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Career learning in practice: small changes

In this video we show how small changes have been made to three lessons in science, maths and design and technology; each include careers learning
EMMA: At the start of last lesson I gave you all a Post-it note. And I asked you on that Post-it note, what you might want to do when you grow up. We just finished sequences. And we’re going to try and link the sequences to an aspect of the real world. And careers that you could possibly go into. Now when the board comes on, I put a lot of those careers into a Wordle. Give it a second. It will come on in a second.
And a lot of you came up with a job that has an aspect of designing in it. Not everybody. But a lot of you had an aspect of design in that job. Which links really, really well into our sequences. Some of you said architecture– and architecture– became an architect. A lot of you said engineering, which in some ways can involve a lot of design. We had graphic designers We had teachers and plumbers and things like that in there as well. But we’re going to have a look at using our sequences for design. Where might we be able to see maths in design?
What I want you to do is, with the person next to you, think about all the different design jobs that there are out there. Or jobs that involve creating things. And I want you to think about how maths might be involved. So I’m going to give you 30 seconds with your partner. Off you go. [STUDENT VOICES]
EMMA: So you’re going to need to find out what? So any contributions. Just pop your hand up, if you’ve got any ideas where we might think about using maths in designing things. Go on, Amber.
STUDENT: Designing a building. You need to know the scale.
EMMA: OK. You need to know the scale. Why might you need to know the scale?
STUDENT: So you can draw it out to where everything is on the scale of everything
EMMA: OK. We’ve got a building on a small A4 piece of paper. We’re going to have to upscale that building, aren’t we, into real life. Well done. Go on Brendan.
STUDENT: Coordination because you might have certain area to do it in. And you need to know how much room and where you’re going to put stuff.
EMMA: Yes, you’ve got to think you have to put enough things together. So– so far–
ANDREW: Although it doesn’t look like it, that’s a lever. And it’s a lever that’s got a 90 degree angle in it. So it’s like a bell-shaped crank lever. And if you put something in there, and then pull on the lever. You can hold it. And you can hold it with a lot more force than you could with your fingers. In engineering terms, when do you think we might want to use that?
STUDENT: When you cut into a thing.
ANDREW: Excellent. Well done. Any other time?
Right, I actually designed that to hold something while you drill it. And this is the scenario. Go back to your cutting thing. Yes?
ANDREW: So you got that. Put it in there. Hold it. Cut. Take it out again. Goes to wherever it needs to go. That taking it out of there is like seconds. If you want to use one of the other clamps, you’d have to tighten it up. You’d have to loosen it. And that’s probably increased the amount of time to do it by a minute. Now if you’re a company making these things, you might have 15,000 to make. That’s 15,000 minutes. Anybody want to work out what that is in hours?
STUDENT: A lot of time.
ANDREW: A lot of time. Excellent. And in industry, time is money. So if you can save maybe a day, just by coming up with that device, you save your company a lot of money. And that’s the type of problem that an engineer could be faced with. And the solution that they produce to basically make that company work better. Now I would say that if you’re going down the design technology route, this thing is a product that you look to make profit from by selling it. Whereas if you’re going down the engineering route, that’s probably going to go back into your company. And appear on a machine, at some point, where people can use it. So that’s what we’re aiming for.
SUE: So today you are forensic scientists. You are in a crime scene. All the chemicals that you have on your desk are from the crime scene. So evidence. There was a footprint found at the crime scene. On this footprint is some white powder. You need to discover what that white powder is by using those tests that we did in the last couple of lessons. You need to record all your results on the table you have been given. Then tell me what the compound is, and why, and who is your suspect. [STUDENT VOICES] Lilac. So lilac means it is–
STUDENT: Potassium.
SUE: Fantastic! So write our observation down.
Has it fizzed?
SUE: So it doesn’t fizz, which means it is not a–
STUDENT: Carbonate.
SUE: Fantastic. So that means it is–
STUDENT: A Sulfate.
SUE: A Sulfate. What type of Sulfate?
STUDENT: Potassium Sulfate.
SUE: Fantastic. So today’s lesson is a required practical. So it’s a lesson that we have to do. It’s a practical set by the government. That they need the pupils that are doing GCSE Chemistry to do to gain skills. Identifying compounds. Using Bunsen burners. Measuring out equipment. And being able to do more than one practical at the same time. And I think especially with CSI and forensics, like most people, I want to be a forensic scientist. Sometimes they don’t even know what that is. So I think it’s just giving them a bit of a taste of different careers.
And I think a lot of people when they think about science– think if I ever do science– I’m going to be a doctor. Or a vet. Or something like that. Those traditional routes. And it’s letting them know that there are lots of different careers in science. And they don’t have to just think, I’m going to be a doctor. So I need do GCSE science. I don’t want to be a doctor. So I’m not going to do a triple. I think it’s letting them know that there are so many options in science. And they open so many doors.
In the video above we have three examples of how curriculum-linked career learning has been embedded as part of a lesson plan.
  • 0m07s – Maths
  • 2m32s – Design and technology
  • 4m32s – Science
In science, Sue uses a crime scene investigation (CSI) context for a required practical. In maths, Emma draws upon her students’ careers ideas for a class starter activity where students discuss maths in design. The rest of the lesson uses mathematical sequences as the foundation for designing graphical patterns. Finally, Andrew connects how installing a clamp to make a manufacturing process efficient would involve both design and engineering roles.
As you watch the examples above, think about the small changes made and how what the students are doing as part of classroom learning are linking to careers. Here’s a reminder of the small changes we’ve introduced so far:
  1. Using examples of people, jobs and industries
  2. Making explicit links to the skills being used
  3. Contextualising curriculum learning


Choose one of the examples in the video above.
What approaches did the teacher use to include careers into their teaching? How might these approaches work within your teaching?
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