How Does STEM Support Non-STEM Careers?

Format
Let's Talk Science

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students will explore how STEM skills are needed in non-STEM careers.

Summary

  • Students will collaborate with group members to read and analyze various career profiles
  • Students will make inferences about which skills are required for various careers based on their exploration of career profiles 
  • Students will recognize that STEM skills are used in a variety of careers, including ones that are not generally considered STEM-related
Specific Expectations for Ontario

SNC1D, SNC1P, SNC2D, SNC2P:

A1.7 select, organize, and record relevant information on research topics from various sources, including electronic, print, and/or human sources (e.g., Statistics Canada publications, NASA or EnerGuide websites, personal interviews), using recommended formats and an accepted form of academic documentation

A2.1 identify and describe a variety of careers related to the fields of science under study (e.g., astrophysicist, geophysicist, conservation officer, park warden, fire protection engineer, hydrologist, electrician) and the education and training necessary for these careers

Setting the Stage

There are a wide variety of careers that require their employees to use STEM skills frequently. STEM skills are often needed even in careers that are not generally thought of as STEM-related careers. Analysis of different career profiles can provide insight into different careers and the skills required to be successful. Having knowledge about the STEM skills required for specific careers can help students identify the relevance of studying science and mathematics at school and allow them to begin to develop the skills to pursue their chosen career path and interests. 

In this lesson, students will work in groups to explore the profiles of people working in various careers that are not traditionally considered STEM-related. Students will identify the STEM and employability skills needed for these jobs and reflect on how STEM skills are important for a wide variety of careers. 

This is lesson 2 of 4 in a set that can be used sequentially or as standalone lessons. The suggested sequence for completing these lessons is:

  1. Exploring Career Sectors and Skills
  2. How Does STEM Support Non-STEM Careers?
  3. STEM Skills and Self-Exploration
  4. Query a Career Profile

Materials & Preparation

  • Career Profile Exploration Reproducible (1 per student or small group) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
  • Employability Skills List Reproducible (1 per group) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
  • Career Profile Groupings [Google sheet] [PDF] - for teacher reference only

With Internet Access

Without Internet Access

  • Computers or tablets with internet access (1 per group)
  • Career Profile Group Task [Google Slides] [PDF] - provide as e-copy

What To Do

  • Teachers could explain that students will work in groups to explore profiles of people working in jobs that are not generally considered STEM careers. Each group will receive different profiles and investigate which employability and STEM skills are needed in these peoples’ jobs. 
    • Teachers could explain or remind students that employability skills are general skills needed to get and succeed in a variety of jobs. Teachers could introduce students to the Employability Skills List reproducible. 
  • Teachers could break students into small groups and provide each group with a collection of five career profiles from different sectors. These groups of profiles include a variety of sectors and educational pathways. Teachers could reference the Career Profile Groupings spreadsheet for a list of all the profiles provided. Teachers may provide students with these profiles in two different ways depending on whether students have internet access. 
    • With Internet Access: Students could access the Career Profile Group Task for links to their group’s career profiles. 
    • Without Internet Access: Teachers could print out copies of the career profile PDFs. 
    • Teachers who would like to choose their own profiles or substitute some of the provided profiles can find more at the Let’s Talk Science career exploration page

Note: Sectors that are traditionally thought of as having STEM careers were purposely left out so students can recognize the importance of STEM to a variety of careers. This may help students who might not be interested in a “STEM career” to understand the value of STEM skills. This activity could also be adapted to be used with traditional STEM sectors as well.

  • Using the career profiles groupings provided, students could complete the Career Profile Exploration reproducible in small groups. Teachers could tell students that most of the information can be found in the “What I do”, “My Career Path”, “When I was…” sections of each profile. Students may need to infer certain skills from the descriptions provided.
    • Once the students have completed the Career Profile Exploration reproducible, teachers could lead a class discussion. Teachers could focus on how STEM and employability skills are relevant to careers that are not generally considered STEM careers (e.g. Chef, Manager, etc.). Teachers could use the following guiding questions. 
      • What STEM skills did you identify across the various profiles?
        • Sample student answers: data collection, experimentation, data analysis, observation, measurements, building models, hypothesizing, predicting, graphing, calculations, programming/ coding, and safety
        • Were you surprised by some of the STEM skills required for these careers? Which skills surprised you and why?
          • Sample answer prompts: I didn’t think that you would need …in...
          • I wasn’ t aware that ... involved...
          • I didn’t realize that...
    • What conclusions can you make about the relevance of STEM skills to seemingly non-STEM careers?
      • How might studying science help you develop these skills?
        • Sample student answers: learn to collect data, how to conduct experiments, safety, specific skills (circuits), microscopes, and nomenclature 
  • To wrap up, the teacher could connect some of the skills students identified to specific activities or content that they will be covering in their course. 

Details

Assessment

  • Teachers could make anecdotal notes about students’ career interests to help inform lesson planning.
  • Teachers could assess students’ research and inferring skills based on their responses in the Career Profile Exploration reproducible and their work with their groups. 
  • Teachers could assess student understanding based on their participation in class discussions.

Assessment

  • Teachers could make anecdotal notes about students’ career interests to help inform lesson planning.
  • Teachers could assess students’ research and inferring skills based on their responses in the Career Profile Exploration reproducible and their work with their groups. 
  • Teachers could assess student understanding based on their participation in class discussions.

Extensions

Students could supplement the information obtained from the profiles by searching for their profiled careers on this website. 

Teachers could expand on students’ understanding of their own employability skills with this lesson.

Teachers could use this lesson to introduce students to the idea of employability skills and career sectors.

Teachers could help students gain more information about a wide range of STEM careers with this lesson.

Extensions

Students could supplement the information obtained from the profiles by searching for their profiled careers on this website. 

Teachers could expand on students’ understanding of their own employability skills with this lesson.

Teachers could use this lesson to introduce students to the idea of employability skills and career sectors.

Teachers could help students gain more information about a wide range of STEM careers with this lesson.

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