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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An account of the slave trade on the coast of Africa
In Colonial North Carolina, page 4.6
Excerpt from a book by a former surgeon on a slave ship, describing the horrors of the Middle Passage from Africa to America. Historical commentary is included. Warning: This document may not be suitable for all ages. Please use discretion.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by Shane Freeman.
African and African American storytelling
In Colonial North Carolina, page 4.7
The advent of slavery led to changes in the tradition of African storytelling. Tales in Africa had once featured the lion, elephant, and hyena; African tales in America began to star the rabbit, fox, and bear. To the African in slavery, the Brer Rabbit tales became a source of identity.
Format: article
By Madafo Lloyd Wilson.
Africans before captivity
In Colonial North Carolina, page 4.1
Most Africans who came to North America were from West Africa and West Central Africa. This article describes some of the cultures and history of those regions prior to the beginning of the slave trade.
Format: article
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.
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)
Current events in Africa
In this lesson for grade seven, students find two news stories about a current event in Africa: one from an American media source and one from an African media source. Students compare the two to gain an understanding of cultural bias and perspective.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7 English Language Arts, Information Skills, and Social Studies)
By Shane Freeman.
A forced migration
In Colonial North Carolina, page 4.3
The first Africans, brought to America through forced migration, came as indentured servants to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619. Africans brought to the colonies in later years were bought and sold as slaves. At the time of the American Revolution, most of the enslaved people in North Carolina lived in the eastern part of the colony and the majority lived on large plantations, where their work was critical to the state’s cash crops and economy.
Format: article
By Jennifer Farley.
A forced migration: Reading lesson
In this lesson plan, students read an article about the slave trade in West Africa, which caused the kidnapping of millions of free West Africans by slave traders. The lesson plan includes reading strategies designed to prepare students for end-of-grade reading test.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.
The golden chain
In Prehistory, contact, and the Lost Colony, page 1.5
This creation story told by the Yoruba of West Africa describes how Olorun (the all-powerful being) lived with heavenly beings called orishas around a young baobab tree in the sky, until a curious orisha asked permission to create something solid in the watery world below.
Format: /primary source
Immigration from Africa
In Recent North Carolina, page 6.7
North Carolina today is home to people from well over a hundred nations. This article summarizes the various communities of African immigrants living in Guilford County who are listed by the U.S. Census as being simply African American.
Format: article
Leo Africanus describes Timbuktu
In Colonial North Carolina, page 4.2
Sixteenth-century description of the West African trading city of Timbuktu by a Spanish-born Muslim. Includes historical commentary.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by Shane Freeman.
North Carolina history: Grade 4 educator's guide
This educator's guide provides teaching suggestions designed to facilitate using the digital North Carolina history textbook with fourth-grade students.
Format: (multiple pages)
Olaudah Equiano remembers West Africa
In Colonial North Carolina, page 4.4
Excerpt from a book written by a freed slave in the late eighteenth century, with memories of his boyhood in Guinea. Describes the government, culture, religion, architecture, and agriculture of the region. Primary source includes historical commentary.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by Shane Freeman.
Recent North Carolina
Primary sources and readings explore recent North Carolina (1975–present). Topics include politics, the economy, the environment, natural disasters, and increasing diversity.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Slavery and bias in historic West Africa: A case of he said, he said
In this lesson, students will examine three primary source documents concerning West African history, and will work to discover the similarities and differences between the documents. Students will discover the biases revealed by the authors of the documents.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Shane Freeman.
Teaching suggestions: African and African American storytelling
These teaching suggestions present a variety of ways to work with an article about African and African American storytelling traditions in the context of American slavery. Suggested activities span a wide range of possibilities and offer opportunities for a variety of learning styles.
Format: /lesson plan (grade 7–8 Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.
Venture Smith describes his enslavement
In Colonial North Carolina, page 4.5
Excerpt from a late eighteenth-century book by a freed slave in Connecticut. Describes his capture and enslavement at the age of six. Includes historical commentary.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by Shane Freeman.