The Career Spinner Activity: Career Crossing in Core Classes

By Carol Johnson

“When will I ever use this?” is a question frequently asked by students. Making a real life connection using careers may help student answer that question within the context of core classes including English, math, science, social studies. If students can connect daily lessons with the world of work, students may see how what they are learning crosses over from classroom curriculum to career. When students see how a musician might use math, a chef uses chemistry and a private pilot uses geography, the curriculum has relevance.


School counselors, career counselors, and classroom educators can incorporate creative career exploration by using career exploration assessments, career guidance lessons and career interest inventories to present the possibilities for students. School newspapers, websites, and newsletters may also wish to feature careers in demand for students to consider. Classroom teachers may want to add an additional section to each unit in the curriculum that includes careers within the content. For example in a geography class, ask students to research a career that would need to know geography such as a GPS programmer, weather forecaster, or a land developer.


The greater variety of careers suggested by the class the more options for career possibilities for the students to explore. Adjusting for age and abilities, this could work for students at elementary, intermediate and middle school levels. Once students have made a list of five to eight careers of interest, they could make a career spinner. Free templates may be found online using a search engine. Students may construct an individual game spinner using a brad and cardboard square similar to the illustration here and then label the colored circle with the careers they have selected.


Career Spinner


Another option for students is to cut a pie wedge picture, use computer clip art, or color a symbol for the occupations. Expanding on the suggested lesson plan, career and school counselors can help educators incorporate the following lessons to build connections with core curriculum. After a teacher finishes a lesson, the students could use their career spinners to spin a career choice. Then the teacher could tie in some questions based on that career. For example, if a classroom teacher finished a lesson on decimal points or fractions, students would be asked to get out their career spinners and spin a career. Then the teacher could ask students to share an example how the career worker might use fractions or decimals on their job spinners. They could even write a math story problem for their classmates to practice. Some additional examples for other core curriculum lessons may include:










When students see the connection with direct application of subject matter and problem solving, students may be more engaged in learning. Undecided students may become more aware of opportunities and others may have more incentive to succeed as classes take on more relevance and meaning. When career and school counselors help educators make the career connection when teaching reading, writing, math, science and global perspectives, students may learn more about the jobs available, the training necessary, and the type of people and skills that are needed to become successfully employed in these careers.



Carol JohnsonCarol Johnson, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor teaching in the School Counseling program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Dr. Johnson is a former teacher and school counselor. Contact Carol at johnsoncaro@uwstout.edu


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