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Lesson Plan 1: Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy

This is a sample of how a lesson on the pros and cons of nuclear energy might be presented, with suggested follow-ups.

Learning Objectives

Developing knowledge in pupils of
the natural and made worlds in which they live
the complex interdependence between the various types of system - physical, biological and societal - that make up the world
the potential of developments in science and/or technology to change the physical, social and cultural environment for good or ill

Developing skills of enquiry, analysis and communication:
being able to justify orally a personal opinion about a topical moral/political issue (S1/2)
being able to express, justify and defend a personal opinion about a topical political/moral issue (S3 - S6)
being able to research, discuss and share information about social, political and community issues
being able to contribute to debates and discussions in ways that are both assertive and respectful of others' contributions
ICT skills, including finding and handling information
the developing capacity to imagine alternative realities and futures that could benefit society and the environment

Will affect which items from the pack are used with the class and the level of the suggested activities (see below).

In advance of the lesson pin up Poster 1 in the classroom, hand out Factsheets 1 and 4 and give pupils web-site addresses you think will be useful. Perhaps also give them A4 copies of Poster 1.
Either (i) ask each member of the class, as a homework/pre-lesson exercise to consider the arguments for and against nuclear power in the factsheets, on the poster and on any web-sites they may visit, taking into account the sources of information and likely bias, and to come to the lesson prepared to argue the case for or against nuclear power, depending on which arguments have most convinced them (suitable for levels S3 - S6).
Or (ii) divide the class into two groups, one to argue in favour of nuclear power, the other one against and ask each member of the group to prepare a list of arguments drawn from the factsheets, poster and any web-sites visited (suitable for levels S1/S2).

Main Part
If using (i), establish at the beginning of the lesson which members of the class are prepared to argue in favour of nuclear energy, and which against. Make a note of the numbers on each side. Then choose members of the class to put the case for and against nuclear energy, backing their case up with examples. This could be structured, if wished, as a formal debate with proposers and seconders.

If using (ii), divide the class into the two pre-assigned groups. Each group should agree on the main arguments and examples they will use in presenting their case (each group to be asked to produce six - eight arguments).

If using (i) at the end of the presentation of the arguments take a whole class vote to see if any opinions have changed. Discuss why opinions have (or have not) been changed.

If using (ii) bring the class together to present the arguments. These could be listed in two columns on a whiteboard, or written on an OHP transparency etc. Whole class discussion could focus on identifying which is the strongest
and which the weakest argument on each side.

Mock campaign: scenario: a new nuclear power station is to be built in the area. Class to mount a mock campaign against it (or two groups, one campaigning against, one in support)

Media watch: class to collect instances of references to nuclear energy from newspapers, TV etc over, say, a month. Could be linked to practice in mock letter-writing, drawing on examples in Article 3c.

Resources Cross curricular links
Factsheets 1 and 4 Modern Studies
Poster 1 Geography Web-site list English
Other resources could include:
Articles 1, 3c, CND leaflet on nuclear energy


page last updated 31 May 2006


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