom, page 10
In this lesson for fifth grade language arts and science, students learn about famous inventor, scientist, astronomer, and writer, Benjamin Banneker.
Format: lesson plan
Balloon flinkers
In Design technology: Children's engineering, page 4.4
Students will try to determine how much weight a balloon gondola can carry while it “flinks” in the air for 20 seconds. To be a successful balloon “flinker,” no part of the balloon or the gondola can touch either the ceiling or the floor during the 20 seconds.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 Science)
By Erin Denniston.
Investigative science for middle school teachers
The online course "Investigative Science for Middle School Teachers" requires participants to think about the scientific process and how it applies to teaching science in the middle school classroom.
Format: article/online course
Montessori
The Montessori philosophy is a holistic view of children that builds on natural curiosity and develops a love of learning by creating environments which foster the fulfillment of children's highest potential. History of Montessori In her medical practice,...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
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.
Float, sink, flink!
In this lesson, students will learn to make things flink, meaning they neither float to the top nor sink to the bottom of a fluid. They will discover that whether an object floats or sinks depends not only on the properties of the object itself, but also on the properties of the fluid (either gas or liquid) in which it is situated.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2–4 Science)
By Erin Denniston.
Hands-on biology
Hands-on science exploration clarifies difficult concepts and engages learners who have difficulty in more traditional classrooms. This article looks at an inquiry-based classroom that meets the needs of all of its students.
Format: article/best practice
By Waverly Harrell.
WBT Charlotte in the golden age of radio
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 1.12
Article about the history and development of North Carolina's first radio station, WBT Charlotte, which played an important role in the history of country music.
Format: article
By Emily Jack.
Reading primary sources: An introduction for students
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 2.1
A step-by-step guide for students examining primary sources, with specific questions divided into five layers of questioning.
Format: article/learner's guide
By Kathryn Walbert.
Reading is for the boys (and girls)!
This WebQuest for teachers looks at the difficult issue of how to get — and keep — boys interested in reading. It guides you through the research, then looks at text selection and pedagogy and helps you find specific strategies for narrowing the adolescent "literacy gap."
Format: article
By Kimberly Bowen.