Integrating Career Exploration Into STEM Curriculum

One of the things I like about our app is that it is flexible enough to be deployed by educators in different, meaningful ways (see my colleague Melissa’s recent post about why this is important). So I wanted to share one example of how this can be done...

Imagine an eighth grade teacher that is creating STEM curriculum to support the following Academic Standards:

  • Recognize that organisms reproduce & transmit genetic information (genes) to offspring, which influences individuals’ traits in the next generation. 
  • Integrate scientific inquiry which involves the formulation of a question that can be answered through investigation.

This teacher could adopt a lesson plan that we’ve developed with our partner schools. It contains the following components:

  1. Hands-On Experiment – the PTC Gene was discovered in 2003 and a simple taste test can be conducted to determine if an individual has this gene. In class, students conduct the test on themselves using PTC Taste Strips. If they taste bitter on the strips, they have the gene.
  2. Distribution Chart – the lesson plan integrates math by having students plot whether or not they have the PTC Gene on a distribution chart. The students can then compare the presence of the PTC Gene in their class versus the general population in which 75% of people have the gene.
  3. Homework – the students are then asked an inquiry question to determine if the PTC Gene is inherited. They take PTC Taste Strips home to test their family members and plot a family tree indicating which members have/don’t have the PTC Gene. This supports an in class discussion about heredity and gene inheritance.
  4. Career Exploration – the final part of the lesson is to have the students complete Couragion’s geneticist quest. In this quest students meet Dr. Nicole Garneau. Nicole runs The Genetics of Taste Lab at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The Lab examines both genetic and environmental factors that might contribute to the ability to taste fatty acids. In her videos, Nicole discusses the type of work she performs, her postsecondary education, and the advice she has for students looking to pursue a similar career.

Approaching the STEM curriculum requirement in this way provides an integrated lesson that encompasses Academic Standards for science, math, and 21st century skills and pairs it with the Next Generation Science Standards. In addition it helps students to see the relevance of what they are learning by highlighting how such skills are used in a real-world job.

This is just one way that Couragion can be woven into STEM curriculum and in the coming weeks we will share additional ways in which educators can flexibly deploy the app. 

Please email me (laura at if you would like resources that would support the above curriculum example.

Sources: and

Laura FarrellyComment