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

inquiry
Active approach to learning in which students investigate a problem based on a model of scientific inquiry. Students or teachers pose a problem, form hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and compare findings with initial hypotheses.

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Inquiry-based exploration of human impacts on stream ecosystems: The Mud Creek case study
This unit plan for high school earth and environmental science explores the impact of human activity on the health of streams in urban and non-urban settings. Students mimic current scientific research by measuring physical, chemical, and biological indicators of stream health.
Format: (multiple pages)
Why inquiry?
The rationale for using discovery learning methods in teaching science.
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.
Bringing current science into the classroom
Activities for middle and high school on groundwater, water quality, and environmental stewardship have students exploring current environmental research without leaving the classroom.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Teaching electricity and circuits through inquiry
Participants in this online course will learn about the science behind electric circuits and how this content can be taught through inquiry. The workshop will help teachers gain a better understanding of electricity and circuits, including conducting and insulating materials, open and closed circuits, and series and parallel circuits.
Format: article/online course
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
Reading primary sources: Newspaper editorials
This interactive guide to reading a 19th-century newspaper editorial steps through layers of questions, guiding the reader through the process of historical inquiry. This edition is one in a series of guides on reading historical primary sources.
Format: newspaper (multiple pages)
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)
Science as a verb
Inquiry science requires active relationships between students, teachers, and science. Building these relationships is a three-step process that involves thinking about inquiry as a process of science, as a pedagogical strategy, and as a set of skills and behaviors to encourage in students.
Format: article/best practice
By Amy Anderson and David Walbert.
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.
Reading primary sources: Newspaper advertisements
This interactive guide to reading classified advertisements in a 19th-century newspaper editorial steps through layers of questions, guiding the reader through the process of historical inquiry. This edition is one in a series of guides on reading historical primary sources.
Format: newspaper (multiple pages)
Scientific inquiry
In Intrigue of the Past, page 1.8
In their study of scientific inquiry, students will use an activity sheet to make inferences about what activities go on at different places in school (desk, locker, etc.) and form an hypothesis about how space is used. They will also simulate how archaeologists learn about past people by designing and conducting a research project.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–9 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
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
Reading primary sources: Letters
This interactive guide to reading an 18th-century letter steps through layers of questions, guiding the reader through the process of historical inquiry. This edition is one in a series of guides on reading historical primary sources.
Format: letter (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.
Reading primary sources: Slave narratives
This interactive guide to reading a slave narrative steps through layers of questions, guiding the reader through the process of historical inquiry. This edition is one in a series of guides on reading historical primary sources.
Format: interview (multiple pages)
CareerStart lessons: Grade eight
This collection of lessons aligns the eighth grade curriculum in math, science, English language arts, and social studies with potential career opportunities.
Format: (multiple pages)
Dichotomous key for freshwater macroinvertibrates
In Inquiry-based exploration of human impacts on stream ecosystems: The Mud Creek case study, page 6.3
The following dichotomous key is used for identifying freshwater macroinvertebrates at Eno River State Park in Durham and Orange counties, North Carolina. Because the park is only a few miles from Mud Creek, this key includes the macroinvertebrates most commonly...
Format: diagram/classroom content
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.
A Time for Science Nature and Learning Center
The activities and programs of this nature and science center are tailored to groups learning about ecology, conservation, environmental stewardship, STEM subjects.
Format: article/field trip opportunity