Nuclear Power Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this lesson plan to teach your students about nuclear power. A video lesson explains nuclear energy along with health and safety concerns, then students use this information to weigh the pros and cons of nuclear energy in an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'nuclear energy'
  • explain the health risks and safety concerns involved in using nuclear energy
  • discuss waste disposal methods of nuclear waste


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.9

Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.


Key Vocabulary

  • Nuclear fission
  • Uranium
  • Isotopes
  • Control rods
  • Meltdown
  • Radiation sickness
  • Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Ask students to imagine that your town is slated to get a nuclear power plant. Do students think this is a good or bad idea? Why?
  • Divide students into small groups and allow them to debate the power plant in your town, then discuss ideas as a whole class. What do students know about nuclear power? Why do they want or not want it close to their homes? Where have they gotten prior knowledge?
  • Ask students to consider the nuclear power plant proposal from three angles: economic, environmental and social/health. What are the pros and cons they know of?
  • Tell students they will learn about nuclear energy and return to this debate.

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