Lesson Plans

Exposing the Roots of Local Food Production

In this unit, students will learn about the local foods movement and how they can make a positive difference in their health, economy, and environment by choosing to live and eat locally. The teacher will utilize a variety of instructional methods to inspire a passion for local food. Literacy and curriculum integration is of utmost importance in this unit as students learn to apply the local foods movement to their everyday life.

Lesson 1: What is local?

Students will begin to understand the components of the food system and will be able to discuss basic agricultural terminology in relation to the local foods movement. Students will read and analyze excerpts from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a novel focused on local food decisions. They will compare American food culture with that other countries around the globe. The students will also begin a business plan for their own local food or agriculture product business.

Lesson 2: Defending the local choice

Students will analyze the benefits and debate shortcomings of a local foods system. They will compare the modern food system and local foods systems.

Lesson 3: How to Eat Locally

Students will explore options for obtaining local food products. Students will identify the basic components of a recipe and observe two local foods cooking demonstrations. They will then compare food preservation techniques and complete a canning lab with a small group.

Author: April Pittman


Content Area
  • Agriculture
  • Science

Go to Project


Art of Collaboration

The purpose of this project is to provide an innovative way to engage students in the science curriculum. Researchers have been studying the impact of an arts integrated curriculum. These studies are showing that through integration of the arts, students of all backgrounds and learning levels show an increase in understanding and recall of materials covered when integrated with the arts.

Any teacher who is interested in finding an innovative and engaging way to teach science will find these lessons useful. Most lessons integrate language arts and/or social studies. This allows for cross-curricular involvement which helps to solidify the science concept by providing applications that apply outside of the classroom.

Author: Kristen Hensley


Content Area
  • Science
  • Visual Arts

Go to Project


Experts and Efficiency

A unit on Global Collaboration that uses the topic of Water Quality to teach the skills of a modern workplace.  In this lesson, students will complete a variety of hands-on activities to discover the importance of expertise.  Each student will identify their own unique skills and, through a modified jigsaw activity, learn the importance of diverse teams that include many different skills.

Author: Paul Cancellieri


Content Area
  • Science

Go to Project


Man vs. Beast: The Calculus of Animal Movement

This project is designed to help students understand the relationship between the graphs of a function and its first and second derivatives and how to accurately approximate derivatives from a table of values.  Students will develop this understanding in the context of analyzing the velocity and acceleration of animal movement as compared to the velocity and acceleration of different human movements.

Author: Michael Belcher


Content Area
  • Math

Go to Project


Using Google Sketch Up to Design a Wing for a Glider

This lesson allows students design a wing for a standard glider and use Google Sketch Up to draw a 3D model of their glider. Students will learn to read a basic part drawing and gain a basic understanding of how to draw using Google Sketch Up, and use a multi-view part drawing of a basic glider and their design ideas for a wing to generate a Google Sketch Up 3D model.

Author: Russell Sparks


Content Area
  • Technology

Go to Project


How do Wing Area, Wing Angle and Wing Camber Affect Lift?

This lesson will allow students to use FoilSim software to explore how wing area, wing shape and wing angle affects the force of lift and the planes ability to fly. Students will gain an understanding of how wing area, shape and angle affect flight, and examine examples of wings and describe how changes in wing area, wing camber and wing angle can be used to increase lift.

Author: Russell Sparks


Content Area
  • Math
  • Technology

Go to Project


What are the Forces that Affect Flight?

This lesson will give students the basic knowledge needed to understand airplanes and the forces that allow them to fly.  Students will learn to calculate the wing area and wing loading of a plane.

Author: Russell Sparks


Content Area
  • Geometry
  • Math

Go to Project


Using Model Generators to Explore Alternative Energy

Where does electricity come from?  For many students, the answer is obvious: “an outlet!”  However, when they are asked to trace the route to the outlet back further, some students will follow the electric lines back to a power plant, and there the trail often goes cold.  When comparing and assessing alternative energies, it can be difficult to get students to move beyond the obvious, largely because they don’t really understand how power is generated.

Author: Pamela Weghorst


Content Area
  • Earth Science
  • Science

Go to Project


Engineering the Grid: Renewable Energy Resources

In collaboration with the FREEDM Systems Center at NC State University and The Science House, Melanie Rickard developed curricula that highlights the importance of research into sources of renewable energy. From her study of switching devices that monitor and control highly-variable power loads, electric power storage devices and the transport of energy produced by renewable sources including electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels, she created three lessons.

Author: Melanie Rickard


Content Area
  • Science

Go to Project


Molecular Biology: A Transgenic Mice Tale

Advances in 21st century research and genetic engineering have made it possible to create new genetically modified organisms (GMO). This new technique of manipulating genetic material is known as recombinant DNA technology. In a biotech lab, a molecular biologist (Science Investigator) selects specific genetic information that will either be added to an organisms DNA and/ or knocked out of the DNA. An organism that has newly inserted DNA, or genetic material removed and/ or replaced, is called transgenic.

Many of the mice, rats, monkeys, and other animals used in scientific research are transgenic species. This multi-lesson unit will follow a transgenic mouse’s tale from genetic manipulation, to the birth of founder mice, lab research, then ultimately to the end and sacrifice of the animal for scientific research.

Author: Martha Tedrow


Content Area
  • Biology
  • Science

Go to Project


Bioprocessing and Biomanufacturing

Sarah Kaneko partnered with faculty and staff from NC State University’ Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) to study the integration of methods to accelerate process development, reduce time for regulatory approval, and implement lean biomanufacturing. The team explored the utilization of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’ Quality by Design and Process Analytical Technology (PAT) initiatives within this framework. Kaneko designed laboratory modules to educate high school students on these advanced science and engineering topics.

Author: Sarah Kaneko


Content Area
  • Biology

Go to Project


Evolution: Evidences of Evolution or ‘Get a Clue’

This lesson provides students an opportunity to study evolution using engaging, relevant, and researched based strategies. Students will uncover the evidences that support the evolutionary path of the modern whale. For the teacher, this lesson plan provides a protocol to teach Clarifying Objective: 3.4.1 from the NC Essential Standards for Science (“Explain how fossil, biochemical and anatomical evidence support the Theory of Evolution”). This goal and objective directly correlates with the 1996 National Life Science Content Standard C and to the Framework for K-12 Science Education Life Science Content Standard, LS4.A.

Author: Sharon Green


Content Area
  • Biology

Go to Project


The Statistics of Climate Change: A real world example of graphing and data analysis

Students will practice their skills of determining averages, graphing points, fitting lines to curves and analyzing data using a simplified version of data from the Johns Hopkins University National Morbidity and Mortality Air Pollution Study.    Students will average data points of temperature and death rates, create a scatter plot of the averaged points, find a line(s) of best fit, and then use a graphing calculator to do a linear regression on the data.  They will draw conclusions about what their data curves might mean to a community and how the community could plan for the future knowing that average temperatures are rising.

Author: Lori Craven


Content Area
  • Math

Go to Project


Lego Thinking and Building

Statistics is the mathematics we use to collect, organize and interpret numerical data. It is used to describe and analyze data such as census statistics, governmental debt, unemployment rates, video game scores, new movie release profits to classroom and state mandated test scores.  The ability to collect, organize and analyze data is essential.  This project will allow mathematics students in grades 6-12 to develop an understanding of statistics use it to describe sets of data, model situations, and make knowledgeable predictions.

This lesson utilizes data analysis of airplane production rates to make predictions and solve problems.  The Lego Simulation discussed in this lesson will model production methodologies in cellular manufacturing from a business standpoint while incorporating mathematical goals of collecting, organizing, and interpreting data.   The idea was originated from a simulation used to train employees at EMC2.  EMC helps IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their information.

Author: Lessie Anderson


Content Area
  • Math

Go to Project


What is Energy

Partnering with the US Department of Energy and its Academies Creating Teacher Scientists (ACTS) program, Kent Lewis developed a series of three lessons that integrate the teaching of STEM disciplines with a focus on energy.

Lesson 1: Heat Transfer Labs

Through the use of inquiry within this multi lab lesson, students will explore, discover, and then demonstrate their understanding of the processes of conduction, convection and radiation.

Lesson 2: Thermal Expansion Lab

Through the use of lab activities and discussion, students will explore, discover, and then demonstrate their understanding of thermal expansion and specific heat.

Lesson 3: What is Energy?

In this exploratory lesson, will allow students to investigate the following questions: What is energy? How is energy used? What are two different types of energy? What happens to energy as it is used?

Author: Kent Lewis


Content Area
  • Science

Go to Project