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Author

Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 10 minutes, 42 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global

Format

YouTube Video

Do We Need Nuclear Energy to Stop Climate Change?

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Synopsis
  • This video shows the benefits and disadvantages of using nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. Nuclear power plants produce low emission electricity and can help eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels until better renewable energy solutions are in place. 
  • Students will learn that many nuclear power plants in the Western world are old and have fallen into disrepair. Countries that invest in new nuclear technology build better nuclear power plants for a lower cost. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The colorful animation and easy-to-understand narration will keep students engaged.
  • The video shows how different countries use nuclear power.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video content ends at 9:03. The rest of the video is an advertisement.
  • The latter part of the video opines that using nuclear energy is a good thing to do.

Differentiation

  • Social studies or civics classes could discuss policies, public service campaigns, incentives, or other methods for investing in clean energy.
  • Science and engineering classes could identify a nuclear power plant in the United States using this energy infrastructure map and research when the plant was built, how it is being maintained, and how much energy the plant produces. Students could then research newer nuclear plants and compare the statistics.
  • Other resources on this topic include this interactive data tool that shows which countries use nuclear energy, this video on how nuclear energy works, and this Vox video on why nuclear power plants are shutting down.
Scientist Notes
The resource provides a detailed explanation of coal divestment and the transition to clean energy. It gives insights into energy consumption from both renewable and nonrenewable sources. Nuclear energy is considered a better option than fossil fuel to complement renewable sources to meet the global energy demand. This resource is insightful and recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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