Career Explorations: Integrated Curriculum Unit on Law and Justice Careers

In this unit, students will investigate the varied career opportunities available within the law and justice field. They will conduct research on possible career paths and investigate the skills needed for each one. This unit will also give students an opportunity to learn about typical activities in various jobs and help them identify potential careers that match their interests, strengths, and goals. In addition, students will explore the broader social and economic impact of their career choices, while reviewing the history of various law and justice visionaries and their significance to the field.

In Subunit 1, students will be introduced to the field of law and justice through a survey of the many, often hidden, careers that exist within this industry sector. They will investigate what is necessary to get accepted into and pay for college, which opens the opportunity to pursue many law and justice careers. In one lesson, students analyze the grades they need to earn in high school to increase the likelihood of getting accepting into the University of California or California State University systems. Next, they will calculate the amount of debt that a typical college student will accrue in loans, including interest, in order to have the undergraduate degree necessary to start a career. Subunit 1 will conclude with an introduction to the research process that continues throughout the unit.

In Subunit 2, students will identify and investigate several careers that interest them. They will begin by conducting a self-analysis of their interests, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Using a variety of career resources, students will then identify individual careers and/or career sectors that match their interests and compile detailed information about these careers. In this subunit, students will also learn about many influential law and justice visionaries and the impact they have made on society.

In Subunit 3, after concluding their research, students will analyze the benefits and drawbacks of their career choices. This comparison will include an analysis of projected earnings compared with financial and time outlays for education and training. Students will report on their work in a formal research paper and present their findings to their peers in an oral presentation.

Culminating Event

Several culminating events are appropriate for this unit. For example, students could hold a job fair for the school to share what they have learned about conducting education and career planning and about law and justice career opportunities. Another possibility would be to have students summarize their research in one-page, career-specific informational pamphlets and compile a class resource binder for future students to use. Students could also be encouraged to make a personal connection with a professional in the career of their choice, do a “job shadow” or interview, and write- up results of their experience. Alternatively, the unit’s research paper on a prominent law and justice figure could lead to a series of presentations that would serve as the culminating event.


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