Careers of the Future

Format
Let's Talk Science

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students will learn about potential careers of the future and create their own job description.

Summary

  • Students will learn how careers of the future may use new technologies to tackle societal challenges
  • Students will assess the potential impacts of new technologies
  • Students will develop collaboration skills as they work together to describe a potential job of the future
  • Students will creatively communicate the education, skills, and responsibilities of a job that might exist in the future
Specific Expectations for Ontario

Grade 8 Science. Unit: Systems in Action

1.1 assess the social, economic, and environmental impacts of automating systems

2.7 use a variety of forms (e.g., oral, written, graphic, multimedia) to communicate with different audiences and for a variety of purposes

Setting the Stage

While no one knows for sure what future careers will look like, we can predict that there will be many that will surprise us! Many new careers involve recently invented technologies. For example, the usage of social media platforms has created a myriad of associated careers. These careers may help address societal challenges in new and exciting ways. Thinking about careers that might exist by the time they enter the workforce gets students excited about career opportunities and helps them think about what skills they might need to succeed in an occupation that doesn’t yet exist. 

In this lesson, students will brainstorm some of the challenges and technologies that careers of the future may address. Students will work in groups to create a job description for a potential future occupation and assess the potential impacts of technology.

Materials & Preparation

What To Do

Part 1: Introduction to Careers of the Future

  • Teachers could begin the lesson by asking students if they’ve ever thought about what jobs will look like in the future. Teachers could tell students that they are going to learn about careers of the future.
  • Students could watch one or more of the Let’s Talk Science "That’s a Real Job!" video profiles of future jobs as a class, in small groups, or individually. Teachers could lead a discussion about the future careers profiled in these videos using guiding questions such as the ones below: 
    • Did any of these careers surprise you? Why or why not?
    • What did you notice about these careers? Do these careers have common features?
    • What changes in society may cause the new career to be possible/necessary?
    • What societal needs or problems do each of these careers address?
    • What changes in technology could make these careers possible?
robotics engineer
Robotics Engineer (Let's Talk Science)
  • Teachers could point out that the future careers profiled in the videos address societal challenges using new technologies.
  • Teachers could arrange students in pairs or groups to start their thinking on future careers. Students are to brainstorm challenges and technologies that think may exist in the future. Teachers could make a T-chart, listing challenges on one side and technologies on the other. Students should develop their lists in their groups and then share to a common class list (e.g., a physical list on chart paper or white board or virtually using a shared document).
    • If students are struggling to come up with ideas teachers could suggest a couple of the following: 
      • Challenges: garbage, fresh water, healthcare, hunger, resource depletion and lack of housing 
      • Technologies: self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, space travel, drones and 3D printers
    • Teachers could review the list with students and ask the following guiding questions.
      • What trends do you notice in our lists? What do some of the problems or technologies have in common?
      • What are the most pressing challenges in our community? Country? World?
      • Which of these new technologies is most intriguing to you? Why?
    • Teachers could provide each pair/group with a copy of the Challenges-Technologies-Careers reproducible. Students should choose five challenges and/or technologies from the T-chart list and identify potential careers that might be created in response to the challenge or technology. 
    • Teachers could lead a class discussion in which each group share one of the careers they have predicted as a result of a particular challenge or technology.

Part 2: Describing Jobs of the Future

  • Each pair or small group of students could work together to create a job description for a job of the future. Students could either come up with their own job based on the challenges and technologies discussed in Part 1 or choose a job from one of the following resources. 
  • Once students have chosen a job, they could complete the Job Description of the Future reproducible.
    • Extension: Students could share a first draft of their job description with another group and receive feedback on their work. Students could then revise their description. 
  • Students could share their future job descriptions with their class in a variety of ways. Students could present to the class, create a poster or video, or make a digital presentation or comic strip. Each group could choose the best way to share their job description. 
Space farmer
Space Farmer (Let's Talk Science)
  • Once students have shared their descriptions with the class, teachers could lead a reflection discussion using the following guiding questions. 
    • What similarities did you notice between these jobs of the future? 
    • Which of these future careers would you most want to pursue? Why? 
    • What types of skills are needed to succeed in most of these careers?
    • What could you do to help prepare yourself for one of these jobs? 

Part 3: Unintended Consequences of New Technologies

  • To conclude this examination of how societal needs and wants result in new technologies that may create new careers, teachers could engage students in a discussion about other possible impacts of new technologies. To stimulate students' thinking, teachers could use the following examples:
    • while new jobs may be created through a new technology, it might also make other jobs redundant; those workers may have difficulty getting new jobs or may have trouble training for a new job
    • automobiles are a technology that has been around for a long time and there are many careers related to automobiles; they help people get around faster but these vehicles produce pollution and sometimes people are injured/killed by automobiles
    • social media is a great way to share your thoughts and connect with others; many new and exciting careers have been created by social media; sometimes people use social media to bully others or to engage in criminal activity.
  • Working in pairs, teachers could engage students in a Think-Discuss-Decide activity in which they will brainstorm the pros and cons to a technology-related issue. Teachers should provide each pair with a copy of the Consequences of Technology Think-Discuss-Decide reproducible to record their thinking on the issue provided. Each pair could join with another pair to form a quad. In their quad, each pair shares their thinking. After they have discussed one another's ideas, the quad should try to reach a conclusion with which all members agree. 
  • Teachers could ask for one member of each group to share their group's conclusion. If there are conflicting conclusions, the teacher could facilitate a whole class discussion to try to reach a class-wide consensus. Teachers should debrief with students that opposing opinions and ideas are healthy in society. The most important thing is that arguments are supported by facts or, in this case, well thought out opinions. It is also important that each side listen to the other's opinion/facts with an open mind.
  • To conclude this lesson and to help students consolidate their learning, teachers could provide students with an Exit Slip

Details

Assessment

  • Teachers could assess students’ creativity and communication skills based on their work on the Job Description of the Future reproducible and the way they share it with the class. 
  • Teachers could assess students’ collaboration skills by observing them working in groups to describe their job of the future.
  • Teachers could assess students’ engagement and participation during class discussions.
  • Teaches could collect and review student's Exit Slips and provide feedback.

Assessment

  • Teachers could assess students’ creativity and communication skills based on their work on the Job Description of the Future reproducible and the way they share it with the class. 
  • Teachers could assess students’ collaboration skills by observing them working in groups to describe their job of the future.
  • Teachers could assess students’ engagement and participation during class discussions.
  • Teaches could collect and review student's Exit Slips and provide feedback.

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