Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 5-8, students explore cool science careers by using an online game to take on the role of a scientists in the fields of Neuropsychology, Toxicology, Epidemiology, and Neurobiology. Students will select the career that most interests them and conduct additional research to learn more about the field.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Virtually explore the jobs of scientists in the fields of Neuropsychology, Toxicology, Epidemiology, and Neurobiology.
  2. Select a science career that interests them and research it.


  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP


This lesson plan uses a free online game from Rice University called Cool Science Careers: Imagine Yourself. We recommend previewing the game as well as the scavenger-hunt style worksheets that can be used to help students reflect on their game play learning.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students to work with a partner to brainstorm various careers in the science field.
  2. Introduce the Cool Science Careers: Imagine Yourself game. Explain that students will explore the field of Neuropsychology, Toxicology, Epidemiology, or Neurobiology. If students have some background knowledge of these professions, they may want to jump right in. You can also have them visit the Rice University Cool Science Careers game page and click "Profession Pathfinder" if they're not sure where to begin. The Profession Pathfinder consists of 21 questions to help students find a career in science that matches their interests.
  3. Provide time for students to explore at least one career choice. You can allot time over multiple days if needed, or ask students to continue game play at home. Provide copies of the student worksheets if desired.
  4. Which career were students most interested in? Why? You may want to have students complete a reflection worksheet for the career they like best.
  5. From the Rice University Cool Science Careers game page, have students click on "Zoom In" to explore the educational requirements for their favorite science career and read interviews from real people who work in the field. Then have them click on "My Science Career Pick" and vote on their favorite career, and see how others voted!
  6. Have students generate a list of questions they'd like to ask scientists who work in the field they are interested in (whether it's a field mentioned in the game or not.) Click on "Ask a Scientist" from the Rice University page to see if any of the questions have been answered, and discuss the responses together.
  7. Ask students how they think they could find the answers to the rest of their questions. Encourage students to use internet research skills to learn more about the career, and even reach out to scientists and conduct their own interviews.