Even though the potential connection between today’s math classroom and the jobs of the future is frequently cited in speeches, reports, and news headlines, busy middle school students may not be paying attention. Here are online resources that can help you make the connection more relevant, and a lot more engaging, to preteens. In some cases, the connection appears in the words of young people who recognize that math and science were the keys to jobs they love.
BLS Career Information
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has adapted career information from its Occupational Outlook Handbook on a web site just for students in grades 4-8. By clicking on a job characteristic—building and fixing things, managing money, helping people—or a subject area–math, social studies, science—the student is taken to a page with five or six occupations and links to related jobs. On the page titled “If you’re good at math, then look at these possible careers,” the jobs listed are statistician, electrical engineer, surveyor, physicist, cost estimator, and actuary.
Role Model Project for Girls: Professional Women’s Careers
Computer professionals created this web site at which women share descriptions of their work and the paths that led them there. Clicking on a career will take students randomly to a contributor’s brief statement. Not all contributors mention math or science, but many do. A project engineer advises: “Take as much math and science as possible even if you aren’t sure what you want to do after high school. That is the best way to keep all of your options open while you explore various career options.”
The Fun Works…for Careers You Never Knew Existed.
This site funded by the National Science Foundation is designed for students in grades 6-9 and focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. Students can take a quiz on their interests and strengths to help pinpoint career areas. Or they can go directly to math careers, where they’ll find more than 20 occupations. A teacher’s page lists resources for classroom activities.
At this web site designed for young people, engineers offer a menu of career explorations, including contests, games, activities from the PBS shows Cyberchase and Zoom, and biographies of engineers who are just two to five years out of school.
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We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Post updated 4/19/2012.