Responding to Life’s Curveballs

Format
Let's Talk Science

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students will explore what it means to be adaptable and flexible, and learn how to solve problems in a proactive way with respect to career planning.

Summary

  • Students will be introduced to how adaptability, flexibility and problem solving skills are important in career planning.
  • Students will learn about different types of curveballs, and ways to positively respond to them.

Setting the Stage

Life doesn’t always follow the plans that a person has in mind for how they are going to reach their career goals. Put simply, life can get in the way. When life throws a person a curveball, that person makes a choice in how they are going to respond to it. Students will use Let’s Talk Science Career Profiles to identify the positive responses individuals made to their own curveballs. Through this exercise, students will develop an understanding of what it means to be adaptable and flexible, and how to solve problems in a proactive way. Not only are these skills valuable for students to have to reach their career goals, but they are also skills that many employers look for.

Materials & Preparation

  • Computer with internet access and a projector to display Let’s Talk Science Career Profiles for students.
  • Download the Jigsaw Career Profiles Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF] for offline activity (print 4-5 single-sided copies of entire document depending on class size; i.e. 4 copies x 7 profiles per copy = 28 profile pages) Alternatively, these profiles can be accessed online as indicated below.
  • Download the Curveballs Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF] (print 3 copies depending on class size; i.e. 3 copies x 10 curveballs per copy = 30 curveballs). Teachers will also need to cut out each individual square to create 30 separate curveball cards.
  • Download the Curveball Response Plan Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF] (print 1 per student). If you have EAL students, download Curveball Response Plan EAL Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF] (print 1 per EAL student).
  • If EAL students are in the class, teachers could download the EAL Tips for Responding to Curveballs document [Google doc] [PDF]

What To Do

Part 1: Introducing Curveballs

  • Teachers could begin this lesson by sharing a personal story from when they were “thrown a curveball” in their own lives. If teachers do not have a personal story to share, they could either ask for permission to share a story about someone they know, or move onto the next part of the lesson.
  • Teachers should explain to students how unexpected events are part of life. Although these curveballs are rarely planned for, if a person develops skills to be adaptable and flexible, the potential negative impact of life’s curveballs can be minimized or even become positive.
  • Teachers could use two or more of the following profiles to demonstrate how real people have dealt with certain curveballs and how these individuals went to Plan B, when their Plan A didn’t go as planned.
  • Teachers could go to the following links, one at a time and project each profile:
  • Teachers could ask students to try to silently identify the curveball in each profile as the teacher reads out the Career path portion of each profile. After each profile has been read through, teachers could ask students to each share with the person beside them what they think the curveball was. Teachers could then ask students to share with the whole class what they believe the curveball was.
  • If teachers would like to have a more in-depth discussion, they could organize students into pairs or quads and ask them to focus on the following questions:
    • Have you ever experienced a curveball like the one in the profile?
    • How did the person respond to the curveball?
    • Would you have responded to the curveball in the same way?
    • What are other ways to respond to this curveball?
  • After the discussion, teachers could organize students into groups of 4 and have each group sit around a table together. Students should make sure that they have something to write with.

Part 2: Jigsaw Careers

  • Teachers could introduce the jigsaw activity by telling students that they will each receive a profile about a person’s job, career path and motivations. Teachers should explain to students that they will read through the profile they are given. 
  • After students read through the profile, they could pick up a curveball card from the middle of their table. Teachers could explain that once students pick up their curveball card, that they will need to create a specific plan for how the person in their profile could positively respond to the curveball they were given. This plan could be recorded in the Curveball Response Plan Reproducible.
  • Teachers could now hand out one profile per student from the Jigsaw Career Profiles Reproducible, ensuring that each student in a group receives a different profile. (Alternatively, teachers could direct students to their assigned profile online). Teachers could also hand out one Curveball Response Plan Reproducible per student. Finally, teachers could place four different curveball cards from the Curveballs Reproducible in the middle of each table.
  • Teachers could circulate while students are reading through their profiles and completing their Curveball Response Plans.
  • When students complete this activity, teachers could ask students to each share a summary of the profile they read, the curveball they had, and their response plan with the members of their group. As students are sharing with one another, teachers could sit down at each group to hear and participate in their discussions.
  • The following prompts could be used to help lead students’ discussions:
    • Do you agree or disagree with the response plan created? Why?
    • How would you have responded to the curveball?
    • What needs to be considered when responding to the curveball being discussed?
    • Is there an alternative way to respond to the curveball?
    • What knowledge do you need in order to better respond to the curveball?
  • When the table discussions are completed, teachers could then direct students to complete the “Takeaways” section of the Curveball Response Plan. Teachers could ask students to hand in their Curveball Response Plans when they are done.
  • This lesson can be used in conjunction with the Plan B Lesson from Let’s Talk Science.

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the work and contributions of Nadia Hagman from Pembina Trails School Division in the development of this lesson.

Details

Assessment

  • Teachers could collect the Curveball Response Plans to assess areas that need to be taught further.
  • Teachers could address questions that students recorded in their Curveball Response Plans in a follow-up lesson.

Assessment

  • Teachers could collect the Curveball Response Plans to assess areas that need to be taught further.
  • Teachers could address questions that students recorded in their Curveball Response Plans in a follow-up lesson.

Downloads

Jigsaw Career Profiles Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

Curveballs Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

Curveball Response Plan Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

Curveball Response Plan EAL Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

EAL Tips for Responding to Curveballs Lesson [Google doc] [PDF]

Downloads

Jigsaw Career Profiles Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

Curveballs Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

Curveball Response Plan Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

Curveball Response Plan EAL Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

EAL Tips for Responding to Curveballs Lesson [Google doc] [PDF]