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

Bringing current science into the classroom
In Bringing current science into the classroom, page 1
How your students can experience current environmental research without leaving the classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Michele Kloda and Dana Haine.
Bringing current science into the classroom
Activities for middle and high school on groundwater, water quality, and environmental stewardship have students exploring current environmental research without leaving the classroom.
Format: series (multiple pages)
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)
Challenge-based learning: José Garcia's innovative approach to student inquiry
This article discusses the instructional strategies of Greene County Middle School science teacher José Garcia. Mr. Garcia employs challenge-based learning, which marries project-based learning with student inquiry and makes effective use of technology. José Garcia received an Apple Distinguished Educator award in 2009 and was Teacher of the Year in his school and county in 2008-2009.
Format: article
By Dan Lewandowski.
Citizen science: Real-world applications for science students
Citizen science projects enlist everyday citizens to collect or analyze data for real-world research studies. This article suggests that bringing citizen science projects into the classroom can help students understand the relevance of curriculum objectives. Several projects are suggested, for elementary, middle, and high school.
Format: article/best practice
By Rebeccah Haines.
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
Discovery learning
This reference article explains the theory of discovery learning and discusses its history and its use in the classroom.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Educator's Guides: North Carolina Digital History
Best practices, process guides, worksheets, and other resources for teaching with LEARN NC's digital textbook of North Carolina history.
Format: (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.
The learning cycle
A three-part model of scientific inquiry that encourages students to develop their own understanding of a scientific concept, explore and deepen that understanding, and then apply the concept to new situations.
Format: article/best practice
By David Walbert.
Letting students ask the questions — and answer them
For this high school science teacher, learning science means doing science. A look at an inquiry-based earth and environmental science classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Amy Anderson.
Making connections for environmental education
How can you get students fired up about environmental education? Get them outside and get them involved in local issues through activism, service learning, and teaching others.
Format: article/best practice
By Carolyn Moser.
A perspective on inquiry
In this interview, Norman Budnitz, cofounder of the Center for Inquiry Based Learning, talks about inquiry and how to teach with it in a K–12 classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By Waverly Harrell.
Problem centered math
Why students must build their own understanding of mathematics if they are to be able to use it in the real world, and how teachers can guide them in doing so.
Format: series (multiple pages)
The problem-centered classroom
In Problem centered math, page 2.1
A look inside an eighth-grade classroom in which students work in pairs to solve problems, then debate as a class which solution is correct or easiest. An explanation of the teaching method is provided along with video of students presenting their solutions to problems.
Format: article
By Grayson Wheatley.
Science as a verb
Inquiry science requires active relationships between students, teachers, and science. Building these relationships is a three-step process that involves thinking about inquiry as a process of science, as a pedagogical strategy, and as a set of skills and behaviors to encourage in students.
Format: article/best practice
By Amy Anderson and David Walbert.
Science students get their hands dirty
Enter Carol Swink's classroom where students become scientists by conducting hands-on, inquiry-based investigations. By saving the textbook reading and lectures for last and doing experiments first, students master not only science content but math content too.
Format: article/best practice
By Waverly Harrell.
The secret cultural institution in your school: The school library
A variety of best practices and imaginative ideas that the school librarian can use to create an environment where students fuse together required learning with learning that is driven by individual interest.
Format: article
By Kim Campbell.
Seeing, wondering, theorizing, learning: Inquiry-based instruction with Kishia Moore
In this article, first-grade teacher Kishia Moore shares some of the strategies she uses to bring inquiry-based instruction into the elementary classroom. Ms. Moore teaches in Mitchell County and is a member of the 2011 cohort of the Kenan Fellows Program.
Format: article/best practice
By Dan Lewandowski.
The student pathfinder
By creating pathfinders, students not only learn to manage time and produce a higher quality research project, but they also develop twenty-first century learning skills.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.