Career and technical education (CTE) are classes that offer students opportunities to focus their education based on their future career interests. CTE classes are a major program in most high schools and have so much value in preparing students for their future once they graduate. CTE classes vary based on states, districts, and schools but the focus remains the same: provide career awareness so students can be prepared for the real world. CTE classes can be anything from culinary classes and technology classes to automobile engineering classes. Both CTE and STEM provide students with hands-on learning, allowing students to be as creative as they want and providing a foundation for the future success of students. Much like peanut butter and jelly, CTE, and STEM go together with the focus of student success! Here are five lesson ideas for STEM and CTE collaboration in your classroom or makerspace.

Create a CTE Reading Corner

In your library or classroom, set up a CTE reading corner. In this corner, provide different STEM books for a variety of careers that students can go into in the future. This is a super simple thing to put together and is great for elementary through high school. At the high school level, you can include information about technical schools or colleges that will prepare them for a specific career.

Girl reading with idea

Explore CTE in Your Makerspace

In makerspaces, provide activities that encourage STEM. This could be robotics, where students build and program small robots individually or as a group to build a robot using a kit. You can also explore engineering where students build structures. With makerspace activities, students can explore STEM in a safe space and since most of STEM has a focus on future CTE career courses, you will be able to encourage CTE as well. Through makerspaces, you will be able to prepare students for CTE careers and courses as young as kindergarten.

Try Video Production

A big part of CTE is video production. You can teach students to use video production to showcase work and move away from paper projects. Video production helps students build 21st-century skills like creativity, teamwork, and technical literacy, while also showcasing the STEM requirements behind their favorite movies, shows, or video games.

Greenscreen video production

Expose Students to Agriculture

Through agriculture, you can teach CTE and STEM. You can set up a school community garden, place plants in the windows, utilize a greenhouse, or develop library programming events where students can learn about and care for plants. Through these programs, students can learn what plants need to survive, making this a great life science, biology, or environmental science lessons. These programs are versatile for kids from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Magnus Greenhouse Cart

Bring in the Community

Another thing that I love to do is invite people in the community to come and talk to the students about their different careers and how they got where they were. I love to have a variety of careers that all fall under different STEM categories so students can relate their STEM learnings back to real-world careers.

CTE Hub Logo


For more information on career and technical education, visit the STEM Supplies CTE Hub!