Career Thread Introduction

Teachers: We hope you have enjoyed teaching with our modules. We've begun to develop a parallel curriculum to introduce students using our science modules to real people in careers that correspond to the tasks in the lessons. Research shows that career education embedded into science content curriculum is more effective than career education presented apart or unconnected from content.

We've made a number of short videos of science at work: both science practitioners (not just “scientists”) and science at work in the community. We've tried to present interesting people; many of them arrived at their present work in ways you might not have predicted. We've also tried to emphasize the role of “systems thinking” in their work. Systems thinking, of course, is implied in our name  “Institute for Systems Biology”: we're interested in the kind of progress that can be made when a holistic approach to analysis focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems. The systems thinking approach contrasts with traditional analysis, which studies systems by breaking them down into their separate elements.


Of course, these short movies can be used simply as stand-alone enrichment opportunities, and we've supplied a set of stand-alone questions for students. We expect to make more of these kinds of movies, and certainly would appreciate your suggestions. We hope that you will also consider inviting a guest speaker whose work bears on the OBOS content.


But we encourage you to integrate the movies, as we've suggested, within your work on the content lessons in this module. You can find a description on how to use the movies here. The most fundamental integration would offer students the opportunity to repeatedly consider and discuss questions like:


Who is interested in this problem?

What kinds of jobs and careers are involved with this problem?

What education and work experiences are involved with this problem?

Do I have skills and interests that could be involved with this problem?

What am I interested in? How could I pursue that interest? 

How can I make myself ready for a job that might not even exist right now?


We've created a more structured approach as well. Structured instructions for teaching the videos can be viewed in the career tab of each OBOS lesson in an overview here. The major part of the work you'll ask to students to do in this will consist of interviewing. They'll interview each other, serving as both interviewer and interviewee, conduct self-assessments, use our short videos, and prepare, record, and present their own interviews. Hopefully, they'll have an opportunity to hear from a guest speaker, and/or conduct interviews with adult professionals they have access to.


One of the goals here is to help students to better understand themselves, make future educational plans, and verbally present themselves and their ideas. Another is to build deeper engagement with the content presented in OBOS.

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