Writing Using Research: The Odyssey, Careers , and Heroes

WISELearn Grant Lesson Plan
Title:  Writing Using Research:  The Odyssey, Careers, and HeroesAuthor: Marcy Siolka
Subject(s)English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9Total Time: ten 45-minute 
class periods + presentations

Overview / Description:  After reading The Odyssey and discussing the hero journey, students will move into this career research unit.  First, students will choose a career that they are interested in exploring and researching.  They will create a project/presentation to share the information about their career with their classmates.  Then, they will choose a "hero" who made great strides in their chosen career as an inventor, business person, manufacturer, personality, etc.  Students will review using MLA style in-text citations and works cited, paraphrasing and summarizing, and writing research as they write a research paper about their career hero.

Learning goals/objectives:

After completing this activity, students should be able to . . .

  • summarize and paraphrase information for a presentation and research paper.
  • deliver an informational presentation to peers.
  • write a formal MLA style research paper.
  • create MLA in-text citations in a research paper.
  • create a works cited in MLA style.
  • write with good organization, word choice, formal voice, with few mechanical errors.

Workplace Readiness Skill: 

    Social Skills  X Communication 
   Teamwork     X    Critical Thinking
X    Attitude and Initiative  X  Planning and Organization
 X  Professionalism    Media Etiquette

Content Standards:  

W2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 

a. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. 

b. Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic. 

c. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. 

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. 

e. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. 

f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented 

W7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

W8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

SL4.  Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.


  • Unit handout
  • Power point about researching
  • Computers for researching

Learning Activities:

WHO (T=Teacher Focus Lesson; WG=Whole Group\; SM=Small Group; I=Independent)

Learning Activity Task                                                WHO is responsible
for this step?
Approximate time
for task
Students will understand and recognize the hero's journey in The Odyssey.T, I90 minutes prior to start of this unit
Students will choose quality resources for research and summarize that information.T, I90 minutes
Students will create a works cited page using MLA style citations.T, I45 minutes
Students will plan a presentation (about a career that they are interested in) to share their researched information.I90-135 minutes
Students will interview a person in their chosen career field..  (extra credit)I45 minutes
 Students will write a research paper about a person who has succeeded in their chosen career with MLA intext citations and works cited.. T, I 135 minutes
 Students will peer edit their papers and presentations and conference with the teacher. T, I 45 minutes
 Students will present their career information to the class. I 45-90 minutes

Assessment: Unit handout with grading rubrics for presentation and career hero paper

Wrap-Up:  This unit not only gives students knowledge of writing a research paper, but it also ties into the theme of Heroes that was started with The Odyssey unit and narrative writing about the hero journey.  It also could meet requirements for career and college readiness curriculum for your school.

Extension Activity (for intervention or enrichment):

ATTACHMENTS   Instructional Power Point on writing in MLA style

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