CareerStart lessons: Grade eight

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.

Essential question: How has regional diversity affected the development of the tourism industry in North Carolina?

Learning outcomes

Students will gain an understanding of North Carolina’s geography and historic sites.

Teacher planning

Materials needed

  • Computers with internet access
  • Teacher computer with LCD projector
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Optional: brochures for historic sites outside North Carolina

Student handout

North Carolina tourism industry worksheet
Open as Microsoft Word document (98 KB, 2 pages)

Time required for lesson

  • 20 minutes for opening activity
  • 60 minutes for main activity


Opening activity

  1. Use the LCD projector to display the Tourism Research Data page from the North Carolina Department of Commerce website. Display the visitor profiles under the heading “North Carolina Fast Facts.”
  2. As a class, analyze the information. Use the graphics to discuss why the tourism industry is so important to the economic growth of North Carolina.
  3. Distribute the tourism industry worksheet. Have students answer the questions on the worksheet using the information from the Department of Commerce website. The questions ask students to examine the income from historic sites in North Carolina. (If student computers aren’t available, you can project information from the site and answer the questions as a group.)

Main activity

  1. Draw a Frayer Model and post it in the classroom. Use the model with the students to define “historical site.” The focus of the discussion should be on the attributes that make a historic site a tourist attraction. Follow this process for completing the model:
    • Characteristics — Have students list characteristics of a historical site (unique physical characteristics; tells the story of a historical figure, place, or time period; relays the development, heritage, or culture of a region; etc.)
    • Examples — Have students brainstorm examples of historical sites that they have visited or have heard of (local museum, Civil Rights International Museum, Lincoln Memorial, Statue of Liberty, etc.).
    • Non-examples — Have students brainstorm examples of places that they have visited that they don’t think would be considered historical sites (amusement parks, shopping malls, etc.).
    • Definition — Taking into account the characteristics, examples, and non-examples, allow students to create a definition of a historical site.

    Keep the Frayer Model posted in the classroom to use as a reference throughout the lesson.

  2. Project a map that shows historic sites in North Carolina. (Maps are available from NC WiseOwl and from the North Carolina historic sites website. The historic sites website offers both a web version and a PDF version.) Identify those that are included as examples from the Frayer Model the class created. Point out how many sites are not familiar to the group.
  3. Divide the class into three groups: Mountains, Piedmont, and Coast. Have each group work to promote historic sites in their assigned geographical region.
  4. Within each group, establish working partnerships. Each pair will select a historic site to study in their geographic region and promote that site as a tourist attraction by creating a poster to highlight the interesting information the site has to offer. Posters must include:
    • a description of the historic site and the surrounding area/region
    • planning information including location, cost of admission, and other local attractions
    • graphics that promote the historic site
    • organization with titles and subheadings
    • citations for information and pictures
  5. Distribute grading rubrics to establish standards. If possible, show examples of finished posters to use as models.
  6. When the posters are complete, display them, grouped by geographic region, in a “Gallery of Great Places to Visit in North Carolina.” Allow students to circulate and learn about sites in each region, choosing one they would like to visit.
  7. Conclude the lesson with a career-based discussion about travel agents, using the career information below.

Frayer Model

4. Definition:1. Characteristics:
Historical site
2. Examples:3. Non-examples


Use the following rubric for grading the historic site poster.

Coverage of the topic (Description of the site and surrounding region)Details on the poster capture the important information about the historic site and increase the audience’s interest in the site.Details on the poster relate to the topic but are too general or incomplete. The audience needs more information.Details on the poster have little or nothing to do with main topic.
Planning information (Location, cost of admission, other local attractions)Information is included on all three kinds of information needed for planning the trip.Information is included on two of the three kinds of information needed for planning the trip.One or fewer pieces of information needed for planning included.
Use of graphicsAll graphics are related to the topic and make it attractive to visitors.All graphics relate to the topic.Graphics do not relate to the topic.
OrganizationInformation is very organized with clear titles and subheadings.Information is organized, but titles and subheadings are missing or do not help the reader understand.The information appears to be disorganized.
SourcesAll sources (information and graphics) are accurately documented.All sources (information and graphics) are documented, but information is incomplete or many are not in the desired format.Some sources are not accurately documented.

Modifications and alternative assessments

  • Students could complete the posters for homework.
  • Students could create their posters using computer technology to capture images and create text. Make sure students properly cite the source of their materials.
  • Students could create brochures or fliers with fewer required elements.
  • Instead of working with a partner within each geographic region group, students can work individually to promote more historic sites within their assigned region.

Optional extensions

  • Plan a class field trip to one of the sites students researched.
  • Students can plan a virtual field trip for the class to visit three historic sites in North Carolina. This activity would be most beneficial if the students were asked to find three sites that represented the same time period or provided information about one historic topic (Quakers in North Carolina, Minority Rights, Early Industry, etc).

Career information

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

Travel agents

Job description

Travel agents assist travelers by sorting through vast amounts of information to help their clients make the best possible travel arrangements. Travel agents offer advice on destinations and make arrangements for transportation, hotel accommodations, car rentals, and tours for their clients. In addition, resorts and specialty travel groups use travel agents to promote travel packages to their clients.

Education and training

Most travel agencies prefer applicants who have received training specific to becoming a travel agent. Many vocational schools offer full-time travel agent programs. Travel agent courses also are offered in public adult education programs, online, and in community colleges. These programs teach students about geography, sales, marketing, and travel industry forms and procedures for ticketing and reservations.


Experience, sales ability, and the size and location of the agency determine the salary of a travel agent. Median annual wages of travel agents were $30,570 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,940 and $38,390. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,770, while the top 10 percent earned more than $47,860. Median wages in May 2008 for travel agents employed in the travel arrangement and reservation services industry were $30,470.

Job outlook

Little or no change in employment is expected over the 2008–18 period. Applicants with formal training should have the best opportunities to get a job as a travel agent. Travel agents who specialize in specific destinations or in certain types of travel or travelers should have the best chance for success.