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CareerStart lessons: Grade seven

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 gain an understanding of how the 7th-grade science curriculum is relevant to possible future careers.

Teacher preparation

Time required for lesson

One class period (45-55 minutes)

Materials needed

  • Student handouts:
    • Student interest survey — one copy for each student
    • Science career sort — one copy for each group
    • Career description match — one copy for each group
  • Science career sort teacher key
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor (Note: If the Occupational Outlook Handbook is not available at your school media center or guidance office, please refer to the electronic version on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. This website is also a great tool for readers who would struggle with a handbook of this size.)
  • Computers with internet connections, if students will be accessing the electronic version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook — one computer for each group
  • Optional homework assignment: Career interview worksheet — one copy for each student


  1. Write the general topics covered by the 7th-grade science curriculum on the board. Ask the students to brainstorm what they will learn about under each topic. (This step may be done as a pre-activity the day before the lesson.)
  2. Ask students to complete the student interest surveys. Instruct students to put a yes beside activities they would like to do and a no beside the activities they would not like to do. (Section 1 represents an interest in mechanical physics. Section 2 represents an interest in health sciences. Section 3 represents an interest in weather.)
  3. Ask students to count how many checks they have in each section. Divide the students into groups. (Depending on how you choose to complete step five, you can decide if the students should be divided into common interest groups or grouped with students who have different interests.)
  4. Have students complete the career sort.
  5. After the students have completed the career sort, you may proceed in one of two ways, depending on time limitations:
  6. Close the lesson by discussing the careers that are associated with each topic of 7th-grade science. Ask students to brainstorm other relevant careers that are not listed in this activity.
  7. The career interview worksheet may be assigned as homework.
  8. Websites

    Optional resources for more information on the topics covered in this lesson

    Careers in Science
    On this webpage by Science Buddies, students can browse through over 100 careers in science and technology and find information on salary, job outlook, and degree requirements, as well as view video interviews with real scientists.
    Careers in Life Science
    The American Physiological Society hosts a page linking students to websites about careers in all areas of life science.

    North Carolina curriculum alignment

    Science (2005)

    Grade 7

    • Goal 1: The learner will design and conduct investigations to demonstrate an understanding of scientific inquiry.
      • Objective 1.09: Use technologies and information systems to:
        • Research.
        • Gather and analyze data.
        • Visualize data.
        • Disseminate findings to others.

    • North Carolina Essential Standards
      • Guidance (2010)
        • Progressing

          • P.CR.1 Understand the meaning and importance of career self-awareness and career goals. P.CR.1.1 Explain how personal skills, interests, and abilities relate to current career plans. P.CR.1.2 Develop a competency plan in your chosen career areas. P.CR.1.3...