Nuclear Power Plant Dilemma


A Web Quest for Sixth Grade Students



Pam Manbeck



| Introduction | Task | Process | Resources | Evaluation | Conclusion | Teacher Notes |




YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! You and your team members are asked to head a special local government committee which will decide the fate of a nuclear power plant to be built in your community next year. Although its disadvantages may seem very clear, it does have some advantages over other energy sources. Your community members are unsure of the pros and cons of nuclear energy. They are depending on you to educate the community on this matter by gathering vital information to present at next month's city council meeting. Imagine how this facility may affect you and your neighbors!

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You now consist of a team of five investigators encouraged by your city council to gather information supporting or discouraging the building of a nuclear power facility. Your objectives consist of the following:

Good luck! You may hold the key to the future of your community!

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The accidents at the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear power plants have placed negative images in the minds of many people. Many people have failed to realize the positive influences nuclear power may have. Other fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, used to produce energy are being used up rapidly. Also the burning of these fossil fuels is harmful to the atmosphere. Not only is nuclear fuel plentiful and not as costly, it does not pollute our air. Your team must decide if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Listed are the steps that will help guide you in your search for the answers.

Step 1:

Each person in your team is to select one of the following roles:

 Team Leader
Internet Researcher Library Researcher
Poster Creator


Step 2:

Once each team member has selected their role, you are to research the pros and cons of nuclear power. You may use the references listed or any other sources that may help you. Make sure you apply skills learned during your Library Skills lessons when researching on the Internet or in texts.

Step 3:

Once you have gotten adequate research, discuss your findings and negotiate a side you would like to defend at the city council meeting.

Step 4:

Begin organizing your research and prepare an oral presentation in which all team members have an active role. Your presentation should not exceed 20 minutes and fall short of 10 minutes.

Step 5:

A "Top 10 List" stating the ten most compelling reasons to support you side needs to be created. Click here to view requirements your list needs to contain.

Step 6:

Practice, practice, practice your oral presentation. Your Top 10 List will guide you during your presentation.

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Environmental Benefits
Nuclear Energy Touted As Emission Free
Is Nuclear Power Poised For A U.S. Revival?
Y2K Countdown Could Mean Nuke Reactor Shutdowns
Why NECNP Opposes Nuclear Power
Pathways to Destruction
Miscellaneous Nuclear Information
Environmental Effects of Nuclear Power
Nuclear Age Timeline
Nuclear Energy Q & A
More on Three Mile Island
Nuclear Energy Basics
 Web Search Engines and Tips
The Internet Sleuth
Web Tips For Children
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Click here to see how your oral presentation will be scored.

Click here to see how your "Top 10 List" will be scored.

Click here to complete self and peer evaluations.

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 Congratulations! You are now a nuclear specialist! Upon completing this webquest, you will have learned the following:

  • how nuclear energy is produced through fission
  • evaluation of pros and cons of nuclear energy
  • environmental impact of nuclear power
  • comparisons of other energy sources
  • organization of various resources in order to create a persuasive oral presentation

After completion of this web quest you may want to complete any of the following enrichment activities:

  • create a three dimensional model of a nuclear reactor
  • visit Three Mile Island and prepare a summary of what you learned to report back to your classmates
  • make a map of the United States (or the World) and label the location of various power plants
  • write a story about a time when a fictitious power plant's reactor had a meltdown and the affects it had on the townspeople

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Teacher Notes:

This webquest was designed for 6th grade students. Before completing this activity, students should have background knowledge of matter and its components. They should also be familiar with the process of fission, radioactive elements, and the make up of a nuclear reactor and a nuclear power plant. Through this webquest students will be exposed to various environmental issues while applying higher order thinking skills.

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