STEM 5.2 Super Strategies

Topic Progress:

The goal of this module is to increase your awareness of opportunities and pathways to STEM careers, and to prepare you to engage every student in STEM career exploration using positive and appealing language.  Share what you have learned about STEM careers with your students.

Here are strategies to help you do so:

  • Students need STEM role models who “look like them” and to whom they can identify. Invite speakers from industry to present and/or communicate with your class.
  • Identify coaches from industry to help with team projects or competitions.
  • Have students write a biography of a scientist, technologist, or engineer of their own gender and/or race.
  • STEM skills and career exploration are important. Work-based learning (WBL) strategies provide awareness, exploration opportunities, and career planning activities to help students reach competencies such as positive work attitudes and employability skills. Learn about WBL and help coordinate these experiences for your students.
  • Conduct the “Name 1 Thing” activity with your students to increase student awareness of how our world is engineered. Go to for a lesson plan.
  • Do a cooperative learning activity (such as the jigsaw method*) with the 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering, and initiate a class discussion on how important STEM is for our world.
  • Guide students through an exploration of the various pathways and opportunities in STEM using the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. Go to for worksheets.
  • Actively encourage students to build STEM skills and knowledge so that they can be best prepared for the 21st century workforce.
  • Specifically encourage women and minority students to imagine themselves in a STEM career.
  • Guide students through a STEM Scavenger Hunt using the key messaging points, using Go to for worksheets.
  • Guide students through an activity that explores how STEM careers are essential to our health, happiness, and safety. Go to for worksheets.
  • Encourage students to regularly identify how STEM has made a world of difference and how it has shaped our future. Connect this awareness to STEM careers.
  • Guide students through an activity that aligns work values to STEM careers. Go to for a worksheet.
  • Practice recognizing student work values in their conversations with you, or among their peers. Acknowledge the work values and specifically relate them to STEM careers.
  • Host a class discussion on why people choose careers, and guide the conversation towards increasing student awareness of opportunities in STEM.

*The Jigsaw method is a cooperative learning technique in which students work in small groups. This technique can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of goals, but it is primarily used for the acquisition and presentation of new material, review, or informed debate. In this method, each group member is assigned to become an “expert” on some aspect of a unit of study. After reading about their area of expertise, the experts from different groups meet to discuss their topic, and then return to their groups and take turns teaching their topics to their groupmates.