The middle school CTE curricular guidance framework consists of 33 modules: Six Theme Modules, which are the basis for middle school CTE; and, 27 Content Modules, which are the vehicles for meeting the standards represented by the Themes.

Given the modules, school district leaders and teachers of middle school CTE must next answer the question, "How can we design project-based learning experiences that will help our middle-school students gain foundational CTE knowledge and skills through the lens of the CTE content area(s) we have represented in our school?"

Below is a set of sample learning experiences, created by New York State CTE teachers, that model instructional possibilities utilizing the new modules. Each learning experience illustrates how CTE Content provides the context through which middle school learners develop the transferable skills represented by the Themes. Each sample learning experience models a combination of activities, projects and project based learning strategies. 

Sample Learning Experiences: 

Agriculture


Theme: Financial and Consumer Literacy
Length: 6 days; 40 minute class periods
Grade:  6
Title: Vegetables A to Z

Students list the letters of the alphabet from A to Z. Next to each letter, students write the name of a vegetable beginning with that letter. Share the lists with the class. Students investigate the consumer information provided on packets of seeds for sale, such as cost, seed origin, seed distributor, and planting, growing, and harvesting specifications. Students create model seed packets for the "Vegetables A to Z" showing accurate consumer information. Post the models on the class webpage as resources for others.


Theme: Communication and Interpersonal Relationships
Length: 9 days; 40minute periods
Grade:  7-8
Title: Animal Essay

Each student will research how a specific animal species spends a typical day when raised under a particular method of animal production: sustainable, conventional, humanely raised, natural, or organic. Students will write and present a "first-animal" essay about a day in the life of the animal researched.

Business and Marketing


Theme: Health, Safety, and Wellness
Length: days; 40 minute periods
Grade:  7-8
Title: BYOD

Students will examine ways that personal choices and experiences affect their current wellness and long-term outcomes for themselves, their families, their workplaces, and the community. Risk factors that impact health, safety, and wellness and their relationships to current societal issues will be examined.

Students will learn about and make connections between the area of responsible use of digital devices (smartphones, social media, etc.) and mental health for teenagers, particularly at the 6th to 8th grade level.  Students will use the knowledge and skills developed during this project to create a presentation to school administration on what an appropriate digital device policy could be for the school.


Theme: Problem Solving and Innovation
Length: 18 days; 40 minute periods
Grade:  7-8
Title: The Job Interview Project

Students brainstorm lists of interview questions for employers and for applicants. In groups of three, role-play interviews as employer and applicant using questions developed in the brainstorm. The third student serves as the observer to rate the interview using a feedback rubric. Students exchange roles so that all students experience each of the three roles.


Theme: Communication and Interpersonal Relationships
Length: 19 days; 40 minute periods
Grade:  8
Title: My Professional Story

Students collect materials needed for personal career portfolios. Students create hard copy or digital career portfolios that include skill, ability, and interest inventories as well as samples of common application documents such as resumes, cover letters, and letters of reference. Students present their portfolios to a feedback panel of representatives from local businesses and make adjustments based on the feedback.


Theme: Communication and interpersonal Relationships
Length: 10 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7- 8
Title: Digital Footprint: Your Online Legacy

Students learn about the concept of the digital footprint from a variety of scholarly sources.

Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of digital citizenship and ways to use the computer to communicate effectively in the business world. Current issues related to digital citizenship and the development of good digital citizenship skills will be examined. In particular, students will be examining how everything they do with a computer leaves a trail, or footprint. Students will make the connection between using a computer effectively and appropriately will leave a positive footprint. They will also examine what happens when the opposite is true.

Family and Consumer Sciences


Theme: Health, Safety, and Wellness
Length: 16 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 8
Title: Nutrition and Health Claims

Students observe and note nutrition and health claims made on a variety of food packages for different types of food items. Students will arrange the foods from most healthy to least healthy based on the claims made on the packages. Students will research the meanings for nutrient or health claims as defined by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Then, students will decide whether they would like to rearrange the order of the foods based on their understanding of the definitions. Discuss the usefulness of nutrient and health claims found on food packaging.

Students recreate a favorite snack food in a more healthful form.


Theme: Sustainability
Length: 9 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Product Lifecycles(Packaging Decisions)

Students will identify a commonly used household item and investigate the full product lifecycle. They will include the source of the materials used to make the product, the useable life of the product, and ways the product can be safely recycled or repurposed for a new use. Students will discuss the impacts on community resources from initial creation to disposal.

Sustainability refers to the rate of use of resources such that consumption can continue without damaging the environment. Students will examine the resources they use, how they use them, and ways to conserve and preserve resources for future generations.  This lesson explores packaging decisions based on sustainability criterion.


Theme: Financial and Consumer Literacy
Length: 18 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 6-8
Title: Personal Finance Fair

Students plan and conduct a service learning (or FCCLA) project to provide a Personal Finance Fair for school families. Participants who attend the fair will gain information from the student presenters to help prepare them for their financial future. Service Learning Projects will develop by researching and collecting information from high school students, parents, faculty members, and local representatives from financial institutions and community agencies.


Theme: Health, Safety, and Wellness
Length: 6 days; 60 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Design Your Own Bedroom

Students develop floor plans for a space, such as a bedroom, living room, or family room. Once the floor plans are complete, provide the groups with a scenario describing the family who will use the room. In each scenario, include family members who would need special considerations in floor planning (e.g., a toddler, a person using a walker or wheelchair, a person with limited vision, etc.) Students evaluate the original floor plans for safety and make recommendations for adjustments based on the scenario.


Theme: Problem Solving and Innovation
Length: 9 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Prototype Toys

Students will learn to identify safe and appropriate toys for children in different  developmental stages. Small groups of students will design and create prototypes of toys that are safe and that are appropriate for children in various developmental stages. Students will test the prototypes with children, gather feedback, and revise designs based on the feedback.


Theme: Problem Solving and Innovation
Length: 9 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Tiny Houses

Students research the concept of tiny houses to develop a list of common features of tiny houses. In small groups, design tiny houses that incorporate the generated list of features using graph paper or design software. Participate in a gallery walk to analyze and critique designs of classmates, designating design elements they admire and proposing alternatives for areas of concern.

Technology Education


Theme: Communication and Interpersonal Relationships
Length: 11 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Robot Winter Olympics

Students write a computer program for a given task, such as navigating a robot through a maze or slalom course. In groups, students develop a basic algorithm or program design to plan a program that includes a sequence of events and decision making. Students write the prototype code to complete the task based on their plan and document the program components. Students test and optimize the program.

Develop a basic website that advertises a new product or technological innovation. Include pictures and text that identify the features of the product or innovation. Create links to different pages on the website and to outside links where the user can learn more.


Theme: Career and Community Opportunities
Length:  7 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Career Poster

Students research an occupation in STEM- or STEAM-related fields. Students identify and report on the training, education, skills, and aptitudes necessary to enter a chosen occupation along with the benefits of that occupation to self and society. Products include a poster, a presentation, slides, or a web page.


Theme: Financial and Consumer Literacy
Length:  16 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 6-8
Title: Recycling Systems

Students develop a recycling program for the school that identifies the costs and benefits of recycled materials. Students identify a system for separating and sorting the materials and evaluate the value of the relative materials, including deposits on drink containers or selling scrap metals. Students will evaluate the costs associated with recycling including storage, transporting, and disposal of materials that could be recycled but are not.


Theme: Sustainability
Length:  10 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7
Title: Marble Mini-Golf Design Challenge

Students develop a product for production that can be produced from recycled or sustainable materials. Students develop working drawings, a production plan, materials lists, and a list of required tools. The class forms a production line based on the production plan, focusing on how production waste can be reduced or eliminated. Students plan the lifecycle of the new product through manufacture, sale, use, and disposal. Consider products such as bird feeders, plant starting containers, puzzles, home aides, or organizational products.


Theme: Problem Solving and innovation
Length:  11 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Birds in Our Backyard

Students identify a problem that requires a designed solution such as a new product that can be made from recycled materials. Students develop a problem statement, constraints and parameters, and proposed solutions. Students develop a model or prototype for testing and optimization, record the process, and present results. Examples of design problems could include a structure, a household item, a planting container, or others.


Theme: Career and Community Opportunities
Length:  14 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 8
Title: Entrepreneurship

Each student researches and interviews a first-generation small business to inquire about the evolution of the company: how it began, what has changed, and how the owner used problem-solving to improve the business. Examples of businesses include a local retail store, a private contractor, a craftsman, a manufacturer, or a service provider. Students report the findings through a poster, written report, or presentation.

Trade and Technical Education


Theme: Career and Community Opportunities
Length:  7 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 8
Title: Local Employer Panel

Invite a panel of local trade and technical business leaders to class. Ask panelists to share the worker competencies and technical skills they look for in new employees. Students take notes as panelists describe the primary goals of their businesses and the major expectations they have of their employees. Students use their notes to create "Help Wanted Ads" showing the worker traits most desired by local employers.


Theme: Problem Solving and Innovation
Length:  6 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 7-8
Title: Personal First Aid Kits

Students work in pairs to identify the most common injuries for a specific trade area; pairs share their lists. As a class, students will brainstorm a set of items that could be kept in a first aid kit that would help workers respond immediately to common trade-specific injuries. Students collect needed items and create personal first aid kits to keep at their workstation, desk, or locker.


Theme: Financial and Consumer Literacy
Length:  12 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 5-8
Title: Costs of Measuring Mistakes

Students work in pairs to identify the most common measurement tasks required in a specific trade area; pairs share their lists. Students research the financial costs of wasted time and materials when inaccurate measurements are made in completing the tasks on their lists. Students write a reflection on how consumers are impacted when inaccurate measurements result in wasted resources.


Theme: Sustainability
Length:  8 days; 40 minute periods
Grade: 6-8
Title: Measuring Tree Age

Students take a walking trip around the school property to identify trees that they consider to be old. Students determine the ages of the trees without cutting them by using the diameter at breast height (DBH) measurement and an online tree age calculator. Students promote the maintenance of trees for community aesthetics, health, and economy.