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

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.
scientific method
Research method using experiments and physical evidence to answer questions about the natural world.

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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.
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)
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)
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
Philosophy 101 for educators
In Philosophy resources for educators, page 1.2
This page provides a basic introduction to key philosophical concepts.
Format: bibliography
Using inquiry skills
In CareerStart lessons: Grade six, page 3.1
This lesson for grade 6 introduces students to important scientific skills such as observation, inference, prediction, classification, and communication. Students practice some of these skills and discuss how they may be used in various careers.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 English Language Arts and Science)
By April Galloway and Christine Scott.Edited by Julie McCann.
Intrigue of the Past
Lesson plans and essays for teachers and students explore North Carolina's past before European contact. Designed for grades four through eight, the web edition of this book covers fundamental concepts, processes, and issues of archaeology, and describes the peoples and cultures of the Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Topics in Science Education
In Preservice teacher education resources, page 3.2
Resources Specific to Science Inquiry Letting Students Ask the Questions — And Answer Them A look at an inquiry-based earth and environmental...
Format: article/teacher's guide
World music
In BioMusic, page 1.5
In this lesson, students will understand that birds of the same family can have different songs. While listening to four different thrush songs, they will also learn to read a sound spectrogram and compare it with sheet music.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2–3 Music Education and Science)
By Debra Hall and Crystal Patillo.
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.
Letting students ask the questions — and answer them
For this high school science teacher, learning science means doing science. A look at an inquiry-based earth and environmental science classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Amy Anderson.
What are some careers in biomusicology?
In BioMusic, page 2.11
By gathering information in books, from interviews, and on the Internet, learners will identify several career possibilities in the field of biomusicology research.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–5 Guidance and Music Education)
By Debra Hall and Crystal Patillo.
CSI Dublin: The Hunt for the Irish Potato Killer
In these lesson plans, students will act as CSI agents investigating the mysterious pathogen that caused the massive potato crop failure and resultant Great Famine of 1845 in Ireland.
Format: lesson plan (multiple pages)