Mar 10, 2021

Curriculum Insider: Deep Dive Into The Middle School Prepare for Success Unit

Teachers using NGPF's Middle School course teach more than the tangible financial skills and concepts their students need to thrive - they also develop key mindsets and habits for school and career success!


One of its most unique units, Prepare for Success is the 8th of 9 Units in NGPF's Middle School Course. Through the course of the Unit, middle school students learn:

  1. What skills are necessary to successfully transition from middle to high school [MS-8.1 Preparing For High School]
  2. How to create persuasive resumes that showcases their skills, informal work experience, and formal work experience [MS-8.2 Resumes]
  3. The intangible but invaluable skills and habits that make successful people... successful [MS-8.3 Soft Skills]
  4. How to plan, practice, and ace a great first meeting with someone who can help their futures [MS-8.4 First Impressions]
  5. How prepare for - and execute - compelling interviews from start to finish [MS-8.5 Interviewing Skills]


Today, we dive into each of the Middle School Prepare for Success Unit's lessons to spotlight resources that are particularly stellar from each. Read on below!

MS 8.1 - Preparing for High School


This quick hypothetical situation asks students to open up about what they look for in teammates. As an interesting Virtual Adaptation (which would also work in person), you could follow this initial discussion question with a Nearpod Collaborate Board or Padlet in which students identify and group the common traits their classmates are seeking in teammates. 

MS 8.2 - Resumes


Without context, if you asked most middle school students about their formal work experience, you'd probably get some puzzled looks. Yet many middle schoolers already have a wealth of informal work experience they can showcase on their resumes as they seek their first formal employment opportunities in the coming years. Anything from babysitting, lawn mowing, snow shoveling, pet sitting, and even content creation (students can be so adept with tools like Youtube and TikTok...) can highlight their ambition, organization, and communication skills. This resume sample from The Balance illustrates the concept of informal work beautifully. Of course, NGPF's Student Activity Packet for this lesson also includes reflection questions to help students analyze this resume... and apply what they learn to their own resume!


MS 8.3 - Soft Skills


In this teacher-led "rotation station" activity, small groups of students switch between stations featuring six of the real world's most desired soft skills: (1) Enthusiasm / Attitude, (2) Communication, (3) Professionalism, (4) Critical Thinking, (5) Networking, and (6) Communication. Each station features a short video clip from the Bureau of Labor's "Skills To Pay The Bills" Youtube Series about the soft skill.

To apply the soft skill from each station, students then roleplay age-appropriate scenarios in which each skill is absolutely crucial. Students learn by doing!

MS 8.4 - First Impressions


Featuring graphics from, this multi-stage practice activity helps students practice "3 skills - identifying how to dress for success, drafting an elevator pitch, and filling out a sample job application," per the Teacher Lesson Guide. The following graphic is a sample from the activity showcasing common looks in the "business casual" category. You'll notice the link above takes you to the Student Activity Packet for this lesson. To find the Teacher Lesson Guide to set up this activity for your students: head to your answer key spreadsheet, find the Middle School Course, and navigate to MS 8.4 - First Impressions.


MS 8.5 - Interviewing Skills


This MOVE Activity is also known as a "Inner Circle / Outer Circle" Discussion. One inner circle of students stays stationary while one outer circle of students (the other half of the class) rotates chair-by-chair to answer 10 of the most commonly asked job interview questions. Then, switch! 

We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into 5 resources from the 5 unique lessons in NGPF's Middle School Preparing for Success Unit. To explore full Middle School Units, Lesson Plans, and more, check out NGPF's FREE 9-Week Middle School Personal Finance Course and FREE Middle School Nearpod Collection!

About the Authors

Sonia Dalal

Sonia has always been passionate about instruction and improving students' learning experiences. She's come a long way since her days as a first grader, when she would "teach" music and read to her very attentive stuffed animals after school. Since then, she has taught students as a K-12 tutor, worked in several EdTech startups in the Bay Area, and completed her Ed.M in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about bringing the high quality personal finance content and instruction she wished she'd received in school to the next generation of students and educators. When she isn't crafting lesson guides or working with teachers, Sonia loves to spend her time singing, being outdoors, and adventuring with family and friends!

Christian Sherrill

Former teacher, forever financial education nerd. As NGPF's Director of Growth & Advocacy, Christian is laser-focused on our mission to guarantee all students a rigorous personal finance course before crossing the high school graduation stage. Having paid down over $40k in student loans in the span of 3 years - while living in the Bay Area on an entry level teacher's salary - he's eager to help the next generation avoid financial pitfalls one semester at a time.

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