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  4. ASPIRES Case Study 11: STEM Curriculum and Careers (Year 8)

ASPIRES Case Study 11: STEM Curriculum and Careers (Year 8)


STEM Careers Awareness through the Curriculum in Year 8

School: Mulberry School for Girls, Tower Hamlets (Inner city community comprehensive, with a high proportion of Bangladeshi students, high aspiration for further study in science and GCSE results well above the national average. 

Teachers: Deborah Colvin (, Ruhul Hassan (, Lisa Kerr 

OverviewThree lessons, one each in science, maths and technology, with a careers focus that emerged from existing schemes of learning. 

Type of lesson: Science, Maths and Technology lessons.

Why did you do this?

By embedding the lessons in existing schemes rather than creating a new unit we hoped to embed the idea that careers information can be integral to lessons in STEM, and create a strand of learning across the subjects to help students link them together in their minds. As the work is developed students should become accustomed to doing a ‘careers’ lesson in lots of units.

Summary of Activities 

3 teachers (one each from maths, science and technology) wrote lesson plans with a careers focus which were directly related to, and emerged from schemes of learning they were teaching, rather than being part of a separate careers module. The lessons are 100 minutes long. (N.B. Click on the links below to access the lesson plans.)

Science lesson: After studying photosynthesis, students used web-based, film and practical activities to explore careers related to growing plants. They researched and planted vegetable seeds; explored the principles behind hydroponics; and took cuttings and grew them on. 

Technology lesson: Students design and make a bottle coat over a number of lessons. In this lesson they look at case studies of the work of a sports technologist and sportswear designer to contextualise their own design work. 

Maths lesson: Students learn to identify and predict number patterns through exploring how to construct a magazine or booklet. They look at printers at work (on film), work out how to construct 8 and 16 page booklets, then explore how to place advertisements to maximize use of space in their booklets. (N.B. because this lesson was developed by a different teacher, the lesson plan has a different format to the science and technology lesson plans.)

As the programme develops, we aim to include more lessons which are embedded in existing schemes of learning. For example, the next 2 science lessons will have a focus on microbes and forces. The ‘microbes’ careers lesson will highlight NHS careers by looking at hygiene. The ‘forces’ will follow up learning about balanced forces and moments with an engineering and construction activity. 

Timing: To date, 3 x 100 minute lessons – one each in science, maths, and technology 


Materials: See individual lesson plans 

Costs: See lesson plans 

Other resources: These are linked from within the individual lesson plans, but are also included below.

Science lesson:

Horticulture student sheet (for activity involving taking and planting cuttings)

Horticulture teacher notes (for the above activity)

Overview of horticulture lesson (Flipchart file to accompany lesson) 

Technology lesson:

Bottle coat design sheet (for use in classroom)

Sports design homework sheet

PPT containing high street design brief and other information

Maths lesson:

Printing Package (note that the page 1 of this PDF is the student Worksheet 1 and page 2 has the guidelines for Worksheet 2. You will need to create Worksheet 2, which would be a 10cm by 14 cm rectangle.)

Overview of lesson (Flipchart file to accompany lesson)           

Learning and Other Outcomes/Evaluation 

All three lessons are accessible to lower-attaining students. There is sometimes a lack of information and encouragement for these students to explore STEM careers and we hoped to change some perceptions. 

All three lessons are based around hands-on activities so that students who enjoy learning practically can actually experience the kinds of activities involved in careers in these fields. 

Curriculum Links

Links arise directly from curriculum areas named above. The aim is to continue to write lessons for many areas of the year 8 STEM curriculum which fit seamlessly into schemes of learning. 

Integrating Careers Information into the Activity 

As described, our aim is to provide careers information without disrupting the flow of curriculum-related lessons. The main techniques used to do this are video case studies from Futuremorph and other sources, research tasks, and practical activities. 

Top Tips 

1. Ensure websites are not blocked by school internet security

2. Use visitors or STEM ambassadors if possible to enhance activities. Often just having a visitor present in the classroom adds value, even if they don’t lead the session.

3. In our school where outside space is at a premium we have established indoor hydroponic growing which is referred to in the science lesson above. This is a valuable resource which opens up a lot of cross-curricular learning, especially about where our food comes from. Hydroponics systems come in all shapes and sizes and can be installed by schools quite cheaply and easily. You can read more about our work with hydroponics which won the Rolls-Royce Science Prize here.

Related documents

Zip Folder - ASPIRES Case Study 11: STEM Curriculum and Careers (Year 8)


All the associated lesson plans, worksheets, pdfs, powerpoints (ppts) and links for this case study resource. This is a free ASE download.