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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Analyzing North Carolina's natural history
In Two worlds: Educator's guide, page 1.4
These two short activities will allow students to examine the changes that occurred as the earth formed and assess their impact on what is now North Carolina.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Science and Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.
Coastal erosion and the ban on hard structures
In Recent North Carolina, page 4.3
North Carolina’s sandy coast is one of the state’s greatest tourist attractions, and also one of its frequent sources of controversy. The 301 miles of coastline in the east have been the site of an ongoing struggle between stable structures created by humans and the dynamic forces of nature, between property rights and thousands of years of geology. A 1985 rule designed to preserve the beaches in their natural state enjoys the support of coastal scientists but threatens the investments of home-owners and developers.
Format: article
By Emily Jack.
Elisha Mitchell and his mountain
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.4
Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina, demonstrated that the mountain in the Black Mountain range that now bears his name was the tallest in eastern North America. Thomas Clingman disagreed, and the two men waged a battle in newspapers. After Mitchell's death, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed his discovery.
Format: article
Elisha Mitchell explores the mountains
In North Carolina in the New Nation, page 7.5
Letter from Elisha Mitchell to his wife while doing a geologic survey in northwestern North Carolina, 1828. Mitchell discusses his work, the places he stayed, and the people he met. Includes historical commentary as well as a contemporary map and a Google map with relevant locations marked.
Format: letter/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by David Walbert and L. Maren Wood.
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)
Natural diversity
In Prehistory, contact, and the Lost Colony, page 1.1
North Carolina has within its borders the highest mountains east of the Mississippi River, a broad, low-lying coastal area, and all the land in between. That variety of landforms, elevations, and climates has produced as diverse a range of ecosystems as any state in the United States. It has also influenced the way people have lived in North Carolina for thousands of years.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
The natural history of North Carolina
In Prehistory, contact, and the Lost Colony, page 1.2
If the five billion years of the earth's history were condensed into a single day, humans would have arrived in North Carolina just two tenths of a second before midnight! This article summarizes the major biological and geological events in North Carolina's history and explains how the land and environment of today came to be.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
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)
North Carolina in the New Nation
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the early national period (1790–1836). Topics include the development of state government and political parties, agriculture, the Great Revival, education, the gold rush, the growth of slavery, Cherokee Removal, and battles over internal improvements and reform.
Format: book (multiple pages)
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)
The regions of North Carolina
In Two worlds: Educator's guide, page 1.2
In this lesson, students analyze the differences between North Carolina's geographical regions: the Mountains, the Piedmont, and the Inner and Outer Coastal Plain.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Social Studies)
By Pauline S. Johnson.
Report of Vice-Consul R. E. Heide on the Resources, Trade and Commerce of North Carolina (1875)
An 1875 report on the population, geography, industry, and natural resources of North Carolina, with particular attention to shipping, navigation, and the production of naval stores.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Shifting coastlines
In Intrigue of the Past, page 4.3
In their study of North Carolina's changing coastline during the Paleoindian and Archaic periods, students will determine the positions of the coastline at different times and decide what types of archaeological information has been lost due to rising sea levels.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 and 8 Science and Social Studies)
Stratigraphy and cross-dating
In Intrigue of the Past, page 2.3
Students will use an activity sheet to interpret archaeological strata using the law of superposition and apply cross-dating to determine the age of other artifacts.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Science)
Two worlds: Educator's guide
Lesson plans and activities to be used with "Two Worlds: Prehistory, Contact, and the Lost Colony" -- the first part of a North Carolina history textbook for secondary students.
Format: book (multiple pages)