Career Awareness Activities for Elementary School Students

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Helping students become aware of the career possibilities that await them is a great way to keep them interested in their educations. This lesson focuses on career awareness activities that work well for elementary school students.

Why Career Awareness Activities?

Are you trying to get your students more motivated and excited about their futures? Many elementary school students have little awareness about what careers are out there in the world besides the ones that their parents and other loved ones are engaged in. Yet learning about a variety of career possibilities can open students' eyes to opportunities they never knew existed. While elementary school students are obviously too young to select a career with any certainty, learning about some of the choices available to them and what it takes to achieve them will make them hopeful, enthusiastic and self-directed. The activities in this lesson will help your elementary school students become aware of different careers.

Career Awareness Activities

Notice the People Who Help You

Ask your students to keep a log of all of the adults who help them with different things over the course of the week. For instance, students interact with teachers, lunch helpers, administrators and counselors in school. They might see police officers, firefighters, bankers, and clerks as they do errands with their parents, and they might visit doctors, dentists and therapists. Students should write down all of the different jobs they notice. At the end of the week, the class will write their findings on one large consolidated chart, with notes about what each of these people do.

Research a Career

Drawing inspiration from the long list they have made, but also from any other sources that teach them about careers, ask students to work in small groups with others that hold similar interests. Each group should take charge of researching one career in detail. They can work in the library or online. They should find answers to the following questions:

  • How do people get involved in this career? What educational steps are necessary? Does it require any special classes, field work or internships?
  • What attributes (skills, personality, strengths, etc.) make someone good at this career?
  • What is challenging or difficult about this career?
  • What does someone with this career do daily?

Students should create presentations based on their findings and share these presentations with their classmates.

Community Interviews

A great way to get students to learn more about different careers is to facilitate opportunities for them to interact with different workers in your community. You can do this by bringing students on field trips to different work places, inviting guest speakers into your classroom, or arranging Skype meetings with community members. If your students are going to interview someone about their career, make sure they prepare a list of questions in advance. After the interview, have them write or draw reflections based on what they learned. Also, write thank you notes to the community members you have worked with.

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