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 White Oak River: Introduction
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 1
One of the interesting things to do during field study of natural areas is to follow an environmental gradient across the landscape. This is particularly rewarding if your gradient extends up a river, as the exploration takes on the aura of a classic “search...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
How were the Jocassee Gorges formed?
In Jocassee Gorges: Temperate rain forests of the Blue Ridge, page 2
Basically, erosion formed the Jocassee Gorges. For most of its length, the eastern continental divide, which separates land that drains to the Atlantic Ocean from land that drains to the Gulf of Mexico, runs northeast to southwest parallel to the Blue Ridge...
By Dirk Frankenberg and Stephanie Walters.
How does decreasing salinity affect blackwater rivers?
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 2
All rivers that reach the sea have ocean water at their seaward ends, and freshwater at their sources. A trip up a river takes you along a gradient of salt concentration from near 3.5 percent (the average salinity, or salt content, of seawater) to zero. There...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Coastal plain bottomland forest
In Wetlands of the coastal plains, page 8
Figure 6 illustrates a fine river to tour: the Northwest Cape Fear, as it appears in Pender County. The wetland type we see on the far bank is a coastal plain bottomland hardwood community. These communities develop on irregularly flooded habitats along rivers....
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Cape Fear estuaries: Introduction
In Cape Fear estuaries: From river to sea, page 1
A quiet afternoon on the dock overlooking the Cape Fear estuary, fishing with friends. A gentle breeze clatters the marsh reeds and sends ripples floating across the water. A vision of stability and tranquility. Unfortunately, this vision is entirely misleading....
By Steve Keith.
North Carolina rivers
Students will locate 28 rivers within the state of North Carolina, noting names and origins of names, directions of flow, navigability, and development of population centers in relation to the rivers.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–4 Social Studies)
By Mike Stevenson.
Dan River, Virginia
Dan River, Virginia
The Dan River, near Danville, Virginia.
Format: image/photograph
North Carolina's rain forest
In Jocassee Gorges: Temperate rain forests of the Blue Ridge, page 1
The Blue Ridge escarpment is the steep slope that separates North Carolina's mountains from its Piedmont plateau. The escarpment trends north and east across the state from South Carolina to Virginia. In many places it is steep enough to rise over 1,500 feet...
By Dirk Frankenberg and Stephanie Walters.
1796 map of North Carolina
1796 map of North Carolina
This simple 1796 map of North Carolina clearly shows the names and locations of major rivers and a few towns. Hand-drawn mountain icons give a rough indication of topography.
Format: image/map
1696 map of Carolina
1696 map of Carolina
This French map of Carolina from 1696 shows major inlets and rivers. An inset of the Cooper and Ashley Rivers in what is now South Carolina shows the names and locations of settlers in the area.
Format: image/map
Steamboats
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.1
Article about the early development of steamboats and their introduction on North Carolina's inland waterways. Includes an explanation of how steamboats work.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
River fish trap
River fish trap
A bamboo fish trap is placed at a rapid in the river where fish flow in. The mouth of the trap is made in such a way that fish cannot swim back out. Traps used to be a common method of river fishery in land-locked Nepal, but lately a decline in the number...
Format: image/photograph
A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect
A “virtual field trip” up the White Oak River in southeastern North Carolina, with discussion of how local ecology changes along the way due to decreasing salinity.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Bank of the Kali Gandaki River
Bank of the Kali Gandaki River
Trails snake through the flood plains of the Kali Gandaki River in western Nepal. The Kali Gandaki is one of the major rivers of Nepal originating in the northern Himalayas and flowing down south through mountain gorges before landing in the plains and joining...
Format: image/photograph
Pebbles on the Kali Gandaki flood plain
Pebbles on the Kali Gandaki flood plain
The pebbly floodplain of the Kali Gandaki River. A few snow-capped mountain peaks cab be seen in the distance. The Kali Gandaki River is one of many rivers in Nepal originating in the Himalayas. This river flows south down through the mountains and into southern...
Format: image/photograph
Kali Gandaki gorge
Kali Gandaki gorge
A group of houses at the bottom of the mountain by Kaali Gandaki River. The Kali Gandaki River is one of the major rivers of Nepal and a left bank tributary of the Ganges in India. The headwaters of the river are formed at an altitude of 3,900 m (12,795 ft)...
Format: image/photograph
Pond pine woodland
In Wetlands of the coastal plains, page 7
Figure 6 shows that the same plants found in pocosins are also found under pond pines as well as in poorly drained peat filled depressions of all sorts. Here we can see these plants growing on peat around and under a stand of pond pines. We will now move away...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Kali Gandaki flood plain
Kali Gandaki flood plain
A flood plain along the banks of the Kali Gandaki River in between the villages of Tukche and Kagbeni in the Mustang district of Nepal. The Kali Gandaki is one of the major rivers of Nepal and a left bank tributary of the Ganges in India. The headwaters of...
Format: image/photograph
The Piedmont's first human inhabitants
In Clays of the Piedmont: Origins, recovery, and use, page 2
The first human inhabitants of the Piedmont to make use of its clays were the American Indians. People who lived along the banks of the Potomac and Savannah Rivers discovered the seemingly miraculous transformation of mud into stone by heat about 4500 years...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Mapping rainfall and flooding
In Recent North Carolina, page 5.5
In North Carolina History: A Sampler, page 6.6
In this activity, students explore maps and data from Hurricanes Floyd, Dennis, and Irene in September-October 1999 to explore their effects on North Carolina's coastal plain.
Format: activity
By David Walbert.