CareerStart lessons: Grade eight

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Essential question: How can critical thinking skills help you understand an author’s purpose in communication?

Learning outcomes

Students will answer questions to help them analyze the purpose of the creator of a brief military recruitment video.

Teacher planning

Materials needed

Time required for lesson

One class period


  1. Use the LCD projector to show the ROTC video on the Today’s Military website.
  2. Lead a class discussion about the video and the reason for its creation. Discussion questions might include:
    • Why do you think this video was created?
    • For what target audience do you think this video was created?
    • The creator of this video decided what to include in the video and what to leave out. What information do you think may have been omitted? What information would make your understanding of the author’s purpose obvious?
    • Why do you think the creator chose to include the people who appear in the video?
    • What questions would you like to ask the author in regard to the video?
    • What elements of the video do you think show bias?
    • What else about this website might provide clues as to why the video was created?
  3. Talk to students about the two careers involved in this lesson plan — careers in the armed forces and careers in video-making. (See “career information” below.)
  4. You may choose to conclude the lesson by having students write a brief paper describing how someone would make a video with the opposite purpose of the one they viewed.

Career information

Career information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Careers in the armed forces

Nature of the work

Maintaining a strong national defense requires workers who can do such diverse tasks as run a hospital, command a tank, program a computer system, operate a nuclear reactor, or repair and maintain a helicopter.

The military distinguishes between enlisted and officer careers. Enlisted personnel, who make up about 84 percent of the Armed Forces, carry out the fundamental operations of the military in combat, administration, construction, engineering, health care, human services, and other areas. Officers, who make up the remaining 16 percent of the Armed Forces, are the leaders of the military, supervising and managing activities in every occupational specialty.

Training and qualifications

To join the military, people must meet age, educational, aptitude, physical, and character requirements. These requirements vary by branch of service and vary between officers, who usually have a college degree, and enlisted personnel, who often do not. People are assigned an occupational specialty based on their aptitude, former training, and the needs of the military. All service members must sign a contract and commit to a minimum term of service. After joining the military, all receive general and occupation-specific training.


The earnings structure in the military is complicated. For more information see the earnings table on the armed forces profile page of the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Job prospects

Opportunities should be excellent for qualified individuals in all branches of the Armed Forces through 2016.

Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors

Nature of the work

Television, video, and motion picture camera operators produce images that tell a story, inform or entertain an audience, or record an event. Film and video editors edit soundtracks, film, and video for the motion picture, cable, and broadcast television industries. Some camera operators do their own editing.

Training and qualifications

Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors usually acquire their skills through formal postsecondary training at vocational schools, colleges, universities, or photographic institutes. A bachelor’s degree may be required for some positions, particularly those for film and video editors. Employers usually seek applicants with a good eye, imagination, and creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of how the camera operates.


Median annual earnings for television, video, and motion picture camera operators were $40,060 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $26,930 and $59,440. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,810, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $84,500.

Job prospects

Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors can expect keen competition for job openings because of the large number of people who wish to enter the broadcasting and motion picture industries, where many of these workers are employed.

Those who succeed in landing a salaried job or attracting enough work to earn a living by freelancing are likely to be the most creative and highly motivated people, able to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and adept at operating a business. The change to digital cameras has increased the importance of strong computer skills. Those with the most experience and the most advanced computer skills will have the best job opportunities.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 8

  • Goal 4: The learner will continue to refine critical thinking skills and create criteria to evaluate print and non-print materials.
    • Objective 4.01: Analyze the purpose of the author or creator and the impact of that purpose by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard, and/or viewed.
      • evaluating any bias, apparent or hidden messages, emotional factors, and/or propaganda techniques.
      • evaluating the underlying assumptions of the author/creator.
      • evaluate the effects of the author's craft on the reader/viewer/listener.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Speaking & Listening

        • Grade 8
          • 8.SL.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.

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

        • P.CR.3 Understand the relationship among personal and academic decisions, career expectations, and future life decisions. P.CR.3.1 Describe the effect of work on lifestyle. P.CR.3.2 Explain how work can help to achieve personal success and satisfaction.
        • P.CR.4 Understand the connection among attendance, collaboration, course selection, grades, grade point average, undergraduate admission, career expectations, and life goals. RED.CR.4.1 Compare the effects of personal and academic decisions upon career goals...