Looking Ahead: Future Career Possibilities

Career Education - Grade 6

This unit of inquiry is not a recipe book but rather a launchpad to inspire new BIG IDEAS. We encourage you to use and/or modify one, or several of the BIG IDEAS below. Adapt it to the grade/ ability level of your students.


Enduring Understanding

Our career possibilities are influenced by personal attributes and circumstances


Guiding Questions

How do we assess, develop and apply our attributes and skills in a global economy?


Mind Opening

Choose or devise practices to encourage students to be open to new experiences and ways of thinking in your classroom. For example, the MindUP in-school program.


Discovery and Inspiration:

Launch the Project

Introduce the Theme: Present the Enduring Understanding and Guiding Questions using vocabulary that is appropriate for your grade level.

About Vancouver Biennale: Play a short video.

Create Project Space: Brainstorm ideas to make the project theme visual and visible using bulletin boards, and/or a project corner to share relevant materials and inquiry questions and processes.

Reference Resources:

Introduction to Sculpture and Public Art Unit Plan for information on how art has evolved over time and the unique experience sculptures and/or public art brings

Vancouver Biennale 2014-2016 Exhibition Theme: Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver

 The King and Queen (Sorel Etrog, Canada) from Vancouver Biennale 2009 – 2011 Exhibition

Doors of Knowledge (Patrick Hughes, UK) from Vancouver Biennale 2009 – 2011 Exhibition


Other Resources

10 Jobs That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago – Forbes Staff, Meghan Casserly, May 2012.

Portraits of Historical/Contemporary Royalty


Learning to Learn:

Art Inquiry

Project images of King and Queen and Doors of Knowledge encourage students to freely explore and interact with the art pieces individually and in groups. This Art Inquiry process enables the students to practice observing, describing, interpreting, and sharing visual information and personal experiences. Use the Art Inquiry Worksheet (PDF) to guide and capture their ideas and impressions. Customize or create your own Art Inquiry Worksheet as appropriate for your project and class needs.


Shared Insights

• Sharing Art Inquiry Experience: Ask students to share the Art Inquiry Worksheet responses in class.

Artist Themes – Research: In small groups students rotate between information stations detailing the artist’s life and work. Station topics include: (1) education and training; (2) lifetime of artwork; (2) materials and processes; (3) beliefs and values. At each station, students answer questions and complete a task. For example, at the station “life’s work” students might plot the artist’s various installations on a map of the world.

• Artist Themes – Knowledge and Opportunity: Note one side of Doors of Knowledge depicts a series of doors with distant landscape imagery, the other side a bank of book shelves lined with images of real books. Facilitates responses on the relationship between open/closed doors to knowledge as symbolized by books. Ask students to reflect on the questions: What doors are open for you? What doors are closed to you? How can you use your skills to take advantage of your opportunities?

Personal Attributes and Circumstances: Lead a discussion around the question: Do you possess the same attributes as a King or Queen? Could you be a King or Queen? Do circumstances influence your career possibilities? Can circumstances determine your career possibilities? Consider using portraits of royalty as inspiration.


Inquiry Challenges

• Assessment: Working in groups, identify positive attributes and skills of other group members. Each student will be set up with a personal attributes/skills graffiti page and students will contribute to each other’s page focusing on the positives only. Students then reflect on self and select three attributes/skills to create a comic strip to illustrate examples of how they embody it. Take a professional attribute assessment test and compare the differences and similarities of the results.

• Career Choices: Set up a career showcase carousel. At each station, students can add to a list of pros/cons about that career. Review and compile the lists and look for common words. Students then proceed to rate the career choices and review the results as to what are the most and least desirable career choices. Analyze the choices against the pros/cons list and note any trends that emerge.

• Globalization and Trend: Encourage students to call out careers that are not showcased in the Career Choices Challenge and what they know about them. Discuss the impact of globalization on the job market and facilitate a discussion on how jobs have changed over the last 10 years. Ask students to research jobs that are currently in high demand and compare this to 10 years ago. What are the reasons behind the change? Brainstorm what careers might be in high demand 10 years from now when they are ready to enter the job market.

• Relating Attributes to Career: Ask each student to pick three career choices and prepare a list of desirable attributes and skills for each. Map the desirable attributes with their current assessment results. Reflect if there is a good match. If not, develop a timeline and plan to develop skills and attributes. Encourage students to connect with practicing professionals in their top three career choices and verify if the perceived attributes and skills requirement is valid.

• Preparing for Circumstances: Create a timeline starting from now until retirement. ‘Change of Circumstance’ cards will be handed out and the students are to reflect and think of ways to prepare themselves to the changes. Circumstances can include changes due to global economy: ‘High Growth Rate,’ ‘Loss of Jobs,’ ‘Economy Stagnation’ or personal circumstances such as ‘Health’, ‘New Family,’ etc.


Student Creations and Taking Action

A student creation could be an interactive Prezi, an Animoto presentation, or a Glogster poster presented during the career fair.

Organize a school career fair. Students can work in groups to organize and present information for a specific career, today’s global economy, etc.



• Teacher and students can reflect on their entire learning process by revisiting the Enduring Understanding and relevant Guiding Questions.

• How did the unit of study open inquiry, create cross–curricular learning opportunities and/or apply learning to real life situations? Has this unit of inquiry changed your opinions, values and world view? In what ways, if any, has it helped you grow as a learner?


Ideas for Cross-Curricular Access

• Arts Education – Visual Arts: After students have created their career timeline, they will create a visual representation of their possible career path using collaging techniques. Materials can be incorporated from magazines, personal photos, or found materials to both incorporate a mixture of collaging and the use of texture.

• Language Arts: Prepare anticipated interview questions and role play job interviews. Perform in front of the class and invite peer comments and suggestions for improvement.

• Mathematics – Statistics and Probability: As part of Relating Attributes to Career Challenge, the students are to collect statistical information such as average salary, age, average working hours and industry growth rate for their top three career choices. Then collect comparative data in another province and country and present the data in graphical form and explain the reason for the differences. Currency conversion may be required.

• Social Studies – Canada and the World: As part of Globalization and Trend Challenge, ask students to consider Canada’s global profile; i.e. its economic relationships and communication technologies. Compare with technology in other countries.


Written by: Danielle Bourgon, Mina Rohani, 2013 UBC Elementary and Middle School Teacher Candidates

©2013 Vancouver Biennale