Explore – Experience – Expand
Explore – Experience – Expand

Explore – Experience – Expand

PG Project

Explore - Experience - Expand

Developed by Dr. Joanna Zadrozny and Dr. Aaron Doering

Update: April 11, 2024
ALL Packets are complete and available for download below.

Subject Area: Geography This lesson outlines a way to use the Explore - Experience - Expand activity guide. Students identify a career path and explore different careers and jobs under that career path and its connection to geography. They learn about different people’s experiences using geography in those careers. And lastly, they expand their knowledge by connecting the geographic knowledge, skills, and tools used in that career to the four main geographic content domains and find examples throughout different regions of the world.
Grade Level: Grades 6-12
Time Frame/Duration: Multiple days throughout the year.

Start of lesson: 15-20 minutes.

Lesson: varies

End of lesson: 30-50 minutes.

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to

1. Identify a career interest.

2. Connect their career interest to specific geography knowledge, skills, and tools.

3. Compare their career interest to other regions of the world.

4. See how geography is used in a variety of career paths.

5. Find local individuals who do what they aspire to become.

What are the questions being asked and potentially answered for this lesson?

1. How does what I want to be when I grow up connect with what I learn in my geography course?

2. How is what I learn in class relevant to my life?

3. Why do I need geography?

1. To start this activity, you will need to have students identify which career path they are most interested in. The six career paths are Building, Business, Creative, Health, Helping, and Nature. The career path is a way to get students to think about careers, especially if they haven’t already.

--> This can be done in multiple ways.

a. Paper Option -> Using the “Which Career Path Are You?” resources provided in the Explore, Experience, Expand Activity Guide, have students go through answering which would they rather do to determine which career path they fall under.

b. Online Option -> Students can complete the Career Path Quiz on their own. This “personality-like” quiz asks students to answer a few “which would you rather do” questions and the result tells them which career path they fit. This quiz can be found on the Powerful Geography website here -> https://powerfulgeography.org/k-12-education/resources/career-counseling/career-path-quiz/

c. Advanced Online Option -> Teachers can administer the “Pre-Student Questionnaire”. Students fill it out (which takes about 10 minutes to complete) and then the teacher will analyze the results to determine how students answered (which will take some time). This questionnaire can be found on the Powerful Geography website, under Teacher Resources here -> https://powerfulgeography.org/k-12-education/resources/student-questionnaire/

2. After students identify their career path, they should review the career categories underneath each path using the “Investigate Career Paths” sheet/poster (pictured below). Allow about 5 minutes for this activity. Ideally it would be best to have this sheet printed as a large poster, laminated, and hung up in the classroom for the next step.

--> Alternatively, if there is space on the classroom walls, teachers can print, laminate, and hang the six individual career paths sheets/posters (pictured below) around their room in a gallery wall fashion that can lead to a gallery walk activity.

3. Next, have students write their name next to THREE career categories that they are interested in. They can do this with a marker or post-it note. Students don’t need to choose their three all within the same career path, especially if they are interested in a career category from a different career path.

-->IMPORTANT: The teacher needs to make note of each students’ choice as this will determine the packet the student will receive.



4. Teachers will prepare for each student a “Career Interest Packet”. The packet is comprised of:

a. the same front-end material for each student –> “Student Career Interests Packet Cover” and “My Career Interests Include”

b. And the worksheet materials of the three identified career categories. Each career category includes the same 9 pages, tailored to the specific category. A description of each one of them is outlined on the page “Explore - Experience - Expand” (below).

-> Explore - Career Categories; Career Examples; Career Exploration; Applying Geography.

-> Experience - Meet the Geographers; Find Local Geographers.

-> Expand - Take it Global; Making Connections; Reflections.

5. The materials can be downloaded, printed, and put together into a packet for each student as they will work through it. The materials are available to be accessed and downloaded on the Powerful Geography website, under K-12 Education then Explore - Experience - Expand.

*A sample packet is available on the website to see what a packet would look like*

The materials are color-coded to represent a career path.

Building Yellow Health Red
Business Purple Helping Orange
Creative Blue Nature Green

These materials are available to be downloaded in (1) full color, (2) color with a white background, or (3) grayscale.

*Please note that currently there is no fillable electronic version available for the student worksheets (“Career Exploration”, “Find Local Geographers”, “Take it Global”, “Making Connections”, and “Reflections”).

Therefore, if printing is a concern or problem, teachers can decide to print only the student worksheets, while providing the remaining pages (“Career Categories”, “Career Examples”, “Applying Geography”, and “Meet the Geographers”) as a PDF file.

If possible, it would be advantageous to have both print and electronic files for students to work from as some pages have links to resources on the Powerful Geography website.

6. Once the packets are complete, put the student’s name on it, and give it to the corresponding student. Have the students complete the second page with their career path and the three career categories they were most interested in. These are the same ones they wrote their name next to Step 3.

The next part is going to describe some of the ways a teacher can work through the packet during class, with suggestions for each page.

7. Each student now has their own career packet that is filled with three distinct career categories for them to explore, experience, and expand.



8. First up is the “Explore - [Career Path] - Career Categories” page. Depending on the student choice there will be either one of these at the very front (after “My Career Interests Include” page) if the choices are all in one career path OR one in front of each new career category section. This is more of a landing page for students, and a reminder of the career categories and career path they are working in.

o   Sidenote: The [ ] will be used throughout to signify a placeholder since it could be any of the career paths/categories in its place.

9.       Next is “Explore - [Career Category] - Career Examples”. This page lists a variety of jobs that are under the career category. The list is just a sample and no way exhaustive of all the jobs out there. Many of the listed jobs are linked to the Geography in Jobs and Careers Pages that can be found on the Powerful Geography website. *If the job is underlined than it is linked to the website.* Each career category is also underlined and linked to the student resources page associated with that career category. That way students just need to click on that to browse the resources provided on the website.

a. Teachers can look at these here à https://powerfulgeography.org/k-12-education/resources/geography-in-jobs-and-careers-pages/

b. Students can also get to them by going to “Student Resources”, scrolling to the specific job category, and clicking to view. This can be found here à https://powerfulgeography.org/student-resources/

10. Using an entire class period, students should explore the jobs listed there by either clicking on the link (if provided) or conducting an internet search to learn more. Students will then complete the next page “Explore - [Career Category] - Career Exploration” for each of their three choices.

--> As an alternative, class time can be used to complete ONE career exploration, allowing time for the teacher to demonstrate, guide, and answer questions as students work through the “Career Exploration” worksheet. Completion of the other TWO careers can be assigned for homework.

11. The next day, students will move to the next page “Explore - [Career Category] - Applying Geography” which dives into how geography is directly related to different jobs and careers under that category. Up to this point, it is presumed that students think geography has nothing to do with their career ambitions, however, this page is meant to break that misconception. It provides brief examples and descriptions to grab students’ attention and get them to think about geography in a new light.

a. DURING CLASS: Students can read the page associated to their interests, which can lead to either small group or whole class discussions about (1) what they learned, (2) what they think, (3) how has their perspective changed (or not changed) about geography, (4) do they believe it, etc.



12. After this discussion it would be ideal to move to the next page which is “Experience - [Career Category] - Meet the Geographers”. This page offers just a small sample of quotes from within that career category about how geography is used. These excerpts come from interviews conducted for the Powerful Geography project, social media posts, news radio interviews, and newspaper, magazine, and journal articles.

The purpose is to share the experiences of others about how they utilize their geographic knowledge, skills, and tools. This highlights the different ways geographic knowledge, skills, and tools can be used in different careers but also the similarities across careers. This gives the students their purpose in needing to learn geography.

a. DURING CLASS: Students can explore the interviews that are available either through the link on the page or through the Student Resources tab on the Powerful Geography website (same way as they did Geography in Jobs and Careers Pages in Step 9). The teacher can lead a class discussion asking students to share different keywords of geographic knowledge, skills, and tools that popped up from the interviews they read or listened to. These knowledge, skills, and tools can be put together on the board and be identified as “Powerful Geographic Knowledge”.

§  TEACHER’S NOTE: To help you with identifying powerful geographic knowledge, on the Powerful Geography website there is a page called Powerful Geographic Knowledge that lists the various knowledge and skills that are reoccurring in over 200 jobs and careers. This can be found here à https://powerfulgeography.org/k-12-education/implementation-process/powerful-geographic-knowledge/

13. The next page “Experience - [Career Category] - Find Local Geographers” entails students to conduct research and potentially conduct some interviews of their own.

a. Students can conduct an internet search to find local individuals who are doing the job they are interested in.


b. The teacher can compile a list of local individuals they know or have connections with that their students can research or reach out to.


c. This assignment can also be done in tandem with a school career fair when local businesses and individuals are already coming to the school to share what they do.

-> This page, depending on which course of action above is taken, can be done immediately after the “Explore” and “Meet the Geographers” pages or later in the year when students have a better grasp on geography.

-> Some careers may be hard to find locally depending on where you are. We suggest looking at your own school for potential individuals to help.

For example,

o   the drama club teacher is “entertainment”

o   the music/band teacher is “arts” and “entertainment”

o   school newspaper is “media”

o   school security guard is “first responder”

o   any sport coach is “sports”

o   school nurse is “health”

o   school secretary is office and administrative support for “business”



The next two student worksheets are fluid assignments that can and should be done throughout the year as “career enrichment / extension” pieces to existing lesson plans.

14. “Expand - [Career Category] - Take it Global” is specifically made for a course that studies the different world regions. While working through each region, the teacher should ask students to find examples of how the job/career they are interested in is carried out in other parts of the world. Students should fill this out whenever the teacher thinks is best – whether for homework, during the lesson, or at the end of the region as a recap.

a. Some examples and guiding ideas might include,

 i. the entertainment industry in India is Bollywood;

ii. the media station in England is BBC or in Russia it’s their state-owned Channel One or Russia TV news stations;

iii. a notation of how towns are developed in densely populated cities if interested in urban development;

iv. what are the agricultural practices and crops grown in different regions for those interested in farming or ranching;

v. what type of building materials are used in different regions for those into construction;

vi. what are cultural practices observed in business engagements such as punctuality when doing business in Switzerland, or bowing and the exchange and review of business cards in Japan as a form of respect.

15. The “Expand - [Career Category] - Making Connections” page should be filled out by the student after there is a discussion of the main content domains in geography: (1) physical geography, (2) human geography, (3) places and regions, and (4) environment and society.

a. These four content domains are unequivocally covered in every state social studies/geography standards, so we suggest that when one of these is covered by another lesson, afterwards the student think about how they can find a connection between their career interest and the content. This way the knowledge is fresh in their mind and they can communicate it in the worksheet. They should think about how their career is impacted by the content domain and how the content domain impacts their career choice.

-> Teachers may want to save these worksheets for the end of the school year. However, if the teacher chooses this option, it runs the risk of students forgetting what they learned or losing interest throughout the year, rather than maintaining it throughout. Ultimately, we highly recommend students fill out the worksheets throughout the school year while knowledge is learned!

16. Lastly, the final worksheet “Expand - [Career Path] - Reflections” asks students to reflect on everything they learned and connect their career interest with geography. This worksheet can act as a final assessment or synthesis of everything they learned. They should apply all of the knowledge they gained and be able to succinctly show how geography is used in a career they are interested in and aspire to become.

a. Time should be made so that students can share out their reflections since every student would have explored a different career path and career category. It would allow students to see and hear about how geography is used in other careers that they may not be interested in at the moment, but the future could be different.

-> Materials are available for print or online (aside from student worksheets).

-> When it calls for students to explore online different careers in “Explore - [Career Category] - Career Exploration”, the teacher can do this ahead of time and provide print copies of a dozen jobs in each category to pick from rather than have students explore them all online by themselves.

-> Teachers can do some prior work and find individuals for students for “Experience - [Career Category] - Find Local Geographers” rather than having them look online.

-> Allow advanced students to solve a problem found within their career using geographic knowledge.

This is an open-ended activity and assignment. There are some instances where you want to make sure they are making correct statements when they fill out the “Expand” worksheets, but the major point is to have students connecting what they learn in class to the outside world and be relevant.
-> There will be career categories and/or whole career paths that not a single student will show interest in. The teacher should use some of these “unliked” careers as examples throughout the year to showcase how geography is used anyways. There is a chance a student(s) will end up in one of these careers even if they are not interested in it now.

- These can be randomly selected OR

- The teacher can pull a sample of some of the jobs parents of students have to create a connection to home and the classroom.

-> Teachers can share with every student the “Explore - [Career Category] - Applying Geography” page for every single career category at the end of the school year to bring home the notion that geography is in everything.

-> This lesson can be taught in addition to the “Geographic Career Connections” lesson plan.

Click Photo to Download PDF Packet (Full Color)
Building Path
Business Path
Creative Path
Health Path
Helping Path
Nature Path
Click Photo to Download PDF Packet (White Background)
Click Photo to Download PDF Packet (Grayscale)