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 understand how developing problem-solving skills are important in many careers.
  • Students will practice skimming for important information.

Teacher preparation

Time required for lesson

Approximately 50 minutes

Materials needed

  • Computers with internet access to access the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the optional article below
  • Optional: If you don’t have access to computers, you may print overviews of the careers discussed in this lesson and the article and hand them out to students.
  • Career graphic organizer
  • Overhead transparency of graphic organizer (or some way to project the graphic organizer)
  • Overhead or multimedia projector
  • Pencils


  1. As a class, discuss what students have learned in class so far about the problem-solving process. Have students suggest ways in which they think these skills might be useful in their adult lives and in future careers.
  2. Put students into pairs and have them skim the information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook about the careers listed below. These careers are related to the article about Nepal, but they can be analyzed on their own if you choose not to use the article:

    As they read, instruct the students to focus on how people in these occupations use problem-solving skills in the course of their work. You may want to do a think-aloud with one of the career descriptions to show students how to skim for important information.

  3. Hand out the graphic organizer and have the students work in their pairs to fill in the information in the graphic organizer.
  4. Review as a class, adding information from the class to your overhead to create a complete graphic organizer.
  5. Parent involvement activity: Have students interview a parent, guardian, or other family member about ways they use problem solving in their jobs. Students should add this information to their graphic organizers.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 7

  • Goal 2: The learner will synthesize and use information from a variety of sources.
    • Objective 2.01: Respond to informational materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.
      • analyzing the characteristics of informational works.
      • summarizing information.
      • determining the importance of information.
      • making connections to related topics/information.
      • drawing inferences and/or conclusions.
      • generating questions.

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.

  • 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.