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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Alternatives to the famous person report
In Rethinking Reports, page 3.1
This "rethinking reports" series of articles provides alternative research assignments that challenge students to think critically about historical actors.
By David Walbert and Melissa Thibault.
Alternatives to the President Report
In Rethinking Reports, page 1.1
The "President Report" is a common assignment in social studies classes from second grade, where biography is first introduced, through high school U.S. History. You know what we mean: students are asked to pick a U.S. president and write a biographical...
By Melissa Thibault and David Walbert.
American Indians in the United States
This online course examines American Indian history in the United States from the earliest evidence of human habitation through first contact with Europeans, conflicts in the West, World War II and other key events in 20th century U.S. history, the American Indian rights movement, and into the present day.
Format: article/online course
AOWS2: Nation in conflict - Founding figures of America in a global context
Not your old style history class. History teachers love to tell stories. And, students love to hear stories. However, listening to stories is not the same as doing history. We want our students to experience history. This online course studies methods of engaging students in the doing of history using primary sources.
Format: article/online course
Beyond Black History Month
Go beyond approaches that marginalize African American history by "shifting the lens" to look at events from new perspectives.
By Kathryn Walbert.
Bring history to life with a Living History Day!
In Rethinking Reports, page 3.4
A Living History Day turns students into teachers and challenges them to think historically.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Bringing the Great War Home: Teaching with the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
In this series of enhanced digital textbooks, ten educators share how they used the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to teach students about World War I.
The Civil Rights Movement in context
This online course investigates the precursors to the Civil Rights Movement, its leadership, its opposition, and its legacy, including lesser-studied events of the movement and primary sources.
Format: article/online course
Grooming in 1930s North Carolina
Using primary source materials, this lesson plan provides a glimpse into the lives of girls and women from the 1930s and will give students the opportunity to study what was considered attractive for the time, how the Depression affected grooming practices, and the universal concept of healthful living.
Format: article
By Pauline S. Johnson.
Guest of honor: A presidential banquet
In Rethinking Reports, page 1.3
A research assignment in which students plan a banquet in honor of a president.
By Melissa Thibault and David Walbert.
Hamilton and Burr: Compare and contrast
In Where English and history meet: A collaboration guide, page 2
This lesson plan compares Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, and Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson’s Vice President. The lesson plan uses the duel between the two (at which Hamilton was fatally wounded) as an opportunity to contrast two early political leaders that have stark similarities as well as definite differences.
Format: article
By Karen Cobb Carroll, Ph.D., NBCT.
High school history and English: Natural partners
In Where English and history meet: A collaboration guide, page 1
Strategically plan a collaborative unit and overcome those everyday obstacles that prevent success. While this article focuses specifically on English-history collaboration, there is much to kindle the interest of any high school teachers.
By Karen Cobb Carroll, Ph.D., NBCT.
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)
The Johnstown Flood: Cause and effect
In Where English and history meet: A collaboration guide, page 3
This lesson plan combines work with the Johnstown Flood, one of the most significant news events of the late nineteenth century, and the development of cause and effect argument.
By Karen Cobb Carroll, Ph.D., NBCT.
The not-so-famous person report
In Rethinking Reports, page 3.2
Instead of teaching the history of the famous, use research in primary sources to teach students that the past and present were made by people like them.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
Now what? A President considers a career change
In Rethinking Reports, page 1.2
In this alternative to the dreaded "President Report," students write a resumé for an ex-president.
By Melissa Thibault and David Walbert.
Presidential inaugurations in historical perspective
A guide to online resources about the history of American presidential inaugurations.
Format: bibliography
Race in Charlotte schools
The lesson on this page are designed to help educators teach about school desegregation in the South. In these activities, students immerse themselves in a time period when public schools were first becoming integrated by listening to oral histories of people who experienced this change first-hand.
Format: lesson plan
Reading biographies and autobiographies
In Rethinking Reports, page 3.3
How good is that biography your students are reading? Here's how to make sure they get the most out of their reading and research.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Rethinking Reports
Creative research-based assignments provide alternatives to the President Report, Animal Report, and Famous Person Report that ask students to think about old topics in new ways, work collaboratively, and develop products that support a variety of learning styles.
Format: series (multiple pages)