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

spider map
A graphic organizer used to describe the attributes and functions of a central idea or theme. Each central theme has four or more branches to organize details, resembling a spider.
concept map
An organizational strategy or tool that represents knowledge in visual form (such as a graph or diagram). Concept mapping facilitates student understanding of the relationships between keywords or concepts through visual representations.
story map
Graphic organizer that allows students to detail important elements of a story, including characters, plot, action, and setting.
North Carolina thinking skills
Model of thinking skills adopted by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in 1994. Lists seven levels of thinking skills from simplest to most complex: knowledge, organizing, applying, analyzing, generating, integrating, and evaluating.
basic interpersonal communication skills
Social language first used by English (or foreign) language learners.

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Map skills and higher-order thinking
This series of articles looks at map skills as a kind of visual literacy, considering what maps are, how they're made, and the higher-order thinking skills students need to move from simply decoding maps to fully comprehending them.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Map skills
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 1
It used to be a lot of work to make a map. Before computers, maps had to be meticulously drawn by hand, their grids and outlines relying on complicated pencil-and-paper calculations. Now, you can download map data from the U.S. Geologic Survey or the Census...
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
Reading maps: A process guide
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 15
In Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History, page 2.2
Maps, even contemporary ones, are basically primary sources that have to be analyzed and evaluated. This process guide for reading maps is based on Kathryn Walbert's model for approaching primary sources. I. Identification...
Format: worksheet/learner's guide
By David Walbert.
Map skills and transportation careers
In CareerStart lessons: Grade six, page 4.1
In this lesson for grades six and seven, students will create maps to assist their understanding of relative and exact location and will conduct research on transportation careers.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–7 Social Studies)
By Mandy Matlock.
The key to a map
The students will use a map of the classroom to strengthen their map reading skills. They will work in groups and use a prepared map of the classroom to find hidden messages.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–2 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Melissa Lasher.
Bugs, bugs, bugs
This lesson integrates writing and the study of insects by having the students create a book following the pattern of How Many Bugs in a Box? by David A. Carter.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–1 Computer/Technology Skills, English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science)
By Vicki Rivenbark.
The highways or the byways: Mapping routes in North Carolina
In North Carolina maps, page 2.1
In this lesson, students use mathematical skills to choose the best routes for traveling around the state. Students will also use various internet resources for determining and plotting distance and ratio of miles per hour to time.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–7 Mathematics)
Reading maps for town size in North Carolina
In North Carolina maps, page 1.1
In this lesson, students examine maps and map features to evaluate town size and growth over time.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 Social Studies)
By Jennifer Job.
Building map-reading skills
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 5
Now that we know what students can't do, how do we help them develop the skills to read and interpret maps successfully? You may not be surprised to learn that most of the research and literature on this topic stops short of offering actual suggestions....
Format: activity/lesson plan (grade )
By David Walbert.
Topographic maps
In Map skills and higher-order thinking, page 11
Topographic maps add a third dimension to latitude and longitude by showing natural (and cultural) features of the earth's surface -- in particular, elevation. Historically, mapmakers used a variety of methods to indicate elevation. To get a quick...
Format: activity/lesson plan
By David Walbert.
The road taken
This lesson will introduce and reinforce main transportation routes for people and goods in North Carolina. Students will enhance map skills including using cardinal and intermediate directions, using a mileage chart, and planning transportation routes. Students will reinforce their knowledge of resources found in North Carolina as well as name and identify the three regions of North Carolina.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Social Studies)
By Margaretc Bryant.
An introduction to reading North Carolina maps
In North Carolina maps, page 1.2
In this lesson, students are introduced to the language of maps and why maps are important in our world. They are given the opportunity to read simple maps and find major features of more complicated maps.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1–3 Social Studies)
By Jennifer Job.
Topics in Social Studies Education
In Preservice teacher education resources, page 2.2
Resources Specific to Social Studies Social Studies Teaching Methods The Paideia Seminar Paideia embodies an educational approach...
Format: article/teacher's guide
The Red-eyed Tree Frog and PowerPoint
Students will read The Red-eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley then plan and put together a PowerPoint slideshow which retells the story.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 Computer/Technology Skills, English Language Arts, Information Skills, and Science)
By Jody Shaughnessy.
Painting the alphabet
After working on numerous letter names and sounds, the children will use a paint program to draw a picture and write the word to name the picture. The pictures will be printed out to make a class book or alphabet page.
Format: lesson plan (grade K Computer/Technology Skills and English Language Arts)
By Jackie White, Kathy Moore, Kelley Turner, and Mike Christopher.
Learn about your county
This activity will allow fourth grade students in North Carolina to learn more about the counties that surround their home county. Using online images, students will create a multimedia presentation to share with others.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 Computer/Technology Skills, English Language Arts, and Social Studies)
By Clarice Poovey.
Africa: Interpreting physical maps
In CareerStart lessons: Grade seven, page 4.1
In this lesson for grade seven, students look at a physical map of Africa and use it to speculate how the geography of a given region might affect human culture in that area.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7 Social Studies)
By Mary B. Taylor.Adapted by Kenyatta Bennett and Sonya Rexrode.
Finding your way in North Carolina
Students will become familiar with the regions and local features of North Carolina and be able to write directions for others to find these features on a map.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Social Studies)
By Sadie Allran Broome.
Solving workplace problems: Refining the use of argument
In CareerStart lessons: Grade eight, page 1.8
In this lesson plan, students are presented with two writing prompts that describe workplace problems. Students complete a graphic organizer to help them map out the problem-solving process.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Guidance)
By Andrea Fedon, Gail Frank, and Cindy Neininger.
Zoo integrated unit
The unit uses the North Carolina Zoological Park as a teaching tool rather than as a nice place to visit. It can be used by a single teacher or multiple teachers of different subjects, and it is aimed at 7th and 8th graders.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–8 English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies)
By Craig Smith.