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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: Nuclear Power Quiz Show

Type: Assignment
Subjects: Science
Grades: Grades 9-10
Duration: 2 to 4 lessons
Purpose: To explain how nuclear reactors work, to examine issues surrounding nuclear power
Summary: Students will write questions for, and participate in, a quiz show based on information about nuclear power.

Before Exploring

Describe briefly how electricity is generated. Define the terms turbine, generator, and mechanical source of energy. Draw a simple schematic of a reactor core along with the primary, secondary (and perhaps tertiary) cooling loops. Label and describe briefly the terms fission, chain reaction, control rods, moderator, fuel, containment vessel, pumps, heat exchanger, and water source. Discuss in simple terms the process of a slow neutron being absorbed by uranium, causing the atom to fission. Draw a sequence illustrating a chain reaction to show why a reaction involving nuclear fuel proceeds at a rapid rate.

Outline the Opportunity

Students will examine the clips titled "Canada and the atom", "The 'National Research Universal...'", and "First Candu reactor powers Canadian..." on the topic Candu: The Canadian Nuclear Reactor on the CBC Digital Archives website to gather questions and answers that they can use for a class quiz show about nuclear power. Working in groups, students will collect as many questions and answers as they can. Divide students into groups of four and select one student to be the questioner. Set up a competition schedule so that two teams compete against each other, answering questions created by other teams. You can either play one round per day or hold simultaneous competitions, eventually pitting two semi-finalist teams against each other.

Revisit and Reflect

Following the quiz show, ask students:

What do you think was effective about learning about nuclear power this way?

What kinds of information can you not learn about nuclear power this way?

Do you think Canada should use nuclear power?

Do you think Canada should build Candu reactors for other countries to use nuclear power?

Have them explain their thinking and, if they wish, browse the site further to be able to better support their opinion.


Students can write a speech either for or against using nuclear power and present it to the class as part of a mock forum on alternative energy use.

Have the students browse the clips again and look for any information that is more opinion oriented. In an open class discussion, debate the consequences of our promotion of the Candu reactor, both at home and abroad. Students can then submit a short essay stating their opinion on the topic for evaluation.