Six Resources for Teaching About Careers in Science

What better time to discuss careers and goal setting with your students than on the cusp of a new year? In December, PBS LearningMedia featured a collection of resources focused on STEM careers that was both motivating and insightful.

Designing a Rollercoaster Video (:53): Grades 5-12
Meet mechanical engineer and roller coaster designer Chris Gray, in this video adapted from DESIGN SQUAD. Mechanical engineers use their knowledge of science to design and build all kinds of machines, including roller coasters. Chris explains how gravity and the changes in energy-between its potential and kinetic forms-create the excitement of a roller coaster ride.

I Want to Be a Scientist! Multiple Videos: Pre-K- 1
This is part of a group of videos that allow students to learn about the many different career possibilities as a scientist including: a marine biologist, robotics engineer, and an astronaut who does engineering in space.

Geneticist Pardis Sabeti Video (5:04): Grades 6-12
This video can provide  proof that it is possible to be a rockstar and a scientist. Use this video that profiles geneticist Pardis Sabeti to enrich lessons on genetics or spark conversation about careers in science.


Scientist Profile: Robotic Life Scientist Video (2:39): Grades 4-6
This video clip shows students the fun of science. As a kid, this groundbreaking robot designer was inspired by the movie Star Wars. The first sociable robot she built at MIT, where she's now a professor, was called Kismet. While Cynthia's work is with robots, her goals are much larger; "Technology is something you create to improve the human condition, to contribute to a better quality of life for everyone." (Spanish version also available)

Scientist Profile: Game Designer Video (2:53): Grades 4-6
For students who love video games and sports this video shows how computer science, design, and math influence work as a video game designer. Xbox game designer David Ortiz wanted to be a professional football player or a doctor when he was a boy. Once he got to college, he became interested in computer science and design. Now he takes a sports idea like football and makes it into a hot new video game. David works with coaches and players in the NFL to turn game day plays into life-like computer animation.

Luis von Ahn: Computer Scientist Video (5:09): Grades 6-12
In this video segment adapted from NOVA scienceNOW, meet Luis von Ahn, a computer scientist and a professor at Carnegie Mellon who is already at the top of his field at age thirty. Learn about one of his most successful ideas—CAPTCHA—a test that humans can pass but computers cannot, which has been used to improve the security of Internet sites. Explore how he comes up with his innovative ideas, and how CAPTCHAs have been reinvented to help digitize old books.