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 project-based learning 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)
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.
Don't put it down, put it up!
In a fifth grade classroom based around projects, everything has its place. This classroom profile shows you the design and purpose of Debra Harwell-Braun's fifth-grade classroom.
Format: article
By Kathleen Casson.Commentary and sidebar notes by Lindy Norman.
Fostering creativity and innovation in the science classroom
This article presents resources and ideas for presenting science students with challenges designed to spark creativity and innovation. Resources listed include national competitions and websites listing suggested classroom projects.
Format: article/best practice
By Rebeccah Haines.
Managing a classroom with brain food
Tina Maples' eighth-grade language arts students are serious about their work they do. When students work on projects they care about — what Maples calls "brain food" — they manage the classroom themselves.
By Kathleen Casson.
Project-based learning
Project-based learning is a teaching approach that engages students in sustained, collaborative real-world investigations. Projects are organized around a driving question, and students participate in a variety of tasks that seek to meaningfully address this...
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Real-world learning in a virtual environment
Want to try project-based learning to get your students involved in real-world issues? A former North Carolina Technology & Learning Teacher of the Year talks about how she worked with the North Carolina Zoo to get students excited about learning.
Format: article
By David Walbert.
Traveling the world, virtually: Project-based learning in elementary school
Fifth-grade teacher Shannon Page shares her methods and experiences with using project-based learning in the elementary school classroom. Ms. Page's focus on taking virtual field trips, which are planned and guided by her students, helps infuse curriculum objectives with relevance and rigor.
Format: article/best practice
By Dan Lewandowski.
Two paths to knowledge
For students who who always finish their class work early or want more information than you have time to give, try curriculum compacting.
Format: article
By Waverly Harrell.
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

Educational Uses for Digital Storytelling
This site provides detailed information about the use of digital storytelling to engage students in learning through listening to and creating digital stories. The quality resources, instructions, and other information on this site are impressive and extremely... (Learn more)
Format: website
Provided by: University of Houston System
European Schools Project Association
Created in 1988, the European Schools Project Association's central concept was to have classrooms connect and create teleprojects. Through “conversation topics” classrooms from around the world can collaborate by e-mail or “virtual learning... (Learn more)
Format: website
George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia
The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) is a nonprofit working to highlight the most innovative models of K-12 teaching and learning in the Digital Age. A Web-based multimedia resource center, this site provides hundreds of powerful examples of learning... (Learn more)
Format: website
Provided by: George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF)
Use Classroom Conferencing, Online Expeditions, and other global connections to create authentic opportunities for students to interact worldwide. Use this database of projects to find and connect with other classroom teachers around the world; find interesting... (Learn more)
Format: website
Provided by: Global SchoolNet Foundation
iEARN: International Education and Resource Network
Over 20,000 schools in more than 109 countries are part of iEARN which " empowers teachers and young people to work together online." Young people can communicate in a safe and structured environment in over 120 projects that both enhance learning... (Learn more)
Format: website
Jenuine Tech.com
This site provides a forum for classrooms from around the country to simultaneously take part in online projects. Current project listings are provided, along with archives of past projects. Projects address a variety of subjects and are adaptable to many... (Learn more)
Format: website/activity
Provided by: Technospud.com
NC Odyssey of the Mind
The North Carolina website for Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving competition for student teams. From NC Odyssey of the Mind. (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: North Carolina Odyssey of the Mind
Project Based Learning Checklists
Help students take responsibility for their work as they create their own checklists to guide them through project-based activities. By creating a checklist, students become more engaged in their own learning. They set their own goals for a project while at... (Learn more)
Format: website/general
Provided by: High Plains Regional Technology in Education Consortium