Middle School is a time when students are exploring their identities and learning more about themselves as individuals. Studies have shown that when students picture themselves as college bound at a younger age, they are more likely to attend college. This is especially true for students who do not have college-educated role models at home.
But what about the students who will not attend college? A large component of this project is focusing on career exploration and future goals. For example, students can research technical schools, training programs, and licensure requirements for various careers. “The middle grades, broadly defined as fifth through eighth grade, need to be seen as the launching pad for a secondary and post-secondary education system that enables all students to obtain the schooling and/or career training they will need to fully experience the opportunities of 21st century America.”1
By encouraging students to consider their futures while they are in Middle School, we can help students to see the importance of classes that they take in High School. For example, Geometry gains importance as applicable to various careers, from construction to engineering. Students can explore the courses offered in their local schools and how their course selection could impact their acceptance to various post-secondary programs.
Of course, Middle School aged students are not expected to have a career plan in mind. However, they can explore their interests and begin to picture themselves as adults. “Research has identified middle school as a time when students can benefit the most from career exploration, a process of building self-awareness, learning about potential careers, and developing a plan for reaching future goals.”2
This product allows students to explore various careers and colleges in a focused setting. They will present their work via oral presentations to multiple audiences.