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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Change over time
In Critical thinking in science, page 6
Students will use satellite images, population data, and local city data to study human impact on the environment.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies)
By Daniell DiFrancesca.
Chuck Yeager and technological design
In CareerStart lessons: Grade six, page 3.2
Chuck Yeager's career in aviation spans over 60 years and includes such notable feats as becoming the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. This lesson for grade 6 introduces students to Yeager's accomplishments and to careers in aviation.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Guidance)
By April Galloway and Christine Scott.
Commemorative landscapes
These lessons for elementary, middle, and high school were developed in collaboration with The University of North Carolina Library Commemorative Landscapes project to introduce and promote student understanding and writing of North Carolina’s history through commemorative sites, landscapes, and markers.
Format: lesson plan (multiple pages)
Critical thinking in science
This unit of inquiry-based lessons teaches eighth-grade students to utilize and develop critical thinking skills. Students will create testable questions; design and perform experiments; collect, organize, and analyze data; and use these results to decide on the next step in the scientific process.
Format: lesson plan (multiple pages)
Exploring monuments in North Carolina's capital
In this lesson, students will research a Raleigh monument and then locate and explore the monument on a field trip to Raleigh.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4 English Language Arts, Information Skills, and Social Studies)
By Stephanie Dixon.
Good medicine
Students will examine changes in technology, medicine, and health that took place in North Carolina between 1870 and 1930 and construct products and ideas which demonstrate understanding of how these changes impacted people living in North Carolina at that time. To achieve these goals, students will employ the eight intelligences of Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies)
By Leslie Ramsey.
History of astronomy scavenger hunt
A unit on astronomy inevitably and rightfully begins with a look at the history of astronomy. This activity provides students with an opportunity to learn the basic facts of the history of astronomy by using the internet.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science and Social Studies)
By Mark Clinkscales and Carrie Palmer.
NASA spin-offs
In CareerStart lessons: Grade six, page 3.7
NASA spin-offs are technologies and processes that were created by or for NASA but have been applied to everyday life. In this lesson for grade 6, students learn about NASA spin-offs and how they relate to various careers.
Format: lesson plan (grade 6 Guidance)
By April Galloway and Christine Scott.
Simplicity: A literature-based Paideia seminar
Students will apply their knowledge of how developments in the history of the United States, as well as the world, can impact the lives of people today. The lesson is based on the picture book entitled The Simple People, written by Tedd Arnold and illustrated by Andrew Shachat. (Summary: The simple people enjoy the simple life until one of the character's inventions is used to make life more complicated. As a result, everyone forgets the simple things in life.) After a Paideia seminar discussing the book, students will select a modern invention, research the history of its development and how it impacts society, and create a multi-media presentation.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5–6 English Language Arts and Social Studies)
By Krista Hannah.
Stay still
In this lesson students will learn about stability. They will design and build an earthquake-proof house that takes into account the forces acting upon it and the materials with which it will be built. The house will be tested in a “shake table.” Students will be assessed by the product itself as well as their analysis of the results of the test.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 Science)
By Erin Denniston.
Studying simple machines with Rube Goldberg
Using a copy of a Rube Goldberg cartoon, show how the famous cartoonist drew weird and wacky machines to complete a simple task. Students will develop their own Rube Goldberg-type cartoon, using five types of simple machines, to accomplish their selected feat.
Format: lesson plan (grade 7 Science)
By Cynthia Corley.
Technological artifacts and the evolution of the student desk
In CareerStart lessons: Grade eight, page 5.2
In this lesson, students discuss a variety of definitions for the word technology and the relationships between technology, science, and society.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 Science and Social Studies)
By Tammy Johnson and Martha Tedrow.
Technology and stress on the environment
Students will build a bubble-powered rocket and “blast it off.” Students will examine the stress to their immediate environment, alternative choices, and the cost of repairing the damage. They will list other types of technology and possible environmental stress.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Science)
By Mark Clinkscales and Carrie Palmer.
That was then, this is now
Students will explore various career topics and study technological changes over last 30 years.
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 Guidance)
By Cary Lane Cockrell.
Where do your jeans come from?
In this lesson students will learn about cotton harvesting and manufacturing, which are important to North Carolina’s past and present. Students will also look at a Mini Page from the 1970s about cotton harvesting, and then will view a PowerPoint that shows how cotton is harvested and manufactured today. Finally, students will complete a creative writing assignment imagining they are a child in an historical textile mill.
Format: lesson plan
By Summer Pennell.
Where have we been? Tracing family through a timeline of national history
In this lesson, students are introduced to examples of how wars and technological developments have impacted the movement of people throughout United States and world history. Using a timeline, students will begin to connect historical events with the people they impacted. They will then investigate where their families fit into history in both time and place.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–5 Social Studies)

Resources on the web

American Experience
Over 75 features that accompany the PBS series The American Experience, that document people and events that shaped United States history. Find video, audio, maps, images, and other resources that explore Presidents, Biographies, War and Politics,... (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: PBS
American Geological Institute
A site devoted to providing information and resources related to the geosciences, with a focus on earth science in education. Includes activities, lesson plans, links to relevant websites, and a section for online Earth science professional development for... (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: American Geological Institute
Linking the Arts and Education through Technology: ARTSEDGE provides resources and exemplars for teachers to teach in, through, and about the arts. The site includes lesson plans, advocacy and professional development resources, and up-to-date information... (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: ArtsEdge, The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
Asia for Educators
Features classroom materials and teaching guides on Asia for use by educators and students in world history, culture, geography, art, and literature. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: Columbia University