Lesson Plan Guide: Industry Internships

By Matt Andrews

TITLE: Industry Internships: Research the possibilities
CONTENT AREAS: Choose Your Path, Prepare for Your Path


2-1: Students choose courses and activities that align with their interests and abilities.
3-3: Students understand the practical steps in transitioning to post-high school options.


  • Read the article “Industry Internships” from Student Paths.
  • Conduct online research for interesting and potential internships.
  • Do extended research at home to prepare for a discussion about internships.
  • Discuss with class how to find internships and why this experience is good for exploring career interests.

This lesson includes Day 1 to introduce the assignment and Day 2 to discuss the results of research on internships.



  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1a Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1b Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.

Common Core Standards: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/11-12

This lesson aligns with the following American School Counselor Association Personal/Social Development and Career Development Standards:

  • C:C1.7 Understand that work is an important and satisfying means of personal expression
  • PS:A2.6 Use effective communications skills
  • PS:A2.7 Know that communication involves speaking, listening and nonverbal behavior



Information about real opportunities for students to volunteer or have an internship is helpful, but not necessary for this lesson. This lesson is a great opportunity to distribute information from counselors or local providers about volunteer opportunities in the community.


  • Online access to MyStudentPath.com or print copies of Student Paths for each student.
  • Activity Handout
  • Whiteboard or big paper and markers for students to write list of internships for class to view


This lesson works best in two parts. On Day 1, introduce the reading and research on internships. Then, assign homework to do extended research to find internships so that on Day 2 students are informed and ready to participate in a deeper conversation about internships.

The purpose of this assigned research and discussion is for students to share and learn about internships. The primary message to students is that internships and volunteering are a great way for high school students to gain preliminary career experience. We may not expect this lesson to lead to an internship for most students, but every student should at least understand how to go about getting an internship. Use the lesson to spark general interest in pursuing a path that will prepare students for careers after high school.

Day 1
These activities may be given as a homework assignment, and assigned in less than 5 minutes. Or, this lesson may be conducted with laptops, tablets, or in a computer lab where students can use the Internet to research internships for approximately 30 minutes.

Reading (5 minutes)
Instruct students to read the article “Industry Internships.”

Assign Activity Handout (5 minutes)
Pass out the handout to students and read the instructions aloud.

Complete Activity Handout (10-40 minutes)
This handout may be completed in class or as homework. The purpose of the activity is for students to explore possible internships related to their career interests. Remind each student that the goal is to find a few interesting volunteer opportunities. Much of the web search may just hint at ideas; a real internship will take a little more work researching in the community. The suggested internships below are exciting, but unrealistic. First spark interest in all the possibilities; then, at the end of the lesson, direct attention to the tasks of asking around, calling places, and looking for specific opportunities in the local community. Now is the time to encourage students to search for all the ways they could learn through a volunteer opportunity this year.

Here is a quick list that may help students in need of more direction:


Computer Science at Google

Internships with School Construction Authority in New York City

Internships with Port of Seattle

U.S. Department of Justice

Conclude this day by reminding students to write what they learned from the research that may be helpful for other students. Write useful information on the back of the handout because this will be shared with the whole class at the next meeting.

Encourage students to continue the search at home and record it because it may be useful for other students.

Day 2
The purpose of this discussion is for students to use the information they gathered from Internet research assigned in Day 1 to better educate the whole class about internships. Focus attention on sparking interest in all kinds of possibilities with the occasional connection to specific possibilities a student could start in the community today. For example, a few students may be inspired by a science internship in another country; let the excitement spread, but be sure to also include volunteering in a retirement home or child care center that is much more realistic.

There does not need to be a specific definition of internship or volunteer opportunity. The point is for every student to find an educational opportunity to gain preliminary career experience.

Full Class Discussion (15-45 minutes):

Intro (5-10 minutes):
Introduce this discussion by asking students to list lots of possible internships on a whiteboard or big paper. Where could a student volunteer and gain experience in a career that interests him or her? List all the possibilities. Conclude the introductory brainstorming and ask: Does every student see a possible path on the board? Check with students, and if a student says nothing is of interest, spend a few more minutes as a class brainstorming places for these students to volunteer.

Pair and Share (5 minutes):
For the second part of the discussion, quickly pair students and have them share what they learned from the research with their partner. On Day 1, they were instructed to write what they learned on the back of the handout. Instructors may wish to set a timer so that each partner takes less than 2 minutes to summarize this information to the key nuggets of knowledge. Tell students to remember this information from their partner so that they may share it in the next discussion.

Discussion on Internships (5-30 minutes):
Return to a full group discussion and ask: What are some things we just learned from our partners? Spend time encouraging learning by prompting for further details and integration of other information that students found in the research.

The further questions should propel students in the direction of fully understanding possible internships and why these experiences are excellent ways to learn about career interests and abilities. Instructors may want to remind themselves of Common Core Standards for speaking and listening. Encourage students to take a full range of positions and reason through unclarity and disparity.

Conclude the Discussion (1 minute):
Conclude this discussion by reminding students that an Internet search is a great way to spark interest and find a few possibilities, but most volunteer opportunities in the community are unlikely to be readily available online. Encourage students to ask adults, a receptionist at a business they frequent, or a counselor for opportunities to volunteer. The point is to try something that would be on a path to explore career interests and better understand the abilities and qualities needed to succeed in the field.


There is no formal assessment for this lesson at this time. A real-life assessment of applying to and completing the internship is more important in the long term. If one would like to fully assess student learning for Student Paths, have each student create a 1- to 2-minute video reflection that demonstrates what is learned through the internship. This assessment would demonstrate a path toward completion for outcomes 2-1 and 3-3.


Question: How could I best learn about my interest in a future career?
Take the Student Path and ...
Find an Internship and Volunteer for an Opportunity to Learn

The overarching task for this assignment is to find lots of interesting internships and better understand a few local places you may be able to volunteer to gain career experience in a field that interests you. There are 4 tasks to complete:

  1. Read the article “Industry Internships,” at mystudentpath.com or a printed copy.
  2. Visit the website www.indeed.com and type in “internship” and the state where you live.
  3. Use your favorite search engines, such as Bing, Google, Yahoo, or Baidu, to search for more specific internships with career interests and location that fit your needs.
  4. Prepare for the class discussion and write a few key insights you gleaned from this research. On the back of this paper, answer this question: What did you learn from your research that may be helpful for other students?

For example, here is what one student learned:

I read the article and searched indeed.com. Then, I used Yahoo to search “internship, nurse, Dallas, Texas.” I found lots of links to career search sites such as indeed.com. I looked through many pages of search results to identify lots of interesting internships for my interest in medicine. I was not as interested in finding that one, special internship as I was in finding all the kinds of places a high school student could volunteer to gain some career experiences in a field like medicine.

I now know that I am not qualified for a real Nurse Intern yet, but I also better understand what college classes and degrees I need to complete before becoming a nurse. I found this site at Texas Health Resources helpful:


I decided to call a few doctors' offices and find out if I could volunteer for a few hours a week. I expect there are many privacy and medical restrictions so I will adjust and learn. I hope to find a possible way for me to gain real-life experience along my career path in medicine.

This student was motivated to research and reflect enough to find a volunteer opportunity that will be beneficial to her. You are encouraged to do the same! This is one of those assignments that does not need to be graded: The true evaluation is whether or not you find an educational experience outside of school that will better prepare you for the future.

Good luck in your search for an internship!

Industry Internships

About the Author

Matt Andrews