Photograph of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

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 experience with persuasive writing by writing letters stating their case as internship applicants.

Teacher preparation

Time required for lesson

Approximately 60 minutes

Materials needed

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Computers with internet access to access the Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • Optional: If you don’t have access to computers, you may print overviews of the careers discussed in this lesson and hand them out to students.


  1. Have each student choose a career he or she finds interesting from the following list of links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. You may choose to limit the career options or use all of the following:
  2. Have each student read about his or her selected career.
  3. Jigsaw activity: Put students into groups based on their chosen careers. For example, all the students who chose “Athletic Trainers” would be in one group. These are “expert” groups. Have the students in each expert group brainstorm a list of important facts about their career.
  4. Then put students into groups in which each student has a different career. In these new groups, have students report to the other group members the information they discussed in their expert groups. This ends the jigsaw activity.
  5. Have students choose a partner with the same career, and introduce the following writing prompt:

    The Better Business Bureau is recruiting two middle school students to be interns for the jobs of their choice. Based on your career discussion, write a letter to the chairman stating which job you would select and why both of you would be the best candidates for the job.

  6. Explain to the students that they should write this letter together. (For example, one student can write the introduction and the other can write the next paragraph, etc.)
  7. Have students hand in their letters for correction. If time permits, you may have the students peer edit the letters and then determine which two students should get the internship.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 7

  • Goal 3: The learner will refine the understanding and use of argument.
    • Objective 3.03: Create arguments that evaluate by:
      • understand the importance of establishing a firm judgment.
      • justifying the judgment with logical, relevant reasons, clear examples, and supporting details.
      • creating an organizing structure appropriate to purpose, audience, and context.

Guidance (2001)

Grade 6–8

  • Goal 4: Acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions.
    • Objective 4.01: Develop skills to locate, evaluate, and interpret career information.
    • Objective 4.04: Pursue and develop competency in areas of interest.

  • 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...
        • P.CR.2 Understand the relationship among career goals and interests, personal interests, aptitudes, and abilities. P.CR.2.1 Maintain a career-planning portfolio. P.CR.2.2 Use research and information resources to obtain career information.