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Career ready? Five components, nine guides, endless opportunities

Published November 27, 2019
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Have you watched our recently released video, “The Pitsco Experience”? In this video, we highlight the role the teacher can and does play in a student’s present-day and future success. We feature four students throughout a brief span of a few years in a teacher’s career and then again in a nod to their futures. We see a student experimenting with a Pitsco Eco-Wind Gen and Fable from Shape Robotics achieve early admission to a university of his choice. We watch another student trying out the Straw Rocket Launcher and racing dragsters, both of which fanned her interest in aviation and familiarity with the concepts and capacities she’d need in the field as a commercial pilot. And there is yet another student, working with engineering and mechatronics through building a balsa wood bridge and an Arduino Education kit, who goes on to operate his own construction and engineering company. Finally, we see a student complete a biological-focused Career Expedition and build a TETRIX® PRIME robot. We reconnect with her in the end when she comes back to the classroom, still wearing her medical scrubs, to recognize her teacher’s retirement. This brief cycle in a teacher’s career is meant to reinforce the importance of educators, hands-on education, and the transformation that can happen in a classroom.

So, as you work daily to prepare students for the world they’ll live into – for a world we can’t yet describe – it’d be easy to have mixed emotions. What an opportunity! What an obligation! And what’s the best approach for trying to tackle the task? How can you help students navigate through this or inspire them to be and grow into their best, fulfilled selves?

We’ve got five components we believe are core to career exploration and preparation in the classroom:

  1. Enthusiasm: Be excited and transparent about your desire to help students through this time or help them begin their journey to what they want to be when they grow up by building skills and behaviors that support that goal now. Moods and vibes are contagious. Help them catch the feeling!
  2. Exposure: Provide ample opportunity for students to learn about a wide variety of jobs, professions, and fields. Invite professionals and skilled workers from local industries and businesses to share their work with your class. Host Skype sessions with professionals not present in the area.
  3. Exploration: Extend their awareness to a deeper level. Set up whole, partial-class, or small group tours and job shadows at local businesses if possible. Have them complete quick social media and Internet searches to gain a better understanding of the roles and positions in those fields.
  4. Education: Expand on what they already know. Provide relevant activities and assignments for students to start connecting with different professions in a simulated or small-scale way such as hands-on activities. Create projects through which students research professions and share what they learn in their own words.
  5. Encouragement: Traversing the wide world of work can be overwhelming. Remind students you’re one of their biggest fans and that you’re there to support them, connect them with resources, believe in them, and discuss and answer questions they might have. Hands-on opportunities and projects enable students to build confidence in their knowledge and skills.

Earlier this year, we released nine enhanced teacher guides that correspond with nine of our most popular hands-on, minds-on products. We’ve built in a variety of STEM activities, pretests and posttests, video links, career information, and applications of the 4Cs. You can download any of them for FREE right now. Here’s a snapshot of the careers students could get plugged into with these projects.

  1. Straw Rockets Teacher’s Guide: Students could consider opportunities such as aerospace engineering, assembly technicians, mechanical engineering, avionic, astronauts, physicists, or mathematicians.
  2. Balsa Bridges Teacher’s Guide: Students could consider career opportunities such as civil engineers, civil engineering technicians, dredge operators, cost estimators, mechanical drafters, transportation managers, architects, or engineering managers.
  3. Egg-Drop Vehicles Teacher’s Guide: Students could consider opportunities for careers as commercial and industrial designers, industrial engineers or engineering technicians, mechanical engineers or engineering technicians, or mechanical drafters.
  4. Hot-Air Balloons Teacher’s Guide: Students might pursue aerospace engineering and operations technicians, aviation inspectors, transportation managers, or secondary teachers.
  5. Toothpick Bridges Teacher’s Guide: Students could explore careers as civil engineers, structural iron or steel workers, construction managers or crewmembers, construction or building inspectors, bridge and lock tenders, or rough carpenters.
  6. Water Rockets Teacher’s Guide: Students could consider aerospace engineering and operations technicians, assembly technicians, mechanical engineering technicians, structural metal fabricators and fitters, avionic technicians, astronauts, or mathematicians.
  7. Wind Energy Teacher’s Guide: Activities in this guide could be associated with the larger field of sustainable energy. Students could consider careers as mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, computer programmers, atmospheric scientists, or construction laborers.
  8. Solid-Fuel Rockets Teacher’s Guide: Activities related to solid-fuel rockets are a part of the aerospace field. Students could consider careers as aerospace engineering and operations technicians; aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers; aircraft mechanics and service technicians; machinists; materials engineers; or physicists.
  9. Solar Vehicles Teacher’s Guide: Activities in this guide could be associated with the larger field of solar and alternative or sustainable energy. Students could consider careers such as solar photovoltaic installers, solar energy systems engineers, solar sales, green marketers, power distributors and dispatchers, or electrical engineers.

We also have a robust K-12 coding and robotics continuum that complements and facilitates so many of the foundational skills these kits foster. No matter the path your students explore, your work matters. The impact of an educator is undeniable. The value of hands-on, minds-on learning is proven. Combining all of these pieces is the magic.

“If I could have a STEM lab for every classroom in our school, this probably would be the best school in the United States because I see how our students are engaged in our Pitsco lab.”

– Jeff Torrence, principal, Honeysuckle Middle School, Dothan, Alabama

We enable young learners to develop the mind-set, skill set, and tool set needed for future success.

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