Tag Archives: steam

STEM Lesson Plans for Career Readiness

Current emphasis on STEM education and the preparation of students for the workplace of tomorrow prompted me to research job opportunities recently. I found lists of the best STEM jobs and articles about essential skills we should teach our students. There is a consistent agreement that to promote career readiness, we should focus on:

  • Technology competence in a broad variety of apps
  • Professional skills such as flexibility, time management, and communication
  • Critical and innovative thinking
stem career readiness

TechnoKids technology projects support STEM education

In this post, I’m picking one particular job and exploring how we can engage students with career readiness skills training. If we can spark kids’ interest with a fun activity and then build valuable STEM proficiencies, the knowledge, attitudes, and skills gained will transfer to other areas. Developing an awareness and interest in STEM related careers is the first step to preparing students for the workplace of tomorrow. Trying on one job can encourage young people to reflect on future goals and choices.

Project-Based Learning and STEM Education

career readiness

TechnoTravel is a technology project in which students take on the role of a travel agent. They research a travel destination and then use presentation software to construct an advertisement that promotes a weekend getaway. The project-based activities correspond to STEM education guidelines:

TechnoTravel Builds Workplace Skills

What does a travel agent do?

A travel agent needs to listen to clients to understand their needs and interests. They must research information and prepare a proposal. They must schedule an itinerary, calculate costs to fit a budget, and attend to details. Finally, they need to promote the trip to the customer in an attractive and persuasive presentation. In TechnoTravel, students practice all of these skills as they plan a trip considering a target audience and then prepare a presentation as an advertisement.

Completing this project develops effective work habits such as time management, problem-solving skills, communication, perseverance, and productivity.

A travel agent’s responsibilities are similar to many other careers. The work ethic and skills learned, both professional and technological, can be transferred to other jobs.

TechnoTravel is Interdisciplinary

Integrating technology into other curriculum teaches multiple learning objectives in one activity. The teacher guide for TechnoTravel offers a great variety of suggestions for integrating technology into curriculum. Language Arts, Social Science, Science, History, or Geography learning objectives can be combined in a single project. Here are just a few of the many ideas listed in the guide:

  • Ecotour – Promote environmental stewardship by taking tourists into a natural or wilderness area.
  • Follow the Footsteps – Visit places of historical importance by following the route of a famous explorer.
  • Celebrate Cultural Differences – Feature the festivals, folklore, and cuisine of a unique culture.
  • Transport Back in Time – Travel to an ancient civilization with a time machine and experience the values, beliefs, and daily life of the time period.
  • Explore the Undiscovered – Visit other parts of the solar system or the ocean depths using futuristic technology.
  • Indulge a Hobby – Design a trip that caters to a specific sport, hobby, or interest.

TechnoTravel Develops Technology Skills

Students master a variety of learning objectives in an integrated project: online research, word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet skills, including:

Research Skills – apply search strategies, organize facts in a planner, gather websites with travel advice, pictures, and maps
Word Processing Skills – format text and paragraphs, copy formatting, select paste options
Presentation Skills – customize the slide master, insert and format picture files and objects, organize information in tables, insert links and videos, apply transitions and animation, customize the handout master, configure output options for presentations
Spreadsheet Skills – enter and format data into a workbook, modify columns and rows, apply currency format, calculate data using the Sum feature, apply fills and borderlines

TechnoTravel Engages Students

Learning is enhanced when students are interested and find a project personally meaningful. Planning a weekend getaway is a sure way to spark student interest and make connections using a relevant, real-world activity.

STEM lesson plans

TechnoTravel Builds Creativity

As each student designs a unique travel promotion, they generate original ideas, solutions, and final projects. STEM education stresses the importance of creative thinking in the jobs of the future. We don’t know exactly what the careers will require, but the ability to develop innovative insights and concepts will be essential.

STEM lessons

TechnoTravel Supports Personalized Learning

As students choose the destinations of their travel ads, they design unique promotions. Differentiation is a key part of the project. Students build on their individual strengths, needs, and interests. They gain ownership over their learning as they develop technology and interpersonal skills. TechnoKids step-by-step student workbooks allow for flexible pacing. Performance-based assessment is achieved through testing of the slide master, checklists throughout the project, and an itemized final marking sheet. Teachers play the role of mentor as students take the responsibility for their projects. An inquiry-based, student-centered approach is the foundation of personalized learning.

TechnoTravel Adds the “A” to STEM

steam career readiness

Educators frequently propose adding art and design to STEM education to change it to STEAM. TechnoTravel builds creative arts skills along with technology, curricular, and personal skills. Students are challenged to design a promotional tool enticing clients to take a travel vacation. They discover the value of a unique slide master design, attractive presentation appearance, eye-catching formatting decisions, and an easy to read and balanced layout.

STEM Career Readiness with TechnoTravel Technology Project

Visit TechnoTravel to learn more about this technology project. View a short video of a sample student project, examine the learning objectives, and read teacher reviews of TechnoKids projects. Teach STEM and STEAM career readiness skills in a fun, engaging activity for middle school students.

Prepare Students to Succeed: 6 More Top STEM Jobs

In a previous blog, I wrote about preparing students for the future. I searched online for best STEM jobs: Scientists, Technology experts, Engineers, and Mathematical thinkers. The results were an eye-opener: the complex workplace of the future will require mastery of Information and Computer Technology skills along with professional skills such as time management, communication, and teamwork. Critical thinking skills and a resourceful, adaptable attitude are essential too. It’s a daunting task for teachers!

STEM jobs

TechnoKids projects blend Information and Computer Technology with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Art and design are often included too.

The good news is that an interdisciplinary curriculum can teach crucial technology, interpersonal, and thinking skills. Using TechnoKids project-based activities, students build a foundation in word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, animation, desktop publishing, graphic design, coding, and more! These skills can provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue STEM jobs.

Here are another 6 best STEM jobs. Check out the career descriptions and see how the skills mastered in TechnoKids projects provide a basis for future success.

Computer Support Specialist

What does a computer support specialist do?

  • Ensures that equipment and software are working
  • Provides support and technical assistance to computer users
  • Troubleshoots and solves computer and network problems

A computer support specialist may work in an office, telecommunications companies, financial and insurance industries, or at a help desk.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

TechnoSpecialist

In TechnoSpecialist, students play the role of a computer specialist. They design an information package to inform customers about hardware. A presentation with advanced features explains components in order to help the public make purchasing decisions.

TechnoSpecialist Learning Objectives:
✓ Understand and explain computer components and terminology
✓ Describe and compare devices
✓ Design a presentation with a master slide, table, graphic organizer, video, sound, and images

Sales Engineer

What does a sales engineer do?

  • Collaborates with sales teams to understand customer requirements
  • Plans, recommends, and modifies products to meet customer needs
  • Prepares and delivers reports that explain products to customers and management

A sales engineer works for a manufacturer that designs consumer products such as food, clothing, fashion, or technology devices.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM jobs

In TechnoCandy, students solve the challenge of boosting candy sales. They investigate the problem, conduct a survey, graph results, research packaging, and finally submit a report to recommend a solution.

TechnoCandy Learning Objectives:
✓ Develop critical thinking and inquiry skills
✓ Organize, format, calculate, sort, and chart data
✓ Formulate a plan based on evidence and explain reasoning in a written report

Accountant

What does an accountant do?

  • Organizes, computes, and prepares tax records
  • Examines and assesses financial statements
  • Suggests ways to reduce costs, enhance revenue, and improve profits

An accountant may be self-employed or may work for the bookkeeping department of a company, or for the tax agency of a government.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoBudget, students learn personal finance. They build a budget and justify a spending plan to gain financial literacy and money management skills.

TechnoBudget Learning Objectives:
✓ Problem solve to make financial decisions
✓ Organize, graph, format, calculate, sort, and filter data using formulas
✓ Justify financial choices in a report

Graphic Designer

What does a graphic designer do?

  • Creates innovative images to convey a message using photo editing software
  • Incorporates changes recommended by clients or the art director
  • Self-manages projects, including reviewing designs for errors and meeting deadlines

A graphic designer works freelance or may be employed by a sign company, advertising agency, publisher, or as a college art instructor.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoPhotoshop, students create a digital scrapbook. They capture a series of photographs and then explore artistic techniques using Photoshop to make a collection of whimsical and wacky illustrations.

TechnoPhotoshop Learning Objectives:
✓ Apply the elements of design to edit photographs
✓ Retouch, crop, adjust, warp, recolor, and superimpose images
✓ Combine images to transform them into a unique scene

Database Administrator

What does a database administrator do?

  • Organizes company information such as customer shipping or financial data
  • Plans, sets up, tests, assesses, and updates databases
  • Ensures that software operates efficiently and securely

A database administrator may work in a small business, warehouse, and in healthcare organizations such as medical insurance or in a hospital.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoPlanner, students become event planners. They use a database to organize party planning information in tables, forms, queries, and reports.

TechnoPlanner Learning Objectives:
✓ Construct a database and create data entry forms
✓ Set field properties and establish a relationship between tables
✓ Sort, find, and filter records
✓ Evaluate database design

Statistician

What does a statistician do?

  • Designs surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data
  • Develops mathematical models using technological tools to analyze real-world data
  • Reports conclusions to improve business decisions

A statistician may work in marketing, education institutions, research and development for consumer goods, healthcare, or government.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoQuestionnaire, students explore a key concern. They create a questionnaire and conduct a survey to track popular opinion. They interpret the results, draw conclusions, and share their findings.

TechnoQuestionnaire Learning Objectives:
✓ Investigate a research question, design questions, and identify bias
✓ Display data in charts, tables, and graphs
✓ Present a summary report

Prepare Students Now for the STEM Jobs of the Future

TechnoKids computer projects build skills for career readiness in a fun, engaging way. The projects blend curriculum disciplines to foster a solid foundation in technology as well as professional skills. As a bonus, students develop a resourceful, confident attitude to learning that will ensure their success in acquiring STEM jobs in the workplace of the future.

Top 6 STEM Jobs: Prepare Students to Succeed

Scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematical thinkers will shape the products and services of tomorrow. STEM education places a focus upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Art and design are also considered to be critical elements in preparing young people for the digital age of tomorrow, so often the term STE(a)M is used. The primary goal of blending these disciplines into curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to pursue STEM related careers.

STEM

Art and Design are often included with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Teach STEM Skills for Career Readiness

Equip your students with the skills needed to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow using TechnoKids technology projects. We may not know what the careers will be in the next decade and beyond, but we can provide learning opportunities to make our students “future proof”. There are no specific, ideal skillsets we can teach young people. We can only instill a foundation of skills, knowledge, and attitudes based on today’s technology. We hope to create an adaptable mindset to apply learned knowledge to whatever the future holds. And to engage students to pursue a lifelong interest in becoming tech-savvy, we need to ignite a passion for innovation and learning. Make technology fun and kids’ interest will be sparked.

TechnoKids Projects Prepare Students for STEM Careers

I searched online for current, best STEM related jobs. Although the results will of course change over time, they reveal a need for a diverse set of technology, interpersonal, and higher-level thinking skills. TechnoKids has technology projects that teach foundational skills which are precursors to these careers. TechnoKids projects have students assume real-world career roles to learn basic yet critical STEM competencies. The skills they acquire will equip them to tackle the workplace of tomorrow.

Check out the job descriptions and see how the skills mastered in TechnoKids projects provide a basis for future success.

Financial Analyst

What does a financial analyst do?

  • Helps people make wise investment choices such as projecting college savings, mortgage decisions, or estate planning
  • Uses software to prepare reports, budgets, and forecast models
  • Analyzes, tracks, and reviews financial performance

A financial analyst may work in a bank, insurance company, or in pension and mutual funds.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

In TechnoInvestor, students assume the role of a stock broker. They collaborate to form investment teams. A spreadsheet is used to track a portfolio and then an investor’s report is prepared to summarize results.

TechnoInvestor Learning Objectives:
✓ Apply problem-solving strategies to a real-world situation
✓ Develop financial literacy
✓ Organize, format, calculate, graph, and analyze data

Business Operations Manager

What does a business operations manager do?

  • Coordinates different departments to meet company goals
  • Guides team projects and hires people
  • Makes decisions about clients, products, contracts, budgets, and company policies

A business operations manager may work in an international corporation, a consumer goods manufacturer, a government agency, or social services.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

career readiness

In TechnoRestaurateur, students launch a new restaurant. They conduct a survey to make informed business decisions. Then they design a company logo and write a professional letter to raise investment capital. They design a floor plan. Financial earnings are analyzed and finally a newsletter advertises the success of the budding franchise.

TechnoRestaurateur Learning Objectives:
✓ Problem solve to make logical decisions
✓ Apply critical and creative thinking to develop a plan
✓ Collect, organize, calculate, graph, and analyze data
✓ Write a persuasive letter and newsletter to entice investors

Web Developer

What does a web developer do?

  • Designs and builds a website to suit a client’s needs
  • Writes code using programming languages and integrates graphics, audio, or video
  • Monitors, maintains, and repairs problems

A web developer may be self-employed or work for an ecommerce business, an advertising company, an online publishing firm, or a technical, scientific, or management service.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

teach STEM skills

In TechnoHTML, students become web designers. They use HTML5 and CSS to code a web page.

TechnoHTML Learning Objectives:
✓ Identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a web page
✓ Set attributes, add hyperlinks, insert images, and create lists, background, classes, and tables
✓ Troubleshoot to fix problems

Information Security Analyst

What does an information security analyst do?

  • Monitors and protects an organization’s computer networks and systems
  • Develops security standards and best practices
  • Researches security products and prepares reports

An information security analyst may work for a financial institution, a computer company, a government agency, or in the service industry.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM education

In TechnoInternet, students learn responsible digital citizenship. They develop search strategies, access digital resources, practice Internet safety, and communicate electronically.

TechnoInternet Learning Objectives:
✓ Demonstrate responsible, ethical, and safe behavior
✓ Discover effective search strategies and assess trustworthiness of web-based information
✓ Communicate online using netiquette

Marketing Coordinator

What does a marketing coordinator do?

  • Writes, designs, edits, and prepares creative promotional materials
  • Conducts online marketing initiatives such as ads, email promotions, and marketing campaigns
  • Analyzes campaign insights and reports to management

A marketing coordinator may work in a consumer products company, for an event planner, or for media outlets.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM career education

In TechnoAdvertise, students adopt the role of an advertising agent. They produce a range of professional publications: a flyer, catalog, custom mailer, and newsletter for clients.

TechnoAdvertise Learning Objectives:
✓ Write a resume and cover letter to apply for a marketing position
✓ Format text and graphics, create a table, add headers and footers, and insert a table of contents, index, and cross-reference
✓ Merge data into a personalized form letter

Social Media Strategist

What does a social media strategist do?

  • Creates compelling editorial and promotional content to attract a target audience
  • Communicates and responds to clients using social media best practices
  • Strategizes for optimal viewership and engagement

A social media strategist may work in the news media, online advertising, social media, fashion, technology, or consumer goods.

How does a TechnoKids project prepare students for this career?

STEM skills middle school

In TechnoBlog, students read, write, and comment on blog posts to express their expertise and opinions as responsible digital citizens.

TechnoBlog Learning Objectives:
✓ Identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a blog
✓ Plan and organize writing ideas to express an insight, advice, and opinion post
✓ Format and revise posts to optimize content and layout of title, sections, tags, and images
✓ Exchange ideas using commenting etiquette

Prepare Students for STEM Jobs

STEM education and career readiness are a key focus of our goals as teachers. TechnoKids projects are an ideal way to build the job skills that students will need to succeed. In my search for best STEM careers, I found so many fascinating ones that I’ll describe more in an upcoming blog.

Engineering Activities STEM for Elementary Students

To be competitive in today’s global economy, students will benefit from an understanding of engineering. It will help them identify possible career pathways. In addition, engineering activities develop problem solving skills, teach essential science and math concepts, and promote collaboration. TechnoKids technology projects can help elementary and middle school teachers integrate engineering into curriculum.

What is an Engineer?

An engineer develops technological solutions by applying their expertise in science and math. During the design process they define a problem, conduct research, analyze information, and develop a solution. An engineer must test ideas and consider various choices to select the solution that will have the most successful results. The field of engineering is very broad. There are four main branches of engineers: civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical. Each branch has multiple types of engineers that have a wide range of job duties. Most people specialize in a particular field or area of expertise. To learn more about the engineer profession visit Engineers Canada or read the Engineering Wikipedia article.

Many, many years ago the word engineer was used to describe a person who made siege weapons. They were makers of military engines. Today, the term can be used to include a variety of professions. An engineer can be a software engineer that develops computer programs, computer engineer that controls computing devices, environmental engineer that monitors nature, architectural engineer that designs buildings, aeronautical engineers that builds spacecraft, or a biomedical engineer that creates prosthetic limbs. This list is just a few of the exciting career opportunities related to engineering. There are so many more!

TechnoKids Projects and Engineering

TechnoKids projects can be used to teach elementary and middle school students about engineering. The instructional materials are project-based. The engineering activities can be used to develop a foundation for future learning in high school or college.

STEM and TechnoKids projects

STEM and TechnoKids projects

Electrical Engineer

An electrical engineer studies or creates devices or systems that use electricity. This role often includes other branches of engineering. An electrical engineer might write software programs, maintain computer hardware, design telecommunication systems, or design electric devices such as motors or circuits. TechnoKids has projects that apply electrical engineering tasks. For example, in TechnoHTML students become software engineers by writing code to build a web page, and in TechnoSpecialist students become computer engineers by learning about the function of hardware components. These are meaningful engineering activities that students enjoy.

Civil Engineer

A civil engineer designs, constructs, and maintains the physical and natural environment. This job is diverse, extending from infrastructure projects such as roadways to construction projects such as dams. A civil engineer might develop structures such as bridges, build transportation systems such as railways, or conduct environmental assessments such as monitoring air pollution. That is a lot of different types of jobs!

TechnoKids has projects that introduce civil engineering concepts that are suitable for elementary and middle school students. For example, in TechnoRestaurateur students draft a floor plan for a restaurant. This problem solving activity requires students to consider people’s needs to develop a viable layout. The combination of creative and critical thinking required to complete the task is a precursor to applying engineering fundamentals in fields such as architectural engineering. Another TechnoKids project that applies engineering principles is TechnoQuestionnaire. In this project, students design a questionnaire to research an issue, analyze the findings, and propose action based on the results. The design process and reasoning required to complete the activities are similar to the methods used by engineers when researching a problem.

Mechanical Engineer

A mechanical engineer designs and operates machines and mechanical systems. This job includes a wide range of professions. They may manufacture items; design vehicles such as boats, cars, or spacecraft; construct power plants using a range of energy sources (coal, geothermal, tidal, wind, solar); or monitor the efficiency of building systems such as heating or air conditioning. This year, TechnoKids will be creating a project that uses 3D modelling that will target this area of study – it is going to be so fun!

Chemical Engineer

A chemical engineer mixes natural and man-made materials using chemical processes to produce various substances. This area of engineering is vast. For example, it includes refining petroleum, creating paper products, and manipulation of genes. Although a fascinating career path, TechnoKids does not have a project that targets this area specifically. Instead, there are several TechnoKids projects that could be integrated into a unit of study related to chemical engineering. For example, TechnoDebate could be used to explore the ethical issues related to engineering practices, TechnoPresenter could be used to explain an engineering process, or TechnoResearch could be used summarize an engineering topic.

Don’t Hesitate – Integrate Engineering Activities into Curriculum

Engineering activities can be suitable for elementary and middle school students. Instruction does not need to wait until high school or college. Instead, young children can learn about engineering and how it applies to real life to create a foundation for future learning.