Trying out careers

Hands-on activities were part of career exploration event

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall Middle School students Claire Kruse, Zoe Goblirsch and Alex Brown try an engineering challenge with a twist: building a circular arch by stacking Pringles potato chips. STEM skills like engineering were the focus of one booth at a career exploration event at MMS on Thursday.

MARSHALL — The booths set up in the Marshall Middle School gymnasium took career exploration to another level.

At one table, a group of eighth graders learned about nursing, while also getting to experience some of the physical conditions senior citizens deal with.

Students looked shocked as they tried on headphones that simulated having hearing loss. Landrey Graven said voices sounded muffled, as if they were on an intercom.

“It’s like a pilot talking to someone, only it doesn’t work,” Graven said.

Simulations and hands-on activities were a big part of a career exploration event held for MMS eighth graders on Thursday. Students got a chance to learn about different career areas, from nursing and nutrition, to engineering and marketing.

The event was something that grew out of Marshall Public Schools’ efforts to encourage career and technical education, said Shanda Walker, community engagement coordinator at MPS.

“We tried to think about things we could do at each level,” Walker said.

For example, Marshall High School holds events like guest speakers and a career fair.

“We thought, let’s see how we can get the younger kids involved,” Walker said.

Some of the career tables let students try some real-world job tasks. Visit Marshall staff Cassi Weiss and Adri DeBoer let students create slogans and poster designs promoting Marshall. Weiss said their ideas would be used to help make Visit Marshall marketing materials.

Students shared some of their favorite things about Marshall.

“I picked the theater,” said Jameson Cornell.

Alejandro Llaguno talked about the Light Up the Night event.

“It’s fun to get a different perspective,” Weiss said of working with students.

She and DeBoer were also impressed that students highlighted unique things about Marshall. For example, one student talked about going to the Ton Kao grocery store for fresh produce and Asian foods.

“This is so awesome, that you guys know these hidden gems,” DeBoer said.

While a lot of the activities students tried were fun, they also used ideas that are important in different careers. Sam Jens, youth development educator with the University of Minnesota Extension, taught students about balanced nutrition by having them make trail mix. The different ingredients, like pretzels, sunflower seeds and dried fruit, represented different kinds of nutrients people and animals need in their diet.

Nutrition is something that factors into a lot of careers, Jens said. It’s a discipline that’s used to help feed people, and it’s used in agriculture.

Students said they enjoyed the career exploration day.

“I’m interested in agriculture,” Kade Buchert said.

Carson Lujan said his favorite activity at the event was a building challenge.

Presenters said it was good to get to share different career ideas with the middle school students.

“A lot of people don’t realize all the career paths there are,” Jens said.


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