Lesson Plans

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Atmospheric Chemistry

Global warming explains the rising climate temperatures in the last century. Several gases in Earth’s atmosphere contribute to maintaining the warm temperatures on Earth’s surface. Global temperatures are definitely rising, but are they rising naturally or are humans causing the rapid increase? Students seek to answer this question by analyzing real data from a laser lab in which samples of Earth’s atmosphere are analyzed for certain gases that are known to increase heat. Once students learn what gases are present in Earth’s atmosphere, they design an experiment to reduce their emissions of one of these gases. Students conduct this experiment over a three-month period. At the end of those three months, students present a multimedia infomercial describing how their research could be implemented across their city. The goal is for students to have a positive impact on their city and their environment.

Author: Katie Eckersley


Content Area
  • Chemistry

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Building Pasta Bridges to Understand Structural Engineering

I will be creating a virtual expedition throughout the unit with a focus of learning various fields of engineering and implementing STEM applications in the classroom. Students will be traveling to Medieval Times and focusing on the creation of draw bridges used in castles from that time period. Each group of students will have to create a bridge made of only various types of pasta and tape. I will be focusing on addressing number and operations, measurement, geometry, and data analysis math goals.

Author: Justin Osterstrom


Content Area
  • Engineering
  • Math

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Developing Global Thinkers through Water Contamination

The framework for 21st Century Learning is foundational on developing global leaders and thinkers. Water Contamination is a problem that plagues so many cultures around the world. Students rarely recognize how lucky they are to be able to turn on a faucet or drink out of a fountain with clean water. Using this issue with students learning, creates a cross-curricular learning experience that is rooted in rigor and relevant instruction. Students will be exposed to a genuine Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning experience as they try to come up with logical solutions to the problem of water contamination.

Author: Justin Osterstrom


Content Area
  • Engineering
  • Math
  • Science
  • Technology

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Creating Catapults using Schema of the Human Body

Students love to plan, design and create things with their learning. Catapults have been around for centuries, yet students love to still learn and build them. This lesson will have the students build two different catapults. The first will be a rather basic catapult and the second will be made using the LEGO® WeDo pieces and software program. Reasoning behind the creation of catapults is to reinforce, enrich and extend the students schema that was built using the human body. The catapult mimics and acts much like one of our joints. The engineering design process will be used with each task. Students will be using concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as they complete this lesson.

Author: Justin Osterstrom


Content Area
  • Engineering
  • Science
  • Technology

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Students Journey through Human rather than Butterfly Metamorphosis

Second grade students focus on understanding animal life cycles by observing caterpillars changing into butterflies. They are actually observing an animal change their form and function into a completely different version in a relatively short period of time. Form and function are foundational elements in every field of engineering. In this lesson, students will take the journey of the caterpillar and will have the opportunity to change their form and function upon leaving their chrysalis. This STEM lesson will have students create a PowerPoint presentation to share with their classmates the journey that they have taken. The instructional techniques of this lesson are rooted in 21st Century Skills Framework and use rigor and relevancy to reach all learners.

Author: Justin Osterstrom


Content Area
  • Engineering
  • Math
  • Science

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Building Deep Sea Tools to Search for Sharks Teeth

Students are completing a unit on sharks. The unit is investigating different types of sharks, concept of sinking and floating and engineering tools that can solve a particular problem. Students will work in teams to solve the problem of retrieving shark teeth from the bottom of a container and conduct research after they have completed their task.

Students will:

  1. Be able to identify which shark their tooth has originated from through research
  2. Be able to measure and compare the different teeth found
  3. Work as an effective member of a team and collaborate to build a tool that can complete the design challenge using the engineering design process

Author: Justin Osterstrom


Content Area
  • Math

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Sustainable Forestry: Exploring Biotech Trees for Forest Health and Bioenergy

Heather Earp created an engaging curriculum unit for middle or high school students that explores forest biotechnology. She developed six lessons that focus on science, technology, engineering and math but will also integrate pressing social issues.


Content Area
  • Biology
  • Environmental Science
  • Genetics

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They Wept

Was America discovered or conquered?  What were the costs and benefits of the Indian Removal Act of 1830?  What were the attitudes and behaviors toward the Native American population? This project based lesson is designed to allow students to use a variety of technology tools to research the trail of tears, influencing factors and the key players involved.  The activities are designed to motivate students while allowing them to be in charge of their learning.  Teachers may elect to have students create all activities, place them in groups and allow them to select from the various choices or follow the instructions as provided.  Try the lesson, modify it to meet the needs of your students and contact the author with ideas or suggestions for improvement.

Author: Gail Holmes


Content Area
  • Social Studies

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Math Made SIMPLE as 1-2-3: Simplified Educational Approach to Algebra

Have you ever gotten tired of trying to figure out how to simplify complex linear equations? Learning how to manipulate linear equations is the cornerstone of Algebra and mathematics after middle school

Have you ever gotten frustrated with working out math problems and still not grasping the concept of why you are doing what you are doing to the math problem? The following lesson takes the major concepts of Algebra and middle school mathematics and simplifies the process so that a 4th grader could understand the concept.

Author: Thomas Kirkley


Content Area
  • Math

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Cell Analogy Book: Using Analogies to Understand and Remember Organelle Function

Students will evaluate the functions of cell organelles by creating a children’s book of analogies relating the role of each organelle to everyday objects. Students will then work cooperatively to create an online collage of their best analogies using padlet.com formerly wallwisher.com.

Author: Willow Alston


Content Area
  • Biology

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