Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Career Quest

Lydia Baker, Kelsey Willems | Published: December 13th, 2023 by K20 Center


Students work in groups to explore careers that use content that is specific to their courses. Students first complete a card sort to test their knowledge of careers and educational requirements before developing and presenting an informational report with a group about a career they are interested in. Afterward, they reflect on their learning through a One-Pager activity.

Essential Questions

What content is used in careers?

Learning Goals

  • Identify how careers use content learned in class.

  • Research the requirements and pay scale for a chosen career.


Engage - Students work in groups to complete a card sort to connect the career to the amount of education required.

Explore - Students work independently to identify any careers they are interested in pursuing.

Explain - Students get into groups based on common interests and learn about the most influential career fields in the state of Oklahoma.

Extend - Groups work together to create a presentation that connects a career to the content learned in class.

Evaluate 1 - Students present their presentations to the class.

Evaluate 2 - Students reflect on their learning through a One-Pager activity.

Materials List

  • Activity Slides (attached)

  • Career Fields Posters 8.5x11 (attached, 1 set for classroom)

  • Career Fields Posters 11x17 (attached, 1 set for classroom, optional)

  • Career Cluster Poster 8.5x11 (attached, 1 set for classroom)

  • Career Cluster Poster 11x17 (attached, 1 set for classroom, optional)

  • Careers Card Sort (attached, 1 set for every group)

  • Careers Cart Sort (Spanish) eLearning activity (linked)

  • Career Card Sort eLearning activity (linked)

  • Presentation Planning handout (attached, 1 per group)

  • Presentation Rubric handout (attached, 1 per group)

  • One-Pager Planning handout (attached, 1 per student)

  • Paper 8.5x11 (2 per student)

  • Sticky notes (1 per group, mini size recommended)

  • Pencil/pen

  • Colored Pencils/Markers

  • Ruler


15 Minute(s)

Use the attached Activity Slides to guide the lesson.

Move through slides 2-4 to introduce the lesson, essential question, and learning objectives.

Place students into groups of four and have them move to sit together in the classroom. If using the printed card sort, follow Option 1 below. If using the digital card sort, follow Option 2 below.

Option 1: If you are having groups work on the printed card sort, unhide slide 5 and introduce the Card Sort strategy. Then, pass out a copy of the attached Careers Card Sort to each group. Explain to the class that they are expected to sort the career cards by category based on the minimum amount of education they believe is required for that career.

Option 2: If having students complete the digital card sort, unhide slide 6 and introduce the Card Sort strategy. Help students navigate to the linked Career Card Sort eLearning activity by typing in the shortened URL code provided on the slide or scanning the QR code. Explain to the class that they are expected to sort the career cards into the correct categories based on the minimum amount of education they believe is required for that career. Give each student several minutes to complete the eLearning activity. Once completed, the students can check their answers on the webpage.

Once the card sort activity is completed, transition through slides 7-8 to show the correct answers. Review answers as much as you see fit to help clear up any misconceptions. 

Encourage students to move the cards to the correct location(s) and consider asking the following discussion questions:

  • Was there an educational requirement for a career surprising to you?

  • Which careers were the easiest for you to place?

  • Which career do you predict to be the highest/lowest paying?

  • Which careers would you predict require you to pass a test to qualify?


10 Minute(s)

Transition to slide 9 and ask each student to get out a piece of paper and a pencil. Explain to the class that while they looked at many careers during the card sort, they will now focus only on careers they are personally interested in. Have students list any and all careers they are interested in pursuing in the time allowed. Remind students that the careers listed on their paper can be similar or different to those in the card sort.

Start the K20 1-minute Timer and have students work independently. 

When the timer ends, move to slide 10 and ask students to work with their groups to sort their listed careers based on the six career fields on the slide. Ask each student to determine which career field is the most important on their paper and write it at the top when they have made that decision.


20 Minute(s)

Move to slide 11 and ask students to use the information they just discovered - the career field that most aligns with their interests - and move to that Career Fields Poster in the classroom.

Move to slide 12 and instruct students to create groups of 2-3 students at these posters.

When students have formed their groups and rearranged their desks to sit together, transition to slide 13 and briefly explain that an Individualized Career Academic Plan (ICAP) is a graduation requirement for every student in Oklahoma. Every job has been classified into 1 of 6 career fields. Review descriptions of each group as necessary.

Display slide 14 and ask groups to predict which career fields employ the most people in Oklahoma. Once students have made a decision, introduce the Sticky Bars strategy. Give each group a sticky note and ask them to share their prediction by putting their sticky note above the career field of their choice on the Career Fields Poster at the front of the room.

Move to slide 15 to show the driving systems, or career fields, that employ the largest number of people in Oklahoma. Review with the class what specific careers fall under the career fields.

Environmental and Agricultural Systems:

  • Agriculture

  • Bioscience

  • Wind Energy

Industrial, Manufacturing, and Engineering Systems:

  • Aerospace and Defense

  • Oil and Gas Energy

  • Transportation and distribution

Business, Marketing, and Management:

  • Information and Financial Services

Consider asking students in the class to give examples of companies in Oklahoma or their area that fall into these categories.


50 Minute(s)

Transition to slide 16 and pass out the attached Presentation Planning handout, one per group. Explain to the class that every career requires skills that are first gained in high school classes. In their groups, invite students to choose one career that falls under the Career Fields Poster that they have selected. 

Move to slide 17 and continue explaining the project. Using the Presentation Planning handout and rubric, students will create a digital presentation to showcase a career. Guide students to the following online resources: 

Move to slide 18 and explain the rubric in as much detail as you feel necessary. Once students understand the project expectations, have them begin working in their groups.

As groups work, walk around the room to keep groups on task and answer any questions that may arise. You may need to toggle between slides 17 and 18, depending on what information students need.

Evaluate 1

100 Minute(s)

When students have completed creating their presentations, show slide 19 and pass out the attached One-Pager Planning handout. Instruct students to pay close attention to the presentations and make notes on the handout for each prompt. Explain that these notes will be used during their reflection at the end.

Allow each group to present their chosen career as you grade them based on the attached Presentation Rubric.

Evaluate 2

20 Minute(s)

After all of the groups have had an opportunity to present, display slide 20 and provide each student with an 8.5” x 11” paper, ruler, and colored pencils. 

Introduce the One-Pager strategy to the class and instruct students to use the notes they took during the presentations on their One-Pager Planning handout to create a One-Pager reflection on their learning during this lesson. Explain the prompts on the slide in as much detail as necessary.

As students complete their One-Pager, instruct them to turn it in using established classroom procedures.