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

research cycle
Research method that emphasizes information problem-solving and positions students as information producers (versus information consumers). Students repeatedly revisit stages in the research cycle as they refine data gathering processes.
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.
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.
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.
learning contract
An agreement between a teacher and a student regarding how that student will achieve specified learning goals or objectives.
learning disability
A discrepancy between expected achievement and observed achievement, also known as "unexpected underachievement."
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.
discovery learning
Learning that takes place, not through instruction, but through examination, analysis, or experimentation.
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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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.
Weathering the water cycle: Conclusion
This lesson concludes the unit "Weathering the Water Cycle." As a result of this unit, students will understand that the water cycle is a continuous cycle made up of three stages. The other lessons in this series include lessons on evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
Format: lesson plan
By Cathie Hill, Jackie Parker, and Karen Neilson.
Transfer of energy and the hydrologic cycle
In Coastal processes and conflicts: North Carolina's Outer Banks, page 1.4
This lesson is part of the unit "Coastal processes and conflicts: North Carolina's Outer Banks." During this lesson, students investigate the water cycle. They look carefully at each of the processes involved in the water cycle and the factors that affect those processes.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 Science)
By Stanley R. Riggs, Dorothea Ames, and Karen Dawkins.
Weathering the water cycle: Condensation
This lesson introduces students to condensation as one phase of the water cycle. Through the use of the four lessons in this series students will learn that the water cycle is a continuous cycle. The other lessons in this series include lessons on evaporation and precipitation as well as a conclusion.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 Science)
By Cathie Hill, Jackie Parker, and Karen Neilson.
The life cycle of a seed
This lesson integrates science into the language arts block. Students will read about plant life cycle events and then write their own books about the life cycle of a plant.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 English Language Arts and Science)
By Joni Kight.
Observing the water cycle
Initially, students will observe a demonstration of the water cycle and apply the information gained through the demonstration. Then students will measure and graph rainfall for two weeks.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 and 5 Mathematics and Science)
By Priscilla Nutt.
Water and Weather
From just looking at cloud formations to building a weather station, this sampling of resources help students learn all about climate, weather, and the water cycle.
Format: bibliography/help
Experiential education
This article explains the history and theory of experiential education, which combines active learning with concrete experiences, abstract concepts, and reflection in an effort to engage all learning styles.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Round and Round It Goes; Water, Where It Stops Nobody Knows
This experimental lab lesson will show the process of the hydrological cycle as it relates to the earth's atmosphere by showing three different scenarios.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Arts and Science)
By Mark Clinkscales and Carrie Palmer.
Butterfly cycle
Students will understand the life cycle of the butterfly and create various art activities that would model metamorphosis.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 Visual Arts Education, English Language Arts, and Science)
By Becky Woolard.
Sorting seeds
This lesson will engage students in manipulating, sorting, counting, and graphing seeds. The students will be involved in the creation of a graph using the computer.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 Mathematics)
By Mary Jackson.
Butterfly metamorphosis
This is an integrated lesson which is introduced using the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Butterfly metamorphosis is explored through art, math, and writing.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 Visual Arts Education, English Language Arts, and Science)
By Laura Byers.
Weathering the water cycle: Evaporation
Students will learn that evaporation is one of the three stages of the water cycle. The other lessons in this series include lessons on condensation and precipitation as well as a conclusion.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2–3 Science)
By Cathie Hill, Jackie Parker, and Karen Neilson.
From seed to plant
This lesson will give students an opportunity to learn about seed parts, how a plant grows, and to compare plants.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 Science)
By Gretchen Barkowitz.
Development and flooding: Is there a connection?
In this lesson, students will take their knowledge about the hydrosphere and apply it to the issue of population growth and development. In particular, students will learn how increasing development in eastern North Carolina may have worsened the effects of flooding from Hurricane Floyd due to lack of soil and tree absorption of run-off. Students will create their own development plans for North Carolina in small groups, explaining how their plan will benefit North Carolina’s water resources and environment.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science)
Weathering the water cycle: Precipitation
Students will learn that precipitation is one of the three stages of the water cycle and how it relates to the other stages. The other lessons in this series include lessons on evaporation and condensation as well as a conclusion.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 and 5 Mathematics and Science)
By Cathie Hill, Jackie Parker, and Karen Neilson.
Plants and Trees
This selection of resources helps teach students about the importance of plants and trees to animals and humans. They also explain how how they grow, their structure and the elements they need to flourish.
Format: bibliography/help
Learning about rocks
In this lesson, students will be engaged in hands-on experiences while they explore rocks.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 Mathematics and Science)
By Debbie Hansman.
An integrated lesson comparing the butterfly and frog life cycles
Students will build on their prior knowledge about the butterfly life cycle to compare and contrast the life cycles of butterflies and frogs. Students will locate butterflies on the school grounds and create pictographs and models of fractions to explain their findings mathematically. Students will also use a variety of resources to read about and study the food, space and air needed by butterflies and frogs to grow. They will create visual and written products to demonstrate their findings.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 Mathematics and Science)
By Martha Dobson and Margaret Monds.
Science Methods: K-5 Model Lessons
In Preservice teacher education resources, page 3.3
North Carolina Essential Standards Click here for more details on these standards. Forces and Motion Critical Understandings: force, motion, and the relationship...
Format: article/teacher's guide