K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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LEARN NC is no longer supported by the UNC School of Education and has been permanently archived. On February 1st, 2018, you will only be able to access these resources through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. We recommend that you print or download resources you may need before February 1st, 2018, after which, you will have to follow these instructions in order to access those resources.

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Museum of the Cape Fear
This museum interprets the history and culture of southern North Carolina from prehistory to the present.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Slavery and Childhood
This lesson is designed to extend student understanding of the experiences of slaves living in the American, antebellum south. The chosen samples and excerpts from the Documenting the American South collection reflect the childhood of two enslaved people born in America, Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglas, and two people born in Africa, Oloudah Equiano and Omar Bin Said. Two knew what it was like to be free before being captured and placed into servitude, and longed to be free again; two were born into slavery and like the two native born Africans had aspirations of freedom. Students are invited to compare their childhood memories with the lives of these children in an effort to make history more human.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Meghan Mcglinn.
Africans before captivity: Graphic organizer
This activity provides a way for students to further their comprehension as they read an article about the regions of Africa from which most American slaves originated. Students will complete a graphic organizer and answer a series of questions.
Format: worksheet/lesson plan (grade 9–12 Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.
A divided nation
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 7.5
During the 1850s, the issue of slavery severed the political bonds that had held the United States together. The rise of abolitionism, renewed conflict over the expansion of slavery into the western territories, and the Dred Scott decision all pushed the nation closer to civil war.
Format: article
Remembering Nat Turner
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 9.10
A poem published in an African American newspaper, 1884, remembering Nat Turner as a hero. Includes historical commentary.
Format: poetry/primary source
Plantation life in the 1840s: A slave's description
This lesson introduces students to a description of life on the plantation and the cultivation of cotton from the perspective of a slave. It focuses on the use of slave narratives made available by the Documenting the American South collection.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By John Schaefer and Victoria Schaefer.
Excerpt from Uncle Tom Jones slave narrative
Thomas H. Jones was born into slavery near Wilmington, North Carolina. He lived on a plantation until about 1815, when he was sold to a Wilmington storekeeper. Later, as a free man, he moved to the North and played a vocal role in the antislavery movement in the 1850s and 1860s. In this excerpt from his memoir, Jones describes some of his experiences as a slave.
Format: book
Colonial North Carolina
Colonial North Carolina from the establishment of the Carolina in 1663 to the eve of the American Revolution in 1763. Compares the original vision for the colony with the way it actually developed. Covers the people who settled North Carolina; the growth of institutions, trade, and slavery; the impact of colonization on American Indians; and significant events such as Culpeper's Rebellion, the Tuscarora War, and the French and Indian Wars.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Spirituals and the power of music in slave narratives
In this lesson, students will learn about the importance of music in the lives of slaves by reading slave narratives and listening to recordings.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–5 Music Education and Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Tracing abolitionist movements in North Carolina
In North Carolina maps, page 3.6
In this lesson, students learn about the major areas of the abolitionist movement in the state. Students will express an understanding of the major figures of the movement using presentation software skills.
Format: lesson plan (grade 11–12 Social Studies)
Interview with Josephine Smith
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 3.6
WPA interview with former slave Josephine Smith, in which she describes the experience of being sold away from her father and the treatment of slaves by speculators and traders.
Format: interview/primary source
North Carolina in the Civil War and Reconstruction
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina during the Civil War and Reconstruction (1860–1876). Topics include debates over secession, battles and strategies, the war in North Carolina, the soldier's experience, the home front, freedom and civil rights for former slaves, Reconstruction, and the "redemption" of the state by conservatives.
Format: book (multiple pages)
The expansion of slavery and the Missouri Compromise
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 8.8
By 1820, a growing population gave the North a majority in the House of Representatives, but slave and free states still had equal representation in the Senate. The admission of Missouri to the Union as a slave state threatened that balance, but the "Missouri Compromise" maintained it by admitting Maine as a free state and banning slavery in the Lousiana territory north of Missouri's southern boundary. Page includes a map showing U.S. territorial expansion.
Format: article
Distribution of land and slaves
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 1.1
In this activity, students analyze census data and maps to understand the distribution of land, wealth, and slaves in antebellum North Carolina.
Format: activity
By David Walbert.
Nat Turner's Rebellion
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 9.1
In 1831, Nat Turner, an enslaved man in Southampton, Virginia, led an insurrection in which a small band of slaves and free African Americans killed fifty-five whites. After the revolt, white militias and mobs hunted down blacks suspected of taking part in this or other insurrections, and southern states passed harsh new laws restricting the freedoms of both slaves and free blacks.
Format: article
By L. Maren Wood and David Walbert.
Slaves under the overseer's whip
Slaves under the overseer's whip
Format: image/illustration
The Election of 1860
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 7.10
The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 and John Brown's raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, set the stage for the election of 1860, in which Abraham Lincoln was elected president with support only from the North.
Format: article
Jonkonnu celebrations in North Carolina and beyond
In this lesson plan, students read two articles about Jonkonnu, an African American and Afro-Caribbean celebration among slave populations with origins in West Africa. Students complete a graphic organizer comparing Jonkonnu in North Carolina, Belize, and Jamaica.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 and 11 Social Studies)
By Jamie Lathan.
The 1868 constitution
In North Carolina in the Civil War and Reconstruction, page 9.11
In accordance with the Reconstruction Acts, North Carolina wrote a new constitution in 1868. In addition to abolishing slavery, the new constitution gave more power to the people and to the governor, and called for free public schools, state prisons, and charitable institutions.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
Illustration of slaves in chains
Illustration of slaves in chains
Format: image/illustration