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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All about trash
Students will discover which kinds of trash break down naturally and which do not when they make their own landfills.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 Science)
By Dawn Gilbert.
Amazing amaryllis activities
Students will use an amaryllis started from a bulb to explore the growth of the plant, measure, record and compare the growth of the leaves and the flower. They will enter the data on a spreadsheet and convert it into a graph.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2–3 Mathematics and Science)
By Mary Rizzo.
Amazing liquid conductor
Students will mix a variety of liquid solutions together to see if they will light a light bulb in a electrical circuit. They will be able to identify liquid electrical conductors and nonconductors. Also they will be able to identify that liquid solutions that contain a noticeable amount of acid or salt are good conductors of electricity. Each group of students will make a closed circuit to test their solutions.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 and 6 Science)
By Martha Martin.
Archaeological soils
In Intrigue of the Past, page 2.11
Students will determine components of a soil sample and evaluate how archaeologists use soils to interpret sites.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Science)
Atomic spectra and the Bohr model
Students view continuous spectra from incandescent and fluorescent lights and line spectra of selected elements. Students relate energy to frequency of light seen in the spectra. The presence of only certain lines in atomic spectra is related to Bohr's model of the atom. In a second experiment, students determine electron energies in the hydrogen atom.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science)
By Lisa Bacon.
Blast off the wet way
This lesson takes 6–10 days and includes math classes in which students will serve as observers and will calculate the height that the rocket reached and time elapsed. In the science class the students will design, build, launch, and do a detailed analysis of the acceleration, speed, and force produced by water-filled two-liter rockets.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7 Science)
By Jack Curtis.
Building a stratovolcano
Students will review the three types of volcanoes. Students will construct a stratovolcano and determine the composition of each type of volcano. Students will research examples of stratovolcanoes using internet resources.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 and 8–12 Science)
By Jessica Bohn.
Cell theory and plant respiration
In CareerStart lessons: Grade eight, page 5.4
In this lesson, students conduct an experiment using plants to gain an understanding on the effects of sunlight on cell processes.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 and 8 Science)
By Tammy Johnson and Martha Tedrow.
Chem-speak (introduction to chemical equations)
Students will understand what constitutes a chemical reaction and how chemical equations represent chemical reactions by means of discussion and demonstrations.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science)
By Brenda Rock.
Classification of matter
Students are introduced to the concept of different kinds of matter. Students create models of different substances to learn to identify the differences between elements, compounds, and mixtures. This lesson is developed so that teachers can use it with English as a Second Language students.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Development and Science)
By Anya Childs and Rhonda Garrett.
A comparison of the plant ecology of two fields
Students will apply random sampling techniques to do a plant population/community/ecosystem study to model how these things are interrelated.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 Science)
By Linda Sutton.
Confirming and visualizing Lewis dot structures
With this activity, students can calculate and visualize the atomic and molecular structures of bonds and lone pairs in the molecule methanol (methyl alcohol, CH3OH).
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science)
By Bob Gotwals.
Convection currents
Students work together to show convection currents in the air. They construct a paper propeller that will be caused to spin as a result of the transfer of heat energy through the air.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Science)
By Jillian Dube.
Students will observe decomposition in a pile of grass clippings and in a compost heap over time.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 Science)
By Monica Dubbs.
Decomposition in freshwater
This lesson includes hands-on activities to demonstrate the process of decomposition in a freshwater ecosystem. It also focuses on the importance of decomposition and its critical role in the food chain.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Science)
By Heather Lanier.
Density of common liquids
Each lab team will determine the density of water and one of the sample liquids. The class will then compile their information.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 and 8 English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science)
By Sansia Coble.
Does it float? Exploring density
Density is a property of matter that requires abstract understanding from your students. This lesson plan is a hands-on lab for exploring the concepts of mass, volume, density, and their relationship. This lab achieves several 8th grade science objectives and incorporates mathematical objectives as well. The lab can easily be used as an introductory lab for the year, thus covering not only the content objectives, but also procedures for completing labs throughout the course of the year.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 English Language Arts and Science)
By Trish Loudermilt.
The effects of acid rain on the environment
This is an experiment in which groups of students are given healthy plants to water with different solutions of an acid rain mixture made in class. Students will document and present their findings. This lesson plan has modifications for an Intermediate Low English Language Learner (ESL student).
Format: lesson plan (grade 7–8 English Language Development and Science)
By Helen Beall and Heather Hughes-Buchanan.
Electroplating: When is a penny worth less than one cent?
In CareerStart lessons: Grade eight, page 5.8
In this lesson, students understand the chemical differences between pennies made before and after 1982, and gain an understanding of the process of electroplating.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts and Science)
By Tammy Johnson and Martha Tedrow.
Exploring properties of matter with submersibles
This inquiry-based learning activity allows students to explore the relationships between mass, volume, density, and buoyancy as they manipulate various materials to construct a submersible “vehicle” for deep-sea research.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8–12 Science)
By Miriam Sutton.