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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Antebellum North Carolina
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the antebellum period (1830–1860). Topics include slavery, daily life, agriculture, industry, technology, and the arts, as well as the events leading to secession and civil war.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Antislavery feeling in the mountains
In Antebellum North Carolina, page 1.12
In this excerpt from his book (1860), Frederick Law Olmsted describes his interactions with residents of the Appalachian region and their opinions on slavery. Includes historical commentary. Note: This source contains explicit language or content that requires mature discussion.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by David Walbert.
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.
The growth of tourism: Warm Springs
In North Carolina in the New South, page 5.9
Advertisement for Warm Springs (now Hot Springs) in Madison County, North Carolina, from the late nineteenth century. Includes historical commentary about the region, tourism, and nineteenth-century medicine.
Format: pamphlet/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
"Home folks and neighbor people"
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 6.4
This page is an excerpt from Horace Kephart's book Our Southern Highlanders, about the relationships between the people of the North Carolina mountains and their natural environment. Includes historical background and commentary.
Format: book/primary source
Commentary and sidebar notes by L. Maren Wood.
Interstate highways from the ground up
In Postwar North Carolina, page 2.3
NCDOT resident engineer Stan Hyatt lived in Madison County most of his life, and he loved hunting and exploring the mountain when he was younger. He helped design and build I-26, a project that meant the destruction of some of the environment where he grew up. He talks about the costs and benefits of highway construction in this interview.
Format: interview
By Kristin Post.
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail
In Recent North Carolina, page 4.9
When complete, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will stretch in one continuous path across the state from Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in Smoky Mountains National Park, to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, a 420-acre sand dune system on the Outer Banks.
Format: article
By Emily Jack.
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 early 20th century
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the first decades of the twentieth century (1900–1929). Topics include changes in technology and transportation, Progressive Era reforms, World War I, women's suffrage, Jim Crow and African American life, the cultural changes of the 1920s, labor and labor unrest, and the Gastonia stirke of 1929.
Format: book (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)
North Carolina in the New South
Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the decades after the Civil War (1870–1900). Topics include changes in agriculture, the growth of cities and industry, the experiences of farmers and mill workers, education, cultural changes, politics and political activism, and the Wilmington Race Riot.
Format: book (multiple pages)
Postwar North Carolina
Primary sources and readings explore the history of North Carolina and the United States during the postwar era (1945–1975).
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.
Rutherford Trace
In 1776, during the War for Independence, an expedition led by Griffith Rutherford sought to eliminate the Cherokee as a British ally and to punish them for attacking white settlements. In one month, Rutherford’s men left dozens of Cherokee villages in ruins with hundreds of acres of crops destroyed and livestock killed or seized. Residents of western North Carolina still tell multiple sides of the story.
Format: article
The Southern Highland Craft Guild
In North Carolina in the early 20th century, page 7.7
The Southern Highland Craft Guild, founded by Frances Goodrich, played an important role in western North Carolina's Craft Revival of the early twentieth century. Goodrich and others helped find ways of teaching traditional crafts and making them profitable again.
Format: article
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)