Full Year Research Project: Geographic Career Connections
Full Year Research Project: Geographic Career Connections

Full Year Research Project: Geographic Career Connections

Powerful Geography Project

Geographic Career Connections

Developed by Stacie Aguirre

Subject and Grade Level: 9th grade, World Geography (appropriate for 6th grade, World Cultures and AP Human Geography, with modifications) Time Frame: 14 class periods throughout the year, 50 minute class periods (1 day in the 2nd unit, one day per region unit, 3 days at the end of the year)
Learning Outcomes:

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

1.       Display and communicate how geography impacts their chosen career field.

2.       Identify and analyze geographic concepts and issues related to their chosen career field. 

Overview of Lesson:

-> Students will participate in a year-long research project, beginning with exploring careers and choosing one of interest to them.  For each region of study, they will identify a concept or issue that impacts their career and research that issue/concept.  At the end of the year, they will create a one-pager including their research throughout the year with additional culminating questions. Optionally, students can participate in a career fair where they will present their research.

Essential/Guiding Questions:

  • How does geography impact my career? 
Connection to the Curriculum/Units:

-> The first lesson will allow students to explore career paths and choose one of interest to them; this lesson should be completed in the 2nd unit (Human Geography).  In each regional unit, students will spend one day researching concepts and issues related to their career choice.  For the final product, students will spend two-three days creating a one-pager and, if time permits, one day participating in a career fair; these days should be at the end of the year.

TEKS Content Objective(s):

-> This will vary by student and career choice. Teacher should monitor student progress each unit to ensure that students are researching material appropriate to the TEKS.

TEKS Skills Objective(s): 

(21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including technology. The student is expected to:

(A) analyze and evaluate the validity and utility of multiple sources of geographic information such as primary and secondary sources, aerial photographs, and maps;

(C) create and interpret different types of maps to answer geographic questions, infer relationships, and analyze change;

(D) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, drawing inferences and conclusions, and developing connections over time.

(22) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to:

(A) create appropriate graphics such as maps, diagrams, tables, and graphs to communicate geographic features, distributions, and relationships;

(B) generate summaries, generalizations, and thesis statements supported by evidence;

(C) use social studies terminology correctly; and

(D) create original work using effective written communication skills, including proper citations and understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

(23) Social studies skills. The student uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others. The student is expected to:

(A) plan, organize and complete a research project that involves asking geographic questions; acquiring, organizing, and analyzing information; answering questions; and communicating results.

Powerful Geography Focus (If applicable): 

-> This project will cover all content domains for Powerful Geography (Human Geography, Physical Geography, Place & Regions, and Environment & Society).  Students will choose the career path most interesting to them and their content domain will be specific to that career choice.


For Student Use:
tucareers.com or Powerful Geography Career Path Quiz Instructions for each career test is available:

PG Career Test Instructions

Tucareers Career Test Instructions (6th grade)

Tucareers Career Test Instructions (9th grade)

Career Quiz Vocabulary Supplement To aid students with words they may not be familiar with in the quiz

Tucareers Vocabulary Supplement

Powerful Geography Vocabulary Supplement

Career Research Worksheet One per student
Career Issues Research Worksheet One per student per region unit
Internet, textbooks, or other research material
Year-End One Pager Instructions and Rubric One per student
11”x17” copy paper One per student
One-Pager Step by Step Checklist Optional
One-Pager Organizer Optional
Career Fair Worksheet One per student
For Teacher Use:
Career Issues Research Rubric One per student per region
Year-End One Pager Rubric One per student
Resources Needed for this Lesson:

https://powerfulgeography.org/ and other online resources linked throughout lesson plan

-> Students will participate in a gallery walk; information about how to conduct a gallery walk can be found at https://www.theedadvocate.org/how-to-implement-the-gallery-walk-teaching-strategy-in-your-classroom/ .

-> Students will engage in a Think-Pair-Share strategy to begin the lesson; information about how to lead this can be found at https://www.kent.edu/ctl/think-pair-share .

Before the Activity:

-> While there is no prerequisite knowledge for students, it is important for teachers to understand that students will potentially need quite a bit of guidance when completing their career research for the first couple of units.  Students have likely never been asked to connect their learning with a career interest in such an in-depth and content-heavy way before.  Modeling and frequent check-ins in the first few units will help students learn how to do the thinking required for this project and later units should become easier and easier.  Once the idea of the project has been introduced, it would be a good practice for the teacher to consistently tie in careers to the topic that is being taught to help students see the connections to careers as content instruction is happening throughout each unit. As the year progresses, the teacher can ask the students to make career connections during everyday lessons. 

Procedures to conduct the lesson:

Starting the Lesson: Day 1

Asking Geographic Questions

List about 10 jobs on the board and lead students in a “think-pair-share” to decide which ones would use geography in the job. Optional list of jobs below.

  • Nursing
  • Marketing
  • Construction worker
  • State governor
  • Lawyer
  • Police officer
  • Agriculture
  • Transportation planning
  • Door Dash driver
  • Tourism

After students have a chance to share, explain that geography would be helpful to a certain extent in all jobs.  Tell them that they will have the chance to choose a career path and explore how geography is connected to that career.  Students might be skeptical.  That’s ok. 😊 The teacher’s job is to make sure that students learn how to make connections to geographic concepts throughout the year.


Have students use the Career Research Worksheet to explore careers and choose one for the year.  Teachers can have students use https://www.tucareers.com/ or the Powerful Geography Career Paths Quiz.


Teacher Hints:

  1. Depending on student needs, instructions for each career test is available: Tucareers 6th Grade, Tucareers 9th Grade, and Powerful Geography Career Paths.
  2. The Tucareers 6th Grade quiz will take students 10-15 minutes to complete; Tucareers 9th Grade will take 20-30 minutes, and PG Career Paths Quiz will take 5-10 minutes.
  3. If the teacher doesn’t want to commit a full day of instruction of this, they could omit this part altogether and simply have students choose a career.
  4. School counselors might be a good resource for this.  They might even be interested in being a guest speaker for this day and lead the students in choosing a career.
  5. Consider creating a folder for each student to save each component of this project since they will use all of it at the end of the year.  Old school – give each student a manila folder and keep them in a filing cabinet in your room.  New school – have students complete these components electronically and save them in Google Drive or another electronic format.


The Lesson: 

Acquiring, Organizing, and Analyzing Geographic Information


Toward the end of each region unit, have students complete the Career Issues Research worksheet to research a concept or issue related to the career they chose at the beginning of the year.


Teacher hints:

  1. To help students develop this way of thinking, consistently connect class topics to careers throughout the units.  Point out possible topics of research for specific careers when covered in class, especially those you know students are researching.  The use of current events would be a good way to practice this skill.
  2. Teachers should make sure they monitor student progress, especially in the beginning of the year to ensure that students are choosing appropriate issues and/or concepts.
  3. Consider scaffolding in the beginning of the year by…

a. Showing interviews from professionals about how they use geography in their job.  These can be found at https://powerfulgeography.org/k-12-education/resources/#powerful-geography-videos-and-interviews.

b. Grouping students into similar career paths and having these groups brainstorm related issues/concepts before researching.

c. Providing a list of possible search options to get students started.

d. Modeling a search for students.

e. Having students designate a page in their notebook to jot down concept/issue ideas as they come to them during the unit.


End the Lesson and Closing Product:

Answering Geographic Questions


At the end of the year, students will create a one-pager* to collate and organize the research they have done during the year.  The one-pager will allow students to reflect on the connections they made throughout the year and on the career they chose.  Allow 2-3 days for the creation of this one-pager.


Teacher hints:

  1. Use the One-Pager Rubric to set expectations for student work.

*Adapted from AP Human Geography Teachers Facebook group files.

Extension/Enrichment: Students can participate in a career fair so they can see other students’ research and geographic connections.  To ensure engagement in the career fair, students can complete the Career Fair Worksheet.
Differentiation strategies to meet diverse learner needs:

 -> Use instructions sheets for the career test.  (See links in the student materials section.)

-> Provide students with the vocabulary lists that go along with the career quiz. (See links in the student materials section.)

-> Group students according to career path and allow them to research the concepts/issues together.

-> Provide a template for the one-pager that students can use to fill in their information.

-> Provide a step-by-step checklist or an organizer to assist in creating the one-pager.

-> Provide a list of concepts/issues specific to their career for students to choose from when researching.

-> Frequent checks for understanding.