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In this STEM exercise, students consider the pros and cons of using nuclear power. Tools provided to support their inquiry include a detailed article with embedded videos, current data, case studies and links to additional information that support both sides of the argument. Guiding questions and graphic organizers help students analyze and consolidate what they have learned and take a position on the use of nuclear energy.
Teachers are provided with substantial background on the issue, suggestions on how to organize the lesson and a number of ideas for extending the learning.
The resource includes an activity designed to teach questioning skills as well as a number of graphic organizers to encourage and support critical thinking.
This lesson will be of particular interest to science teachers looking to have students examine the science/physics of nuclear energy through a sustainability lens.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
As the title suggests, students consider both sides of this argument. One of the suggested activities requires students to consider the perspectives on nuclear power from different stakeholders.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
The interplay of the economy, society and environment and how it influences both sides of the argument is an underlying theme of the lesson.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
While the video tools alone offer an effective introduction to nuclear energy, the total package of core and supplementary information will provide students with a solid understanding of the technology and its impacts.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Acting on learning is not required in this lesson.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
|Values Education||Very Good|
The guiding questions provided in the teaching suggestions will require students to identify and express their own values.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
This criterion is not addressed in the lesson.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Satisfactory|
Both sides of the nuclear energy argument presented in the information for students address 'impacts on the natural world'.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Nuclear energy in Canada is highlighted in the lesson and students are asked to consider its impacts in the context of their own communities. Also, the attention given to how the nuclear industry has been portrayed in the media will resonate with most students.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
Nuclear energy's past, present and future are reflected in the learning tools provided to students.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The information provided to students is current, factual and balanced. Students are not steered towards one side of the nuclear energy debate or the other.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
While the content of the lesson will address outcomes in science, the questioning and critical thinking skills it promotes are certainly transferable to other subject areas.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Using the tools and suggestions provided, students investigate the pros and cons of nuclear energy and form their own positions.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Students gather information by watching, reading/researching, responding to questions, discussing, and expressing their views.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Experiential learning opportunities have not been included.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Some group work is suggested. Cooperative learning strategies are not explicitly taught.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
The resource encourages using 'exit slips' for self evaluation and provides a link to suggestions for their use.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching||Poor/Not considered|
Peer teaching is not promoted in this design.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Several case studies are highlighted in the information provided to students.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
There are few opportunities for students to control content or medium.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|