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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Resources tagged with biology are also tagged with these keywords. Select one to narrow your search or to find interdisciplinary resources.

Animal folktales: Legends, superheroes, and pourquoi tales
In Rethinking Reports, page 2.2
By writing a narrative about an animal rather than a traditional report, students can learn about literature, develop writing skills, and still fulfill science and research objectives.
By Melissa Thibault.
Believe it or not! Reporting on amazing animals
In Rethinking Reports, page 2.3
A visual and oral presentation of an "animal report" can engage students' interest and develop their artistic and visual literacy skills.
By Melissa Thibault.
Bird watching made elementary
Observing and identifying birds can be a gateway to a variety of learning experiences. This primer will get you started birding.
By Linda Dow.
CareerStart lessons: Grade eight
This collection of lessons aligns the eighth grade curriculum in math, science, English language arts, and social studies with potential career opportunities.
Format: (multiple pages)
CareerStart lessons: Grade seven
This collection of lessons aligns the seventh grade curriculum in math, science, English language arts, and social studies with potential career opportunities.
Format: (multiple pages)
CareerStart lessons: Grade six
This collection of lessons aligns the sixth grade curriculum in math, science, English language arts, and social studies with potential career opportunities.
Format: (multiple pages)
Dichotomous key for freshwater macroinvertibrates
In Inquiry-based exploration of human impacts on stream ecosystems: The Mud Creek case study, page 6.3
The following dichotomous key is used for identifying freshwater macroinvertebrates at Eno River State Park in Durham and Orange counties, North Carolina. Because the park is only a few miles from Mud Creek, this key includes the macroinvertebrates most commonly...
Format: diagram/classroom content
Food for thought: Elementary lessons on nutrition and healthy living
Teaching children about the importance of a healthy diet and plenty of exercise creates a basis for a healthy lifestyle. These lesson plans for grades K-5 provide fun activities to get them started on this path.
Format: lesson plan (multiple pages)
Hands-on biology
Hands-on science exploration clarifies difficult concepts and engages learners who have difficulty in more traditional classrooms. This article looks at an inquiry-based classroom that meets the needs of all of its students.
Format: article/best practice
By Waverly Harrell.
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)
Learning from a tree
Observation of a single tree throughout the year can be the starting point for explorations of nature, life science, and environmental science.
By Linda Dow.
Meeting North Carolina's mammals
Coyotes, deer, rabbits, and raccoons range nearly everywhere in North Carolina. By looking for signs and tracks around your school campus, students can learn all about them.
By Linda Dow.
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)
Spiders and monarchs and bees, oh my!
Exploring the world of insects and spiders can replace children's fear with fascination.
By Linda Dow.
Tracking animals
Large groups of children are likely to scare off mammals, but they can learn to identify tracks to learn more about the animals that left them.
By Linda Dow.
Wall-to-wall project-based learning: A conversation with biology teacher Kelley Yonce
This article explains the process of project-based learning (PBL) as it is practiced by Kelley Yonce, a high-school biology teacher who uses PBL throughout the school year. Concrete guidelines for a DNA project are included, as well as rubrics, assessment criteria, and other relevant documents.
Format: article/best practice
By Dan Lewandowski.

Resources on the web

Armada Project
This professional development opportunity provides K-12 teachers an opportunity to actively participate in ocean, polar, and environmental science research and peer mentoring. (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: Graduate School of Oceanography at the the University of Rhode Island
A free resource to classrooms so that they may remotely operate a scanning electron microscope to image "bugs" at high magnification. Refer to the "how to participate" pages for information about participating in this program. (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Essential Science for Teachers: Life Science
A web-based professional development opportunity; course available for graduate credit. The course is composed of eight sessions related to Life Science and building a core understanding of fundamental science concepts. (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: The Annenberg Channel
NASA Education Teaching Materials
NASA Education has a rich selection of lesson plans and classroom activities for K-12 educators. Their search options allow for teachers to select a keyword, the grade level, type of resource, and subject. A counter shows how many items are available for each... (Learn more)
Format: website
Provided by: NASA