Careers in Physics

Format
Let's Talk Science

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students explore careers in the area of physics and relate their science classroom learning to specific careers.

Summary

  • Students will identify a broad range of careers that regularly use a variety of scientific knowledge and skills, specifically in the area of physics.
  • Students will understand and appreciate how grade-level science content applies to specific careers, particularly those related to learning goals / outcomes / targets / skills in physics

Setting the Stage

For over a decade, the popular television show “The Big Bang Theory” brought the study of physics into mainstream society. Characters regularly discussed scientific content during conversations or as part of an episode’s plot. This lesson aims to reveal that there is more to a career in physics than solely doing research in a university laboratory.

The duration of this lesson depends on the age and ability of students, as well as how far teachers wish to explore the topic with their students.

Materials & Preparation

  • Whiteboard or document camera with projector and screen (for word splash activity)
  • Paper and writing utensil (for students)
  • Website links provided in lesson plan
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Careers In Physics Exit Slip Reproducible [Google Doc] [PDF]

What To Do

Activate

  • Teachers can create a word splash (Wordle, Word Cloud, etc.) as students discuss their answers to the following question: “What comes to mind when you think of careers in physics?” 
  • Teachers may wish to have students copy the word splash for their own reference and to increase their engagement in the activity.

Acquire

  • To begin this stage, teachers could present the following non-exhaustive list of careers in physics to students by writing them on the whiteboard, projecting them with a document camera or onto a screen, etc. Teachers are welcome to add to this list with their own examples, especially those careers which are not immediately obvious as being related to physics. 
  • Alternatively, teachers could organize students into groups to brainstorm as many “physics careers” as they can. As each group reports, the teacher could compile the list and augment with careers from the list below as necessary. 
Careers that use Physics concepts
Astronaut Engineering Architecture Optometry
Construction Electrician Software designer Automotive technician
Professional Athlete Computer programmer Video game developer Pilot
Military Meteorologist Photographer X-ray technician

 

Apply

  • Teachers could provide a list of physics-related curricular content to which students will match careers. Examples include but are not limited to: reflection, refraction, electromagnetic radiation, hydraulics, pneumatics, energy transformation, light, internal and external forces, electrostatic phenomena, etc. 
  • Teachers could provide students with an Exit Slip to provide opportunity for reflection and consolidation.

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the work and contribution of Melissa Mathew, teacher at Stonybrook Middle School, Hanover School Division in the development of this lesson.

Details

Assessment

  • As this is meant to be an exploratory task, no formal summative assessment is required. 
  • Teachers can circulate during the group work time and use observation of students as well as conversation with students to gauge their progress with the above-mentioned learning goals.
  • Teachers could collect and review the Exit Slip.

Assessment

  • As this is meant to be an exploratory task, no formal summative assessment is required. 
  • Teachers can circulate during the group work time and use observation of students as well as conversation with students to gauge their progress with the above-mentioned learning goals.
  • Teachers could collect and review the Exit Slip.

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