Car board game.

CareerStart lessons: Grade six

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.

Learning outcomes

Students will follow workplace-related writing prompts to practice argumentative writing.

Teacher planning

Materials needed

  • Student handouts:
    • Parent survey
    • Writing prompt sample
    • Problem-solution tree
    • “Argumentative Prompts in the Workplace” handout
  • Transparency copy of problem-solution tree
  • Overhead or multimedia projector
  • Student notebook paper

Time required for lesson

Approximately 70 minutes
Homework time will be needed prior to the lesson for parents to complete the parent survey.

Advance preparation

The night before the lesson, send the parent survey home to be completed and returned the day of the lesson.


  1. Conduct a class discussion using the results of the parent survey about problems at work. Discuss observations students have made at home regarding their parents’ problems at work. (5 min)
  2. Pass out writing prompt sample handout. Go over the sample problem and solution. (5-10 min)
  3. Pass out the graphic organizer (problem-solution tree) and project a copy of it on the overhead or multimedia projector. Discuss good reasoning and planning by filling in the tree on the overhead. (5-10 min)
  4. Instruct students to complete the problem-solution tree handout and write one solution paragraph responding to the prompt of their choice from the “Argumentative Prompts in the Workplace” handout. Encourage students to use the writing prompt sample handout as a guide to complete their prompts. (25-30 min)
  5. Put the students into groups according to the prompt they selected. Have them share and discuss their solution paragraphs. (5-10 min)

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 6

  • Goal 3: The learner will examine the foundations of argument.
    • Objective 3.02: Explore the problem solution process by:
      • studying examples (in literature and other text) that present problems coherently, describe the solution clearly, sequence reasons to support the solution, and show awareness of audience.
      • preparing individual and/or group essays and presentations that focus on the diagnosis of a problem and possible solutions.

Guidance (2001)

Grade 6–8

  • Goal 5: Employ strategies to achieve future career success and satisfaction.
    • Objective 5.08: Use employability and job readiness skills in work-based learning experiences.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Guidance (2010)
      • Early Independent

        • EI.C.1 Use creative strategies to make decisions and solve problems. EI.C.1.1 Analyze solution strategies in terms of assumptions and biases. EI.C.1.2 Create new and different ways of achieving long-term goals. EI.C.1.3 Evaluate the effectiveness of creative...
      • Progressing

        • P.C.1 Use creative strategies to make decisions and solve problems. P.C.1.1 Understand how to make adjustments to strategies that are not effective in making decisions or solving problems. P.C.1.2 Analyze strategies you have used in the past to determine the...