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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Lonely mountains: The monadnocks of the inner Piedmont
This Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” explores the geology of North Carolina's monadnocks, mountains that rise individually above the surrounding topogaphy.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
North Carolina's lonely mountains
In Lonely mountains: The monadnocks of the inner Piedmont, page 1
One of the most striking sights on North Carolina's inner Piedmont is the solitary peaks or ridges that loom above the plateau's average elevation. Some of these are among the state's most visited parks: Hanging Rock, Pilot Mountain, Crowders Mountain, Stone...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
How is coastal sand formed into barrier islands?
In Small sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks, page 2
Coastal sand is organized into barrier islands when three conditions are met: There is a supply of sand sufficient to form islands; sea level is rising; and there are winds and waves with sufficient energy to move the sand around....
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Vulcan Materials Company: Joseph Andres Gutierrez Geology - Earth Science Museum and Education Center
See the museum exhibits on rocks and minerals as well as a rock quarry with large category equipment and an overlook. The center also offers wildlife habitat preservation and environmental education at a number of its quarries across the state.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Gorges Creek
In Lonely mountains: The monadnocks of the inner Piedmont, page 9
Further evidence that supports the folding theory can be found at the base of Hanging Rock, where the conveniently located Gorges Creek creates a series of waterfalls that expose the rock surfaces.
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Roan Mountain Highlands
This Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” explores the natural beauty and geological and ecological diversity of the Roan Mountain Highlands that straddle the border between North Carolina and Tennesee.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Clays of the Piedmont: Origins, recovery, and use
A “virtual field trip” through the North Carolina Piedmont and thousands of years of history explains the origin of Piedmont clays and how clay is made into pottery. With high-resolution photographs.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Composition of Pilot Mountain
In Lonely mountains: The monadnocks of the inner Piedmont, page 6
When viewed up close, the pinnacle of Pilot Mountain is seen to be made of almost horizontal layers of rock. This rock is quartzite, and the horizontal lines between the layers are bedding planes that mark the tops of the individual quartzite beds....
By Dirk Frankenberg.
More folding
In Lonely mountains: The monadnocks of the inner Piedmont, page 10
Close examination of the rock surfaces above Gorges Creek shows small-scale folds of exactly the type you would expect to find where flexible layers of rock were being dragged over one another during development of a large scale fold in the overlying layers,...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Contains information about various cultural, natural, and recreational resources located along this beautiful and historical roadway.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Gneiss and gabbro
In Roan Mountain Highlands, page 9
Figure 7 shows a close-up of the contact between the gneiss and the intruded gabbro. The gneiss is at the top. It is light colored and its surface is pocked by erosion. The gabbro is on the bottom, is darker and has a much smoother surface. The knife (shown...
By Jennifer Godwin-Wyer and Dirk Frankenberg.
McCulloch Gold Mill
Take a trip to the McCulloch Gold Mill and learn the history and geology of the Triad area. Students will love panning for gold and gemstones!
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Uses of rocks and minerals
In CareerStart lessons: Grade six, page 3.4
In this lesson plan for grade 6, students will gain an understanding of the economic importance of rocks and minerals by exploring their applications in various careers.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Science)
By April Galloway and Christine Scott.
Report of Vice-Consul R. E. Heide on the Resources, Trade and Commerce of North Carolina (1875)
An 1875 report on the population, geography, industry, and natural resources of North Carolina, with particular attention to shipping, navigation, and the production of naval stores.
Format: book (multiple pages)
A boulder of Roan Mountain gneiss
In Roan Mountain Highlands, page 7
Figure 5 shows a boulder of Roan Mountain gneiss quarried out of the mountainside and doing duty now as a persuasive "No Entry" signal to those thinking of using an off-limits Forest Service road. The bands of quartz show up nicely in this recently exposed...
By Jennifer Godwin-Wyer and Dirk Frankenberg.
Grassy bald with spruce and rhododendron
In Roan Mountain Highlands, page 10
Figure 8 shows the grassy bald at the crest of the Roan with spruce-fir forest and rhododendron. Figure 8 also signals a change in this fieldtrip's focus from geology to ecology. The grassy bald mystery deepens with views like the one shown here. The bald...
By Jennifer Godwin-Wyer and Dirk Frankenberg.
Plutonic gabbro
In Roan Mountain Highlands, page 8
Figure 6 shows the other major rock type at the crest of Roan Mountain. The dark rock in the foreground is the Bakersville gabbro described in the Introduction. It formed as a molten intrusion into the gneiss about 750 million years ago, and was carried upward...
By Jennifer Godwin-Wyer and Dirk Frankenberg.
Small sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks
This Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” explores the nature and structure of barrier islands with small sand volume, on which built structures are highly susceptible to damage from hurricanes.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Plutonic gabbro
Plutonic gabbro
Format: image/photograph
Jocassee Gorges: Temperate rain forests of the Blue Ridge
A Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” that explores the geology and botanical diversity of the Jocassee Gorges region of North Carolina's mountains.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)