Lesson Plan

What Will I Be When I Grow Up?

#STEMChallenge Meet Career Readiness Standards by Exploring STEM careers
Donna M.
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Science, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...

  • explain what STEM means
  • describe many different STEM careers
  • research and present information about STEM careers
  • work toward meeting many of the ELA Common Core Standards
English Language Arts
Grades 6 - 9
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Show a video highlighting a STEM career from PBS Learning Media. PBS offers several career sites which contain videos:

Have students look for information such as:

  • What is the name of the person's career? 
  • What field of science/engineering does it relate to?
  • What does the person do in his/her daily job?
  • What other interesting information did you learn?

This app flow uses a unit on STEM careers to illustrate how Countdown for Teachers can be used to create curriculum maps incorporating the Common Core  and Workplace Readiness Standards. While there are not specific NGSS standards, careers are embedded in the Science and Engineering Practices that are related to the the standards.

2 Direct Instruction

Why STEM careers?

Present the information below to students:

  • STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
  • From 2000 to 2010 STEM jobs grew 3 times as fast as non-STEM jobs
  • STEM and Healthcare are the fastest growing careers in the United States
  • Computer and Math occupations make up close to half of the STEM jobs
  • Engineering 32 percent
  • Life Science 13 percent
  • STEM management 9 percent 

Occupations with the highest projected growth through 2020:  (according to Kelly Services)

  • Biomedical Engineer (62 percent growth)
  • Medical Scientist, except Epidemiologist (36 percent)
  • Software Developer, Systems (32 percent)
  • Biochemist and Biophysicist (31 percent)
  • Database Administrator (31 percent)
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator (28 percent)
  • Software Developer, Applications (28 percent)
  •  Actuary (27 percent)

After presenting the information about STEM career outlook and discussing it, students Think-Pair-Share the  information presented in the video and the information they gathered in groups of four. Review class rules for discussion and encourage students to ask and record questions related to the video for further study.  Questions may include education needed for specific careers? salary ranges? related careers? career outlook? 

Student performance in this activity can be mapped in Countdown for Teachers.

3 Guided Practice

Once students have recorded additional questions, they should each choose one or two to questions research and share what they find with their group. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is one source students may wish to start with. 

Student performance in this activity can be mapped in Countdown for Teachers.


4 Independent Practice

Using one or more of the websites listed, students explore another career, independently, following the same procedure:

  • Watch a video
  • Highlight main ideas
  • Ask additional questions
  • Research the questions
  • Prepare a presentation to be shared with the class

​Remind students of all of the career resources that the PBS website offers:

Student performance in this activity can be mapped in Countdown for Teachers.

5 Wrap-up

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Students present their projects to the class using Google Slides or some other presentation tool. Ideally, students within a class will choose different careers to research. ​This is a project that can be done multiple times throughout the school year, e.g. each quarter, at the beginning of a new unit. Presentations can be spread out so presentations are spread out over multiple weeks.

Each time students research a career and present it to the class, student performance in this activity can be mapped in Countdown for Teachers.