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 African American experience in NC after Reconstruction
The documents included in this lesson come from The North Carolina Experience collection of Documenting the American South and specifically focus on African Americans and race relations in the early 20th century. The lesson juxtaposes accounts that relate to both the positive improvements of black society and arguments against advancement. Combined, these primary sources and the accompanying lesson plan could be used as a Document Based Question (DBQ) in an AP US history course.
Format: lesson plan (grade 11–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Meghan Mcglinn.
An American hero: Harriet Tubman
In this lesson, the school librarian and classroom teacher should work together to teach students about the life of Harriet Tubman in recognition of African-American History and Cultural Heritage Month.
Format: lesson plan (grade 1 Information Skills and Social Studies)
By Floanna Long.
Benjamin Banneker
In The Walking Classroom, page 10
In this lesson for fifth grade language arts and science, students learn about famous inventor, scientist, astronomer, and writer, Benjamin Banneker.
Format: lesson plan
Black American leaders as responsible citizens: Their roles, their contributions, their diversity
The focus of this lesson will be to help third grade students to clearly identify the need for having leaders arise from the citizenry of a given community. Students will review factual information to guide them in distinguishing the positive and negative qualities of leaders. Techniques will include guided reading of factual historical text during a Jigsaw, student note taking, student development of open-ended questions, and student engagement in a Socratic seminar.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 and 5 Social Studies)
By Debbie Rollins.
Civil rights wax museum project
In this lesson plan, students will choose African Americans prominent in the Civil Rights Movement and research aspects of their lives. They will create timelines of their subjects' lives and a speech about their subjects, emphasizing why they are remembered today.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Sabrina Lewandowski.
De facto vs. de jure segregation
This lesson will help students understand the difference between de facto and de jure segregation. Students will listen to three oral history excerpts and discuss the experiences of segregation described in each. As a follow-up activity, students will brainstorm solutions to both de facto and de jure segregation.
Format: lesson plan (grade 10–12 Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Desegregating public schools: Integrated vs. neighborhood schools
In this lesson, students will learn about the history of the "separate but equal" U.S. school system and the 1971 Swann case which forced Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to integrate. Students will examine the pros and cons of integration achieved through busing, and will write an argumentative essay drawing on information from oral histories.
Format: lesson plan (grade 10–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Experiences of the Civil Rights Movement: A roundtable project
This activity allows students to participate in a roundtable discussion by taking on the persona of someone who lived and experienced the Civil Rights Movement. By participating in a role playing simulation, students are more able to achieve higher-level thinking skills and, as a result, hopefully be able to think more critically about the Civil Rights Era.
Format: lesson plan (grade 11–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Kathleen Caldwell.
Exploring the church in the southern black community
Students explore the Documenting the American South Collection titled, the “Church in the Southern Black Community.” Beginning with a historian's interpretation of the primary sources that make up the collection, students search the collection for evidence to describe the experiences of African Americans living in the south during the Antebellum through the Reconstruction Period centering on their community churches. The activity culminates in student presentations of a digital scrap book.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 and 10–12 Social Studies)
By Meghan Mcglinn.
"Forward" to the great escape
In this lesson, students will read a primary source document from Documenting the American South and examine a painting by Jacob Lawrence to understand the conditions of the underground railroad before the Civil War. Students will then create a painting and a narrative related to the underground railroad.
Format: lesson plan (grade 11–12 Visual Arts Education and Social Studies)
By Jamie Lathan.
Freedom songs of the civil rights movement
Students will listen to freedom songs recorded during the civil rights movement, 1960–1965. Students will write about personal reactions to the music and lyrics. Through reading and pictures, students will briefly explore historical events where these songs were sung. Listening again, students will analyze and describe — musically — particular song(s).
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 Music Education and Social Studies)
By Merritt Raum Flexman.
An introduction to slave narratives: Harriet Jacobs' Life of a Slave Girl
In this lesson, students will learn about the life experiences of slaves in the United States during the 1800s by reading the story of a North Carolina slave woman who eventually escaped.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Joe Hooten.
Jackie Robinson taught us more than baseball
After determining student knowledge about Jackie Robinson, the teacher/counselor reads "Teammates" by Peter Golenbock to fifth graders. The teacher/counselor then divides students into four groups to work cooperatively on questions. Groups select leaders and recorders and each group leader presents answers to the whole class. The teacher/counselor ends the activity with a question that individual students will respond to in writing.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–5 English Language Arts, Guidance, and Social Studies)
By Jan Huggins.
Jim Crow and segregation
This is an integrated lesson plan that incorporates both eighth grade language arts and history. Using Internet research, literary analysis, and persuasive technique, students will practice reading and writing skills while analyzing the impact of Jim Crow Segregation on African Americans living in North Carolina and elsewhere.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Burnetta Barton.
A living timeline of civil rights
This fifth grade lesson plan is one piece of a civil rights unit. This particular lesson is an opportunity for students to demonstrate knowledge of a specific person or event that occurred during the civil rights movement. The students will share their research with others as they take on the role of a museum artifact.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 Social Studies)
By Laurie Lietz.
Lunsford Lane: A slave in North Carolina who buys his freedom
In this lesson plan, students read a primary source document to learn about the life of Lunsford Lane, a slave who worked in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina. Students answer questions about Lane based on his memoir to help them understand the details of his life.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By John Schaefer and Victoria Schaefer.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “I Have A Dream” speech
Students will display their understanding of the symbolism and references that Dr. King used to enrich his famous speech on August 28, 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by constructing a “jackdaw,” a collection of documents and objects.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Charlotte Lammers.
Mountain dialect: Reading between the spoken lines
This lesson plan uses Chapter 13 of Our Southern Highlanders as a jumping-off point to help students achieve social studies and English language arts objectives while developing an appreciation of the uniqueness of regional speech patterns, the complexities of ethnographic encounter, and the need to interrogate primary sources carefully to identify potential biases and misinformation in them. Historical content includes American slavery, the turn of the century, and the Great Depression.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Kathryn Walbert.
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.
A record of school desegregation: Conduct your own oral history project
In this unit, students will research the history of school desegregation and will use their knowledge to conduct oral history interviews with community members. Students will reflect on the experience through writing.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.