Jobs on File

Language Arts Activity

Students gather information about how people in their community make a living, and then organize that data.



  1. Students can conduct a jobs survey to learn how people in their community make a living. As a first step, the group will need to develop a questionnaire they can use to interview workers, such as family members, neighbors, and school personnel. (See Job Survey sample.)

  2. Have students model sample interviews in class, then make any necessary changes in their survey. Some students may want to conduct their interviews on tape.

  3. Create a loose-leaf Jobs on File notebook for completed surveys. Then ask students for suggestions on how to organize the data so that it is most useful. For example, they might put all the service jobs together and alphabetize them, then do the same for jobs involving products. Use tabs or dividers to separate the sections.


Explain to students that they are sampling the working population, that is, targeting only a small part of the actual number of workers. Encourage students to suggest ways they might learn more about the kinds of jobs available in their area; for example, using classified ads and the Yellow Pages. Some students, especially those who would find it difficult to conduct interviews, might instead use the newspaper for their research.

Help students transfer the information they gather to a computer database or to large index cards. Discuss the best way to enter the information so that it can be sorted; for example, by type (service or product) or by specific job title. Pose various questions (for example, about the number of jobs in a specific area) and have students organize the information in ways that answer the questions.

Challenge students to conduct more thorough job interviews and use them to prepare written job descriptions. Groups of students with a common interest in a particular job can meet and discuss what appeals to them about the work.

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