Activity Spotlight: Running a Primary School ITF Activity

Engage and inspire primary students

Schools industry Partnership

Career stereotypes and aspirational struggles begin as early as ages 5 or 6 and can shape and inform our young people as they grow from children to teenagers to adults. Inspiring the Future also enables Primary School teachers to broaden their children’s horizons and raise their career aspirations through interaction and activities with ITF volunteers. The most popular event run in Primary Schools throughout the UK is a ‘What’s My Line?’ event. This activity enables interaction and engagement between students and visitors, negating the risk of primary students getting bored with long talks or discussion.

How does a ‘What’s My Line?’ activity work?

A ‘What’s My Line?’ activity involves volunteers standing or sitting in front of a primary student audience each holding a number. The intention of the game is for the audience to guess each volunteer’s job. Volunteers from different jobs and fields line up on stage holding a large number. These volunteers are initially only introduced by their number, and can only answer yes or no to the questions asked.

Students in the audience then ask questions such as ‘Do you work with people’ or ‘Do you wear a uniform?’, but cannot ask straight questions like ‘Are you a zoo-keeper?’. To help the activity run smoothly, it’s helpful to brainstorm questions with your students before the activity, so they have some ideas of what to ask when the time comes.

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    After a time of questions, volunteers leave to put on their ‘work uniform’ or grab a prop that helps illustrate their job, helping the students guess their jobs. During this time students can guess what they think the jobs are! Record these so they can be shared afterwards when the volunteers come back in. When volunteers are reintroduced the guesses can be shared and the real jobs revealed! Encourage volunteers to briefly share about their job and something from Primary School that has helped them do what they do now. If you’d like a focus on maths, literacy or something else – make sure to discuss this with the volunteers!

    The activity length is open for you to decide, but around 20 minutes has been quite successful elsewhere, with 10 minutes for question time and 10 minutes for guessing volunteer jobs and sharing.

    Other Primary Activity Ideas

     The uses for volunteers in Primary Schools or classrooms are limitless between the creativity of the teacher and the willingness of the volunteer! Take a look at some case studies from Primary Futures in the UK to get inspiration for how you could involve ITF volunteers with your students.

    UK Case Studies

    Bernadette Hunter, Headteacher of William Shrewsbury Primary School

    Beverley Derrett, Headteacher of Tattingstone Church of England Primary School

    Lucinda Abel, Teacher at Oakfield Primary Academy

    Madolyn Bartlett, Teacher at Parklands Primary School

    Primary Futures with the Department for Transport

    A numeracy themed Primary Futures activity

    Want to see ‘What’s My Line?’ in action? Watch this video!

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