Career Exploration Through Career Centers

Before a big career day with speakers or during college and career week, I really enjoy doing different career centers. It’s low prep, fun, and self-paced. I choose my centers based on program goals, developmental age, and class behavior. I teach for 45 minutes so we average 3-4 stations. Here are some of my favorite career centers to choose from.

1) Read about it

So simple to set up! I put out my favorite career books (my own and/or books from the library) and my “reading buddies.” Students pick a book and they’re off! This center is great for all ages.

Want to gather perception data or looking to extend this center? I use this activity sheet that asks kids to share what they are noticing, wondering, and taking away from what they are reading.

2) Create it

Have playdough or legos? Then you are ready for this center.

Students choose a career card and then use the playdough or legos to create a tool that person might use. Personally, I wince when colors get mixed so I give each student their own color so they can’t mix all my playdough together.

3.) Clip it

For this center, you need clothespins or paper clips. I tape or hot glue the small pictures onto the clothes pins and then mix them up. Students use the career cluster cards to determine which picture belongs to each cluster. When they make a match they clip it on.

You’ll definitely want to pre-teach about career clusters for this activity. I love using resources such as ASVAB and ONet to let students explore. There are also several videos on YouTube that explain the clusters.

Don’t have clothespins or simply time to make this activity? I have a digital drag and drop version for Google Slides TM as well.

4.) Puzzle

I ordered these fun puzzles off Amazon and let students work together to figure them out. It’s so interesting to see kids use teamwork and higher-level thinking when doing the puzzle.

Heads up! I did this with 2nd and 3rd grade and some of my puzzles got ripped. Set high expectations and make sure your students can handle this.

5.) Paper activities

I have a career maze, A-Z career writing activity, and a writing activity sheet for something a little more tangible.

6.) Draw about it

I encourage kids to visualize themselves on their high school graduation day. What will they look like? How will they feel? Then they draw themselves with that feeling on the activity sheet.

7.) Play

This one is a hit because kids get to be kids and play. It’s also so interesting for me to see how they play. I put out a bin with toys (mostly from the Dollar Store and Target), set clear expectations like “people are not for hitting,” and then start the timer.

8. Virtual College Hall of Fame

This is a such a fun digital activity for students. Simply put in a picture of your teachers and link it to a page with their college information and link to a virtual college tour. You can find a lot on YouTube, NearPod, and directly from the college/univeristy website.

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