Educator Features

NASA Careers
Teacher Section

Objective: To identify a career at NASA that students would be interested in and draw conclusions as to the necessary skills and education required for such a position.

Grade Level: 5-8
Subject(s): Study Skills, Psychology
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Duration: One class period
Materials Category: Special

National Education Standards
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
            Science and technology in society
History and Nature of Science
            Science as a human endeavor

Materials: Pre-lesson Instructions
  • Duplicate the Student Pages (one per student)
  • Reserve time in your school’s library or computer lab
Background Information

Obtaining the career you desire is done by making choices about your education, activities and jobs you pursue. When choosing an occupation, it's important to find one that matches your skills, interests and values. Today's activity will get your students to start thinking about their future. What they decide today will not necessarily dictate what job they will obtain in the future.

  1. Write the words "occupation" and "career" on the board. As a class, discuss the meaning of these two words.
    • Occupation: The activity that a person does as their regular work; a job.
    • Career: The order of events that occur in a person's work, over time.
  2. Ask students how they know if an occupation is a good one for them. (For the purposes of this activity, focus the discussion on the importance of being interested in the work and the common activities of a job.)
  3. Ask students what kinds of occupations they think NASA has.
  4. Distribute the Student Pages. Have students list their interests and skills on the Self-Evaluation Worksheet. Discuss with students the difference between liking an activity and being good at it. How do they know if they are good at something? (It might be easy for them. They achieve good grades in it.) Ask them if there is something they really like but that have to work hard at in order to do well.
  5. Have students complete the Self-Evaluation Worksheet.
  6. Move to the library or computer lab and have the students research different NASA careers online. Have students use the following link for their research:
Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets
+ View site


  • Have students complete the Occupations Reflection Sheet. Assess whether students have a good understanding of NASA occupations, the requirements for these occupations and whether they chose occupations that fit their interests, skills and values.
  • Have students evaluate the occupations and their reasons for liking or disliking these occupations. Have your discussion include the following considerations:
    • Connection between school subjects and work in the "real world"
    • Steps one might need to take to prepare for such a job
    • Strengths one might require in order to do this type of work
    • Skills one might need to acquire in order to do this type of work
  • Discuss the following topics with the class:
    • "Real world" job requirements
    • Training
    • Strengths
    • Weaknesses
    • Interests vs. skills

  • Have students write a description of a NASA occupation they would like to have.

NASA Careers Student Page