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Database Provider

Author

Khan Academy

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Science, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Videos, 7 minutes, 19 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus

Global

Nuclear Power Generation

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Synopsis
  • This video explains how nuclear power plants generate electricity using nuclear fission. 
  • Students will learn that nuclear power plants do not release greenhouse gases, but they do produce radioactive waste that is difficult to store. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video provides complex information in easy-to-understand terms.
  • Diagrams, photographs, and drawings illustrate the concepts in the video.
  • There is a full transcript with a highlight feature so students can easily follow along with the speaker.

Additional Prerequisites

  • You can assign the video and quiz if you sign in and connect it to your online classroom.
  • Students should already be familiar with the parts and structure of an atom, and the periodic table.
  • There are standards for AP Environmental Science classes listed.

Differentiation

  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with history classes by researching radioactive waste disposal in the oceans. Students could compare primary documents with more recent secondary documents to see how people's opinions change when they learn new things. 
  • Chemistry or physical science classes could use this video as a discussion starter on nuclear fission or isotopes. Students could work in groups to develop an equation that shows what happens when a neutron is fired at uranium-235. Students could present their equations to the class and explain how they work. 
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on processing uranium into nuclear fuel, this podcast episode on the feasibility of using nuclear power, and this Vox video on why nuclear power plants are shutting down.
Scientist Notes
This 7-minute video presents an overview of nuclear energy and nuclear power production. It is well presented and includes a fair amount of detail, while remaining clear and informative. This resource is 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.
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 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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