Fun Facts about North Carolina – Intermediate

Can you answer these questions about North Carolina? Search the internet for the information. Then check your answers at the bottom!

  1. Where did North Carolina get its name?
  2. What is the title of the state song?
  3. How many state parks are there in NC?
  4. How many lighthouses are there in NC?
  5. What famous soda was invented in New Bern, NC?
  6. Which NC city is known as “the furniture capital of the world”?
  7. America’s largest home is located in NC. Where is it, and what is its name?
  8. Which 3 U.S. Presidents were from NC?
  9. Which famous pirate ship sank off the coast of NC?
  10. Name 3 professional sports teams in NC.

Greetings from North Carolina, state capitol in Raleigh, state flower the Dogwood, state bird the Cardinal
Now, check your answers.

  1. Carolina is the feminine form of the masculine name Charles. Carolina was an area owned by England and named after King Charles I. In 1710, Carolina was divided into two parts – North Carolina and South Carolina.
  2. The state song is called “The Old North State.” You can listen to it here.
  3. There are 27 state parks in NC, from the mountains to the beach. Three of them are in Wake County. Click here to see a map of all the state parks.
  4. There are 12 lighthouses in NC. Click here to see a map of all the lighthouses. Click on each one to learn more about it and see pictures.
  5. Pepsi was invented in New Bern, NC in 1893.
  6. High Point, NC is known as “the furniture capital of the world” because many of the world’s largest furniture companies are located there. High Point also has an event every year called the High Point Market. Furniture professionals come to NC for a week to see the biggest, most complete showing of products.
  7. The Biltmore Estate is located in Asheville, NC. The whole estate is almost 11 square miles (more than 28 square km), and it includes a house, gardens, stables, a hotel, and several restaurants. The house has 179,000 square feet (more than 16,600 square meters), and 250 rooms!
  8. Andrew Jackson (7th president), James K. Polk (11th president), and Andrew Johnson (17th president) were all from NC. However, each one was living in Tennessee when he was elected.
  9. Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, sank off the coast of NC in 1718. You can see pieces of it at the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC.
  10. The Carolina Panthers (football), Carolina Hurricanes (hockey), Charlotte Hornets (basketball), and Carolina Railhawks (soccer) are all major/national league teams in NC. We also have many minor league baseball teams, including the Durham Bulls and the Carolina Mudcats. You can easily see the Hurricanes, the Bulls, or the Mudcats play in this area.

Your Turn

What did you learn about NC today? What would you like to learn more about? Do some research, and present it to your class!

Fun Facts about North Carolina – Advanced

Can you answer these questions about North Carolina? Search the internet for the information. Then check your answers at the bottom!

  1. Which vegetable does NC grow more of than any other state?
  2. What is “The Lost Colony”?
  3. Which famous doughnut restaurant was started in Winston-Salem, NC?
  4. In 1587, an English baby was born on Roanoke Island, NC. She was the first English child to be born in the “new world.” What was her name?
  5. What is the state motto (a sentence or phrase that shows someone’s beliefs) in Latin? What does it mean in English?
  6. How many capital cities has NC had in its history?
  7. Where did Raleigh get its name?
  8. What happened at Kill Devil Hills in 1903?
  9. Name 3 of NC’s major products (not including fruits and vegetables).
  10. When did NC enter the Union (become a state)?

North Carolina

By Peter Fitzgerald (Own work based on [1] and other PD USG maps) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Now, check your answers.

  1. NC produces more sweet potatoes than any other state. In fact, the sweet potato is the official state vegetable of NC.
  2. In 1587, a group of people from England arrived on Roanoke Island, NC. They came to start a colony (a group of people from one country who start a new life together in another place). Their leader, John White, went back to England for supplies. He was delayed because England was at war with Spain. When he returned 3 years later, the colony was gone. The houses were gone (not destroyed), and the people were gone. John White found the word “Croatoan” carved (written by digging into a piece of wood or stone) into a tree. White thought that maybe the colonists had moved south to another island, called Croatoan. The Croatoan Indians lived there, and they were friendly. However, before he could go to Croatoan to find out, there was a hurricane, and he was forced to return to England. We are still not sure what happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke.
  3. Krispy Kreme was founded (established/started) in Winston-Salem, NC in 1937.
  4. Virginia Dare was born in 1587 on Roanoke Island, NC. Her parents were Eleanore and Ananias Dare. The family was part of the Lost Colony.
  5. Esse quam videri = To be, rather than to seem
  6. NC has had 4 different capital cities. The first was Bath (1705-1722), followed by Edenton (until 1743). Then the capital was New Bern (1743-1792). Finally, a new capital city was established.
  7. The city of Raleigh was named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who paid for the establishment of the 1587 Roanoke colony (the Lost Colony).
  8. Wilbur and Orville Wright, brothers from Ohio, built the first successful airplane. On December 17, 1903, they flew the airplane for the first time at Kill Devil Hills, NC.
  9. Here are some NC’s major non-food products: tobacco, furniture, textiles, cotton, chemicals (pharmaceuticals, cleaning products), granite.
  10. North Carolina entered the Union on November 21, 1789. It was the 12th state to join.

Your Turn

What did you learn about NC today? What would you like to learn more about? Do some research, and present it to your class!

Raleigh Lakes

When you arrived in Raleigh, what did you notice? Most students say that the nature here is beautiful. It is very green, and we have many parks and lakes that are open to the public. Today, I want to tell you about the lakes in this area. There is probably one close to your home. If you have never visited one of Raleigh’s lakes, now is a great time!

Lake Johnson

Lake Johnson
Photo used with permission by Amaris Photo (

Lake Johnson – Close to NCSU and downtown Raleigh, Lake Johnson has over 4 miles of trails for walking and running. You can rent canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and small sailboats. You can also have a picnic in one of the shelters.

Shelley Lake – This lake is in midtown Raleigh. It has 2 miles of trails for walking or running. It also has basketball courts and playgrounds for children. If you like art, you can take classes at Sertoma Arts Center, also located at Shelley Lake Park.

Lake Benson – Located in Garner, Lake Benson has 2 miles of trails for walking or running, playgrounds for kids, grills, picnic shelters and a large field. You can relax or play in the field, but the town of Garner often uses it for events as well.

Jordan Lake – This is the biggest lake in the area with lots of possible activities. It is southwest of Raleigh, near Apex. You can swim, camp, hike, fish, boat, and picnic. Click here for more information on where to go and what you can do.

Lake CrabtreeLake Crabtree is in Morrisville, near RDU airport. It is also a large park with lots of activities. They have boating, fishing, trails for hiking and mountain biking, play areas, volleyball courts, and picnic shelters.

Lake WheelerLake Wheeler is located south of Raleigh, between Raleigh and Garner. You can rent boats by the hour, go fishing, have a picnic, or play volleyball. The park also has a playground for children ages 2-12.

Disc Golf

Disc Golf
photo credit: Easy position via photopin (license)

Harris Lake – This lake is south of Jordan Lake, close to Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina. It has similar activities to Lake Crabtree – boating, fishing, trails for hiking and mountain biking, play areas, volleyball courts, and picnic shelters. It also has a disc golf course, which is like golf, but instead of hitting a ball, you throw a disc. Click here for more information.

Falls Lake – Falls Lake is located in Wake Forest, north of Raleigh. Here you can swim, camp, hike, bike, fish, boat, and picnic! Get more information here.

Lake Lynn – Located in North Raleigh, Lake Lynn has lots of cool things that other parks don’t have. There’s a community center with a fitness room, meeting room, art room, dance studio, and kitchen. There’s an indoor basketball court, 4 tennis courts, and a bocce court. There is a baseball field and batting cages. And there are two playgrounds – one for children ages 2-5, and another for children ages 5-12.

Tax Day

If you work in the United States and earn money from an American company, you must pay state and federal income taxes. Usually, your employer will withhold (hold back/not give you) a certain amount each time you get paid. At the end of the year, three things are possible:

  1. They did not withhold enough, and you must pay more.
  2. They withheld too much, and the government returns the extra money to you. This is called a refund.
  3. They withheld the right amount, and you break even (you don’t need to pay, and the government does not need to pay you).

We have 4 months to “do our taxes” (from January 1 to April 15). When you do your taxes, you:

  • add up all the money you have received
  • subtract all the money your employer withheld
  • subtract other money you spent on things for your job, medical bills, education, charity, etc.
  • figure out if you owe (must give) money to the government, or if they owe money to you
  • complete some tax forms
  • file your taxes, which means you send your tax forms to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)
  • pay if you owe taxes OR tell the government where to send your money if they owe you

It sounds complicated, but there are many computer programs that make doing your taxes easy. You can also pay a tax professional to do your taxes for you. You can also file your taxes online, pay your taxes online with a credit card, and get the government to put your refund directly into your bank account.

Taxes are due on April 15. You can do your taxes early, but if you do them after April 15, you will have to pay a penalty.

If you have not done your taxes yet, you only have a few more days. If you need help, there are places you can go for assistance. When you go, volunteers will help you prepare and file your taxes. Click here for locations and information about what you need to take with you.

NC Museum of History

North Carolina Museum of History

By Abbylabar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that Raleigh has a great museum all about North Carolina history? The NC Museum of History in downtown Raleigh is a wonderful place for you and your family to learn about the history of our state!

What can I see at the museum?

The NC Museum of History has permanent (all the time) and temporary (only for a short time) exhibits. An exhibit is a collection of things in a museum. Right now, there are 13 exhibits you can see. Some are inside, and some are outside the museum. One of the permanent exhibits is the history of North Carolina. As you walk through the exhibit, you will see 14,000 years of life in this area.

In another exhibit, you can learn about movies and TV shows that were made in NC. Did you know that The Hunger Games was filmed in the NC mountains? And the TV series, Sleepy Hollow, is filmed in Wilmington, NC!

One temporary exhibit will be ending soon. It’s all about bluegrass music. Bluegrass is a type of folk music that is popular, especially in the western part of NC. If you like music, you should see this exhibit.

Click here for more information about exhibits.

How do I get to the museum?

The NC Museum of History is located at 5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. It is VERY close to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the NC Capitol Building, and Marbles Kids Museum. If you don’t have a car, you can still get there easily because most buses pass very close to the museum. Click the map to get directions from your house.

Map to NC Museum of History

Click the map for directions – Screenshot of Google Maps

What if I can’t go to the museum?

If you want to go to the museum, but you can’t, they also have online exhibits about racial equality, health and healing, and NC in the Civil War. You can “visit” the museum without leaving your home!

Who should visit the museum?

EVERYONE! The NC Museum of History has fun learning activities and programs for adults, kids, and families! Even if you don’t participate in a special program, the museum’s exhibits have interesting things for people of all ages to see and touch.

When can I go?

The museum is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Sunday, it is open from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. It is FREE to go into the museum, and some of the exhibits are free, but you must pay for some special exhibits.

Rip Van Winkle

“Rip Van Winkle” is a short story that was written by American author Washington Irving. Irving was born in New York City at the end of the American Revolution (the war in which Americans gained independence from Great Britain). Many things changed before and after the American Revolution, and “Rip Van Winkle” is a story about those changes.

The main character in the story is a man named Rip Van Winkle. He lives in the Catskill Mountains in New York, and everyone loves him. His only problem is that his wife always nags (asks or demands again and again and again…) him to do more work around the house. He is tired of listening to her, so one day, he walks up into the mountains with his dog. He meets some men who are carrying beer, and he starts drinking with them. He falls asleep, and when he wakes up, everything is different. His dog is gone. His beard is a foot long (about 30 cm). His gun is rusty.

Rip walks down to his village, but he doesn’t know anyone, and he thinks their clothes are strange. The houses are new, and the village is bigger. His own house is old, dirty, and falling apart. Rip notices that the people seem different. They used to be relaxed, but now they are very busy. When he left, there was a picture of King George III (King of England at the time of the American Revolution) in the inn, but now, there is a picture of George Washington (hero of the Revolutionary War and 1st president of the United States). Rip Van Winkle slept through the whole war! He slept for 20 years!

After such a long time, Rip’s wife is dead, and his children are adults. Rip used to be an important man, but the people in the village do not know him now. Finally, an old woman identifies him. Then Rip’s daughter takes him home to live with her family, and he spends every day at the inn, where he tells his story to everyone. Some people find him strange and interesting. Some people are jealous because he escaped his wife and slept through the war. Some people like hearing about the old days. But everyone knows his story.

Best Outdoor Restaurants in the Triangle

It’s getting warmer, and that means people want to spend more time outside. Raleigh has some really great restaurants with outdoor seating. I will tell you about some of my favorites.


photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Dos TaquitosDos Taquitos in midtown Raleigh is a Mexican restaurant. If you want to try something different in that area, Relish is an American restaurant with delicious southern food. Both restaurants are near the corner of Creedmoor Rd. and Millbrook Rd., not far from Crabtree Valley Mall.

Boylan Bridge Brewpub – If you like beer, you should try Boylan Bridge Brewpub. They make their own beer, and they have an excellent view of downtown Raleigh from their large patio. If you don’t like beer, they have great burgers and sandwiches!

Mellow Mushroom – Mellow Mushroom is not authentic Italian pizza, but it is delicious, and you can eat outside at the Mellow Mushroom in Raleigh, the one in Cary, or the one in Durham.

Busy Bee – Located in downtown Raleigh, Busy Bee has amazing, fresh southern food and some really great salads.

Enrigo Italian Bistro – If you want authentic Italian food, you should go to Enrigo at Waverly Place in Cary. The chefs came to the United States from Italy to bring incredible Italian food to YOU! Also, just outside the restaurant, there is a nice play area for children, so take the whole family!

NeomondeNeomonde has two locations in the Triangle (one near NCSU, and one in Morrisville near the airport), both with excellent outdoor seating. The Lebanese food is perfect, and the location near NCSU has a small grocery section.

Tobacco RoadTobacco Road is a restaurant for people who love sports. They have great food and large TVs so you can watch all your favorite games. They have locations in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, all of which have outdoor seating, but I recommend that you go to the one in Durham. It is near the Durham Bulls baseball park, and if you sit outside, you can see the ballpark!

Southern Food

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Coquette BrasserieCoquette is located at North Hills, in midtown Raleigh. It has French food and was recommended to me by a friend from France, so you can be sure that it’s good! Brunch (between breakfast and lunch, around 11:00 a.m.) is my favorite time to go.

Humble Pie – Since you are in the American South, I have one more southern food recommendation for you. Humble Pie, in downtown Raleigh, has some super delicious things for you to try. Go for lunch or dinner, but it’s also a great place for brunch!

CarrburritosCarrburritos is a family-owned restaurant in Carrboro (next to Chapel Hill). It’s not authentic Mexican food, but it is very, VERY good. If you go to Chapel Hill for any reason, PLEASE eat at Carrburritos.

Your Turn

Do you like to eat outside? Tell us about your favorite restaurants in this area. Or go out to eat with your class, and send me a picture!

The History of Washington, D.C.

What state is Washington, D.C. in? Is it a part of Maryland? What about Virginia? West Virginia, maybe? The capital of the United States is near all of those, but it’s not actually IN any of them. Actually, it’s not in a state at all. Keep reading to find out more about Washington, D.C.

Why isn’t Washington, D.C. in a state?

Some people say the nation’s capital isn’t in a state because people didn’t want one state to have more power than any other state. However, this is not true. Philadelphia, PA (Pennsylvania) used to be the capital, but something happened in 1783 that made Congress want to move.

After the Revolutionary War, hundreds of soldiers went to Philadelphia to ask for payment for their work during the war. Congress ignored (didn’t pay attention to) them, so the soldiers barricaded (blocked/prevented from opening) the doors of Independence Hall and would not permit the members of Congress to leave. A man named Alexander Hamilton talked to the soldiers, and finally, the delegates (members of Congress) were allowed to leave and meet later to discuss the soldiers’ demands (strong requests).

Congress was scared of the soldiers, so they asked the state of Pennsylvania for protection. At that time, the federal government had no real control over the military during times of peace. The country mostly used state militias (military groups) to act as the army and the police. Pennsylvania didn’t think that their militia would fight against other soldiers to protect Congress, so when Congress asked for help, Pennsylvania said, “No.”

Congress had no choice. They had to flee (run away from) Pennsylvania and begin to make plans for a federal city that they could govern (rule/be in charge of) and protect. Six years later, when the Constitution went into effect, Congress was able to create a federal city where they could do their jobs safely.

By 1800, the city of Washington had been established, and Congress had started working there.

What does D.C. mean?

The Constitution says that Congress has the power “to exercise exclusive legislation” over a federal district. That means Congress can be in control of a federal district. Congress set up this district in 1791 along the Potomac River. It included the city of Washington, but the states of Maryland and Virginia also gave land to the federal district. The land that Maryland gave included the city of Georgetown, and the land that Virginia gave included the city of Alexandria. The territory also had two counties – the County of Alexandria to the west of the river, and the County of Washington to the east.

In 1846, the city of Alexandria wanted to return to Virginia, so Congress gave it back, and in 1871, the rest of the territory (Washington and Georgetown) was combined into a single city called the District of Columbia.

So the city we know as Washington, D.C. is actually not Washington at all. The federal city of Washington and the former Maryland city of Georgetown ceased (stopped) to exist in 1871 when they became one city – the District of Columbia. The official name of the nation’s capital is the District of Columbia, but we still call it Washintgon today. Also, the former city of Georgetown still exists, but it is only a historical neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

Questions and Answers about Easter

With a partner, practice asking and answering these questions about Easter. For each one, “Q” means question, and “A” means answer. Take turns asking and answering the questions.

Easter Eggs

photo credit: Merry Easter! via photopin (license)

1. Q: What is Easter?
A: This year, Easter is on Sunday, April 5th.

2. Q: What is Easter?
A: Easter is an important Christian holiday. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

3. Q: What does “resurrection” mean?
A: “Resurrection” means returning to life. Christians believe that Jesus died and returned to life.

4. Q: What do people say on Easter?
A: On Easter, people say, “Happy Easter!”

5. Q: How do people celebrate Easter?
A: People celebrate Easter by going to church, eating a special meal with family, and coloring eggs.

6. Q: Why do people color eggs for Easter?
A: The egg is a symbol of new life. In many spring festivals, people color and decorate eggs. Then they give the eggs to friends and family. Christians believe that Jesus gives them new life.

7. Q: What is an Easter egg hunt?
A: An Easter egg hunt is a game for children. Adults hide Easter eggs, and the children find them. Often, the eggs are plastic and have small toys or candy inside.

8. Q: What is the Easter Bunny?
A: The Easter Bunny is a holiday character like Santa Claus. Santa brings gifts at Christmas, and the Easter Bunny brings gifts at Easter. Most American children believe in Santa Claus, but many American children do not believe in the Easter Bunny because their parents do not tell them that the Easter Bunny is real.

9. Q: What is Holy Week?
A: Holy Week is the week before and including Easter. It begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.

10: Q: What is Palm Sunday?
A: Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. On Palm Sunday, Christians remember the day when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.

11: Q: What other important days are in Holy Week?
A: The other important days in Holy Week are Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

12. Q: What is Maundy Thursday?
A: Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter Sunday. On Maundy Thursday, Christians remember the the last meal that Jesus ate with his friends before he died. After this meal, his friend Judas took soldiers to Jesus, and they arrested him.

13. Q: What is Good Friday?
A: Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. On Good Friday, Christians remember the death of Jesus.

14. Q: Why is school closed on Good Friday?
A: Good Friday is a state holiday in North Carolina. Government offices, courts, post offices, public schools, and some banks are closed on state holidays.

15. Q: What can I do in Raleigh for Easter?
A: You can go to a Christian church. You can also take your children to an Easter egg hunt. The city of Raleigh has plans for several Easter egg hunts in parks all over the city. (Click here for more information.)

Your Turn

Take turns asking and answering the questions with your partner. Ask your teacher to help you with your pronunciation. Make a video of your class talking about Easter!

The Bill of Rights

Public Domain Image from NARA (

You might know that the first 10 amendments (changes) to the Constitution of the United States are called the Bill of Rights. What does this mean? What rights do we have? And why didn’t they put these rights in the Constitution in the beginning?

The Constitution is very basic, but it includes instructions for making changes to it. The people who wrote it understood that Americans might need to add or change things later, so they created the legal process for these changes.

The states approved the Constitution, but a lot of people were still confused about what the law said. They needed to know exactly what they could do and what they could not do. They also wanted to know what the government could and could not do. The Bill of Rights was written in 1791 to clarify (make more clear) the rights, powers and limitations of the people, the states and the federal government of the United States.

What rights are described in the Bill of Rights?

Here are the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States, also known as the Bill of Rights:

  1. The First Amendment says that the people of the United States have freedom of religion, speech, the press (journalists/news people), peaceful assembly and petition of the government. That means that if I don’t like the government, I can say that I don’t like the government. I can call or write letters to my Congressmen to complain or ask for changes, or I can go with a group to Washington, D.C. to say that we are unhappy about something. I can also practice any religion I want or no religion at all.
  2. The Second Amendment allows us to own guns. However, each state has its own, more specific rules.
  3. The Third Amendment says that the government cannot require people to let soldiers live in their private homes during a time of peace.
  4. The Fourth Amendment says that the police cannot search your home, take anything from you, or arrest you without a VERY good reason. They must have a warrant (an order from a judge) or probable cause. Probable cause means that they have an excellent reason to think you have done something illegal.
  5. The Fifth Amendment explains the correct ways to do things in court. This amendment also says that the government cannot take your private property. If they want it, they have to pay you a good price for it.
  6. The Sixth Amendment gives more rules about trials in court. It says you have the right to a speedy (fast) trial by an impartial (fair) jury in the district (city or county) where the crime was committed. It also says that if you are arrested and on trial, you have the right to know what police believe you did, you have the right to a lawyer, and you have the right to witnesses both against you and in your favor. That means they will talk to people who say you did something illegal AND people who say you didn’t do anything wrong.
  7. The Seventh Amendment provides for a trial by jury in civil cases. If you do something illegal and get arrested, you may have a criminal trial. In a civil case, nobody gets arrested. Usually, civil cases are disagreements between two people (or companies). For example, if you have a contract with a company, and you pay the company for some work, but the company does not do its job, you can go to court in a civil case to try to get your money back. The Seventh Amendment says that a jury can decide who is right and who is wrong in this kind of case.
  8. The Eighth Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment and excessive fines and bail. This means that if you do something illegal, your punishment must be equal to your crime. For example, you cannot go to jail for 30 years because you stole something small from Target.
  9. The Ninth Amendment just says that the Bill of Rights is not a complete list, and that any rights not included should not be denied.
  10. The Tenth Amendment says that if the Constitution and the Bill of Rights don’t say anything about a right, each state can decide its own rules. For example, there is nothing in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights about driving laws, so each state has its own rules about how old you must be to get a license, how often you must get your car inspected, etc.

Your Turn

For more information about the Bill of Rights, check out this site. Then, for fun, print and complete this crossword puzzle about the First Amendment!