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Career & Technology Integrated Social Studies Unit (Pre-Chapter 1)


















A Cougar
Image courtesy of Bloomington High School North


            Learning is a life-long process.  There are all kinds of things in this world to learn (Durgin, 2003).  But students in adolescent development frequently beg the question “Why do I have to know/learn this?”  Often students do not connect the utility of subject matter knowledge to future successes.  As a result, students need to be provided with the understanding that what they are learning now in school, such as math, science, language, social studies, art, computers, music, and health, is preparing them for their futures as productive members of society with civic responsibility.  Furthermore, knowledge in school subjects enhance students’ capabilities to make well-rounded informed decisions, effectively problem solve, critically think, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information, and use abstract reasoning skills and practical logic.   As such, career development is a life-long process as well.  Students are rapidly developing into functioning members of society, thus, it is important to assist them in recognizing that post-secondary aspirations such as education, career initiatives, workforce, or military opportunities combine elements from a broad base of disciplines.  Although the occupation may emphasize one discipline more than another, an interdisciplinary knowledge base will enable students to optimally function in society.  This is especially true of social studies education as all realms of life are tied together by this domain.

            Career education is an effort to assist individuals in their career development by various methods including “providing occupational information, infusing career-related concepts into the academic curriculum, offering various worksite-based experiences, and offering career planning courses”. (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2002, pg. 8).  Career integration, a component of career education then, is connecting what teachers do in the classroom to careers.  Preparing for a career is a life-long process and is influenced throughout the lifespan, especially in the school setting.  Preparation should allow students to connect classroom learning to a post-secondary goal or direction (CARG Resources, 1994).  In other words, career integration ties reality and relevancy to the subject matter content to encourage students to think about and plan for their future possibilities.  Applied learning can motivate and stimulate students’ interests and exposes students to applicable prospects.  During such a rapid developmental stage, it is important for educators to give support to students in order to for them to gain personal insight as well as develop interests, self-concept, and knowledge about the self, work, and learning.  Given the age of high school students and the contextual changes occurring around them, an integrated approach certainly benefits all. Additionally, connecting careers to current curriculum can enrich instruction and add to current academic achievement standards and to fit within the overall mission of our school.  This unit addresses the needs set out by the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee and the Indiana Academic Standards. (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2002)

Specific Objectives

            Based on the needs established by the NOICC guidelines, the Indiana Career Model, the Indiana Academic Standards for social studies, coupled with theory (namely Super’s Lifespan Life space theory), and based on the resources provided by the internet, the following objectives are in place for this unit:

·        To enrich the social studies curriculum and connect content to real-life relevancy

·        To develop skills necessary for successful teamwork interaction with others

·        To utilize internet resources and develop the skills necessary to successfully explore & utilize the internet

·        To develop an understanding of the relationship between personal qualities and work

·        To develop an understanding of the relationship between learning (social studies) and work

·        To learn how to make informed decisions and set goals based on social studies knowledge

·        To develop an understanding of career options and process of preparation for employment

·        To utilize social studies content knowledge to make well-informed decisions  about the future, and for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world

Proposed Plan/Procedures

            The career integrated Social Studies unit enclosed is designed to be integrated into any Social Studies curriculum and any course as a Pre-Chapter 1 unit.  The unit is intended to enrich Social Studies curriculum, add and reinforce Indiana Academic Standards for Social Studies, assist in career development, and to contribute to the Indiana Career Model in order to prepare students to utilize Social Studies knowledge in the realm of careers and their futures.  The unit (when used in adjunct to efficient lectures) is an introductory unit for Social Studies to establish the importance of acquiring a strong social studies knowledge base.  Each plan emphasizes the power of the internet and a certain branch of social studies and some lesson plans combine attributes from all branches.  Therefore, the lesson plans and activities could also be used independently and integrated into the course content at the teachers’ discretion.  The idea of the unit is not to be conforming, rather to expose students to the importance of social studies knowledge and its applicability to their everyday lives, choices, and future circumstances.  As a result, this unit is for grades 9-12 and is mainly an exploratory self-directed (although guided) career intervention.  The lesson plans and activities, along with resources, are enclosed at the end of this proposal. 

Goals-Expected Outcomes

·        Students will be able to make meaningful connections and relationships between school work (i.e. social studies) and later work

·        Students will gain broad awareness of the meaning of career, how the world of work is organized, and how these concepts are explained by social studies

·        Students will understand the broad uses of social studies knowledge and will use this knowledge to make well informed decisions, maintain awareness, and develop readiness to make future choices.

·        Students will connect current activities to applicable prospects

·        Students will be able to locate, evaluate, and interpret career information based on current interests using the internet

Method of Evaluation

This unit will be evaluated from multiple methods. 

  • Review of students’ completed assignments, work, and participation
  • Rubric for Final Project
  • Student feedback through questionnaire and interviews (about 20 students) at the end of the unit pertaining to program effectiveness and room for improvement

JASON SPEER-The Online Classroom L530