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


Science, Physics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 0 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Nuclear Fission

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  • This video from Cognito explains the basics of nuclear fission and presents the pros and cons to producing energy with nuclear reactors. 
  • Students will learn about chain reactions and how they can be controlled within a nuclear reactor. 
Teaching Tips


  • The slow pacing of this video will help students to grasp the material without feeling rushed.
  • Simple illustrations make the video very easy to follow.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video begins with an advertisement.
  • The video refers to "a nuclei" (0:10), which ought to be "a nucleus" since nuclei is the plural form of nucleus.
  • Students should be familiar with the terms nuclei, neutron, and turbine.


  • Physics classes could learn more about nuclear energy by listening to this podcast episode and watching this video.
  • Social studies, economics, or science classes could use this resource from Our World in Data to see how nuclear energy usage compares to fossil fuels and renewable energy. As an extension, students could compare the three types of energy based on cost, ease of production, and impact on the environment.
  • History classes could use this video to discuss the discovery of and subsequent uses for nuclear fission.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on nuclear fission and this interactive map that shows where in the world nuclear energy is being produced.
Scientist Notes
This resource introduces nuclear fission, its chain reaction, and the impact on the environment and public health. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • 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.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-8. Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.
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