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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsWe are going to consider making small changes and the questions we can ask along the way to help guide us through an example to get us started. Firstly don’t set yourself up to fail, so select a class that you feel from experience will engage and cope with some changes to your normal lesson structure. The first question is, what will be my starting point and why? I am going to choose Area and Volume in Maths GCSE. The reason I have chosen this is because it naturally lends itself to incorporating some context from the world of work.

Skip to 0 minutes and 34 secondsWith 25-30% of assessment being against Assessment Objective 3 (Solving problems with maths context or other context) I feel that the more exposure to real context will help students in their learning and ultimately assessments. Secondly, what resources will I use? Current textbooks have increased knowledge related problems to work through, reflecting solving problems with a context, and these can often provide a theme to tie learning activities together. Past examination questions I found included, application through calculating the number of tiles required in a house renovation, the amount of paving slabs to create a patio and the volume of paint required to paint a room.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 secondsThe National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics through their Maths in Work resources have a wide range of links to short videos that can be incorporated into lesson plans, for this lesson I will use the Bathroom Reburbishment clip this will stimulate thought on how the content in the specification links to real world and prompts students to consider the link.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 secondsQuestions can be posed to students: Why is it important to be accurate? What percentage should I allow for waste or breakages during cutting? How it may change if the tiles are arranged in different patterns? Students will make the connection with the maths content and the idea of correct ordering of materials needed based on area calculation. This be can linked further to the role of a Quantity Surveyor and I will use a job profile and career pathway. Selected examination questions will complete the connection between learning of the content and its application. Finally, how could I develop this further?

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 secondsAs I look to build in progression I have created opportunities to engage with an employer either by arranging a visit into the classroom, a site visit or an authentic problem set by an employer.

How to start making small changes

Over the next two steps you’re going to adjust a lesson or section of the scheme of work so that it has a career element to the learning.

In the video above, Neil provides an example scenario and suggests how he would make small changes to a lesson to embed career learning.

We will now look at creating a list of career-linked resources for your chosen topic and use this list to tweak one of your existing lessons.

Regardless of whether you are starting with the lesson content or a list of useful resources, it’s likely that you will need to go back and forth between your resource list and your lesson plan to create a lesson you’re happy with. Remember, like any new lesson content, you may wish to adapt your planning once you have tested out your new content. Start small, test out your ideas and then build the successes across your programme of study.

Examples of resources

To get you started, here are a few examples of career linked resources for STEM subjects, with an explanation of where they might fit within a particular topic.

Importantly, we have included a description of the current careers activity for each topic, giving you an example of how to build on existing career learning activity.

Topic Current career learning content Current careers resources used Suggestions for increasing career learning content
Energy None None Career linked to energy sector: Solar farm manager
3D shapes Links to creating 3D models. Maths in computer games. Link to the work of large computer game design companies. Show role profiles of Computer Games Modeller and Computer Games Developer.
Structures None None Introduce the role of civil engineers to improve society
3D printing Show pictures from a local employer that uses 3D printers in a their manufacturing process Pictures from employer using 3D printers and a sample of a 3D printed product Introduce the social rationale for why 3D printing and link to how engineers are using 3D printing to quickly create prototype products. Show this Born to Engineer video of Ben Ryan from Ambionics. Ask students to discuss the skills that Ben Ryan needed to develop to become an engineer and how these skills helped him to create the prototype prosthetic arm for his son.


If you have suggestions for good resources, share these in the comments below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Linking Curriculum Learning to STEM Careers

National STEM Learning Centre