STEM Skills and Self-Exploration

Format
Let's Talk Science

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students learn how the STEM skills that they develop in class apply to future career options. 

Summary

  • Students will learn how they can develop both STEM and generally employability skills in science class 
  • Students will identify specific skills required for various careers of interest 
  • Students will reflect on their own skills and career goals and make a plan for how these goals can be achieved
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 

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

Students may wonder “I’m not planning to pursue a science career, why do I have to take science?” A common misconception is that science is a stand-alone subject and the skills learned through science education are only applicable to “science careers”. In today’s diverse workforce, there are a variety of careers/sectors that require the application of many STEM skills. Topics and skills learned in science help develop transferable/employability skills across a wide range of disciplines. Having knowledge about the STEM skills required for specific careers can help students realize the relevance of studying science and mathematics and allow them to begin to develop the skills to pursue their chosen career path and interests. The goal is for students to be equipped with a greater knowledge of themselves and their opportunities and to develop a growing understanding of how they can successfully shape their future.

In this lesson, students brainstorm how science class can help them develop STEM and general employability skills. Then, students reflect on their own career goals and identify skills that they want to develop. Finally, students make a plan for how they will develop these skills and work towards their career goals. 

This is lesson 3 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

  • Computers or tablets with internet access (1 per student)
  • Write-Around Discussion Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
  • My Individual Pathway Plan Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
    • For York Region District School Board students only: My Individual Pathway Plan Reproducible (YRDSB) (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy
  • STEM Skills and Self Exploration Exit Ticket Reproducible (1 per student) [Google doc] [PDF] - provide as a paper or e-copy

What To To

Note: If using this as a standalone lesson, it is recommended that teachers refer to the Employability Skills List reproducible and facilitate a group discussion about the key skills required for career success. Sample answers may include the following 

  • “Conducting lab experiments with a group helps me develop leadership, communication, teamwork and collaboration skills.” 
  • “Designing an experiment develops inquiry, decision making, and communication skills.”
  • “Troubleshooting electrical circuits allow me to develop problem solving skills.”

Part 1: Brainstorming STEM Skills & Curriculum Connections

  • Teachers could help students brainstorm connections between STEM skills and the science curriculum in small or large groups with informal discussion, polling, and/or notes on a whiteboard.
  • Teachers could start the lesson by having students brainstorm the STEM and employability skills that they learn in science class. Teachers could use the following sequence of guiding questions during a whole group discussion. Teachers could create a T-chart to record students’ ideas about what skills they learn in science class, listing employability skills in one column and STEM skills in the other. 
    • What do we learn and do in science class?
    • Sample student answers: using lab equipment, data collection, experimentation, data analysis, observation, measurements, building models, hypothesizing, predicting, graphing, calculations, programming/ coding, safety
      • How might some of these skills contribute to career success?
      • What STEM specific skills do we learn in science class that might be useful in a career?
      • What general employability skills do we learn in science class? 
  • Teachers could use the Write-Around-Discussion learning strategy to provide students with an opportunity to consolidate their thinking. Students could be arranged into small groups and use the prompt “How does what I learn in science class help me in my future career plans?”
    • Each student responds to the prompt on the Write-Around Discussion reproducible. Then, each student gives their work to another student in their group. Each student reads what the previous student wrote and adds their own content. This process is repeated until every student has contributed to each discussion.
    • Each group could choose one completed Write-Around-Discussion to share with the class. Teachers could lead a class discussion to complete the debrief of this topic.

Part 2 - Self Exploration and Individual Pathway Plan

Note: This section is based on the format and requirements outlined in the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Creating Pathways to Success and references resources from the York Regional School District. In Grades 7 and 8, the Individual Pathway Plan (IPP) process emphasizes planning for the transition from elementary to secondary school. In Grades 9 to 12, the focus is on planning for the student’s initial postsecondary destination (Creating Pathways to Success, 2013). Though this lesson follows the Individual Pathway Plan format, it can be used by students across Canada. 

  • This activity follows the Individual Pathway Plan four-step inquiry process (Who Am I? What are my opportunities? Who do I want to become? What are my plans for achieving my goals?) with a focus on making connections to science and STEM/employability skills. Teachers could provide each student with the My Individual Pathway Plan reproducible. 
Individual pathway plan
Individual Pathway Plan (Let’s Talk Science using an image by zmicierkavabata via iStockphoto).
  • Students could work independently to complete the activities in the My Individual Pathway Plan reproducible. Teachers could support students as they reflect and set goals. 
    • Step 4 of the reproducible asks students to think about science courses that could help them achieve their goals. Teachers could provide students with resources around course requirements and options to help them plan. 
  • Teachers could have students revisit their My Individual Pathway Plan reproducible at various checkpoints in the course (e.g. after each unit and at the end of the course). Students could update their goals and plans at these checkpoints.
  • Teachers could conclude these activities by providing students with the STEM Skills and Self Exploration Exit Ticket reproducible to help consolidate their thinking. 

Details

Assessment

  • Teachers could make observations about student brainstorming and inference skills as they discuss STEM skills and employability skills. 
  • Teachers could collect and review the completed Write-Around Discussion reproducibles and provide feedback.
  • Teachers could provide ongoing support and feedback as students complete their My Individual Pathway Plan reproducibles. Teachers could assess students’ responses to this activity. 
  • Teachers could schedule student-teacher conferences to allow students the opportunity to further discuss their goals and ask questions. 
  • Teachers could assess student learning in this activity through their responses to the STEM Skills and Self Exploration Exit Ticket.

Assessment

  • Teachers could make observations about student brainstorming and inference skills as they discuss STEM skills and employability skills. 
  • Teachers could collect and review the completed Write-Around Discussion reproducibles and provide feedback.
  • Teachers could provide ongoing support and feedback as students complete their My Individual Pathway Plan reproducibles. Teachers could assess students’ responses to this activity. 
  • Teachers could schedule student-teacher conferences to allow students the opportunity to further discuss their goals and ask questions. 
  • Teachers could assess student learning in this activity through their responses to the STEM Skills and Self Exploration Exit Ticket.

Extensions

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 understand the importance of STEM skills for non-STEM careers with this lesson. 

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

Extensions

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 understand the importance of STEM skills for non-STEM careers with this lesson. 

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

Downloads

  • Write-Around Discussion [Google doc] [PDF]
  • My Individual Pathway Plan Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]
  • My Individual Pathway Plan Reproducible [Google doc] [PDFFor York Region District School Board students only
  • STEM Skills and Self Exploration Exit Ticket Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]

Downloads

  • Write-Around Discussion [Google doc] [PDF]
  • My Individual Pathway Plan Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]
  • My Individual Pathway Plan Reproducible [Google doc] [PDFFor York Region District School Board students only
  • STEM Skills and Self Exploration Exit Ticket Reproducible [Google doc] [PDF]