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Chemists in the Real World (18 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Introduction, Interdisciplinary, Review, Culminating Project. Last updated March 25, 2020.


Summary

In this activity, students will research a variety of chemistry careers to learn about job options in the field of chemistry. Students who often ask “when am I ever going to use this?!” can find some real-world examples of people who use chemistry in their jobs.

Grade Level

High School

Objectives

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

  • Describe 3 different career paths in chemistry.

Chemistry Topics

This lesson supports students’ understanding of:

  • Careers in chemistry

Time

Teacher Preparation: minimal

Lesson: 30-45 minutes

Materials

  • Student activity sheet
  • Computer, tablet, or phone with internet access

Safety

  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • Students can access career profiles at: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/college-to-career/chemists.html.
  • This would be a good activity to do with a substitute, if you are able to plan for computer/internet access. It could also be used as an emergency sub plan if your students/classrooms are equipped with computers/tablets/phones or you have an easily accessible laptop cart.
  • The number of chemist profiles students review can be adjusted to fit the time available.
  • If your classroom does not have the technology for each student to have their own computer/tablet, you could have them work in groups. Alternatively, you could print out some of the career profiles and keep paper copies in a binder, and students could switch with each other to get three different profiles.

For the Student

Lesson

Background

Chemistry is the study of matter and its changes.That is an extremely broad field of study – everything you see, touch, smell, taste, and hear involves matter, and therefore chemistry!As a result, it creates many job opportunities.In this activity, you will learn about the wide range of career options in the field of chemistry.

Warmup Question

What do you think chemists do at their jobs?What tools do they use?How do they dress? What kind of work environment do they have?Write a paragraph summarizing what you think of when you imagine a day in the life of a chemist.

Research

  1. Go to https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/college-to-career/chemists.html and read through the categories under “Featured Careers.”
  2. Select one of the career categories that interests you (for example: Biotechnology, Chemistry in the Arts, or Forensic Chemistry) and list it in the table below.
  3. Click on the link beneath your chosen category that allows you to see all the chemists in that category, and select one of the chemists to read their profile.Complete the table below with information you learn from reading their profile.
  4. Repeat this process for two other career categories so you have read a total of three profiles.
Career category 1:
Chemist’s name:
Chemist’s job title and place of employment:
Chemist’s degrees:
Describe a typical day at work for this chemist. Include information about the work environment, type of activity, equipment/tools used, etc.
What part of this chemist’s job sounds most interesting to you and why?
What skills help this person do their job?
What surprised you about this chemist’s work?
What advice does this chemist give?
Career category 2:
Chemist’s name:
Chemist’s job title and place of employment:
Chemist’s degrees:
Describe a typical day at work for this chemist. Include information about the work environment, type of activity, equipment/tools used, etc.
What part of this chemist’s job sounds most interesting to you and why?
What skills help this person do their job?
What surprised you about this chemist’s work?
What advice does this chemist give?
Career category 3:
Chemist’s name:
Chemist’s job title and place of employment:
Chemist’s degrees:
Describe a typical day at work for this chemist. Include information about the work environment, type of activity, equipment/tools used, etc.
What part of this chemist’s job sounds most interesting to you and why?
What skills help this person do their job?
What surprised you about this chemist’s work?
What advice does this chemist give?

Analysis

  1. Compared to the warmup question, which chemist profile seems most like your preconceptions of what a chemist does? Which seems the most different? Explain.
  2. Which of the three job profiles do you think you would you most enjoy? Why?
  3. Which piece of advice did you find the most useful and why?