Encourage Critical Thinking and Career Exploration with Classroom Resources and a New Virtual Field Trip from Navigating Nuclear 

Contributed by Corey Orr, Science Enrichment Teacher at Eastbrook Middle School in Whitfield County, Georgia 

Designed to increase understanding of nuclear energy and nuclear technology applications,?Navigating Nuclear?provides educators with the tools to dig deeper into the role of nuclear science in fields like power generation, medicine, space exploration, food preservation, molecular science, and more. Standards-aligned curriculum for middle and high school students includes STEM project starters, digital lesson plans, nuclear industry career profiles, and an exciting new Virtual Field Trip premiering on February 18th! 

Read below as I explore a few of my favorite resources to introduce students to the growing field of nuclear energy and the many different pathways to career success for students to consider.  

The digital lesson bundles and STEM project starters provide students with real-world examples of the uses of nuclear power, while helping them examine misconceptions about nuclear science. The middle school Nuclear Energy digital lesson bundle includes tools and visuals that allow educators to talk students through all of the power alternatives and to ultimately evaluate the benefits of nuclear power.  In the companion STEM Project Starters for middle school, students have the opportunity to create a model of a nuclear power plant and demonstrate their learning by explaining the transformation of energy and calculating energy losses of the plant.  This type of project-based learning allows students a glimpse into the work of scientists in the field of nuclear energy, sparking curiosity that can drive them toward future career paths. 

Resources for high school students take this project-based learning a step further as students explore all the parts of the atom and even have an opportunity to build their own!  The exercises also encourage collaboration and communication as students work in pairs or small groups to use the periodic table to demonstrate their knowledge of key symbols related to various chemical species. 

The Navigating Nuclear site also includes several specific career profiles for the nuclear science industry.  In this section of the site, students are introduced to individuals who work in nuclear science as a nuclear researcher, mechanical engineer and radiochemist.  The in-depth profiles provide detailed information on the jobs, but also more personal information from each featured professional that give students insight into why the selected the path and what they enjoy most about their position. These types of insights are invaluable as students begin to consider career paths and start exploring their passions. 

I am really looking forward to the premiere of the new Navigating Nuclear Virtual Field Trip, Nuclear Reimaginedon February 18th.  This new experience will take students behind the scenes to meet professionals at the Idaho National Laboratory and explore unexpected careers in nuclear science, from engineers to glassblowers.  Students will also discover the role nuclear science plays in shaping the future, from creating clean energy to powering the Mars rover.  This is definitely a “don’t miss” event!  Register today to begin integrating nuclear science content in your classroom!  

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