1. After students enter the classroom, begin showing
a slide show of pictures from ten years after the Chernobyl
accident. These can be found on the website labeled pictures
under related and resource websites. There are about
20 photographs to view. The first few are of the city
of Pripyat, just miles away from the reactor. Ask the
students to gather information from the slides to assess
what happened at this site. Many students may think this
is the site of war.
2. The next photographs are images of children in a cancer
clinic in the Ukraine. See if these images change any
opinions on where the images are from. Students should
continue to add information gathered from the slides.
3. The last few images show areas that are no longer
inhabitable because of radiation. These are important
pictures as they show how long lasting the effects of
a meltdown can be. Continue to ask students for their
opinions and thoughts about these pictures. Ask students
to explain what happened here using the information from
the slides. If they have not figured out where they are
from yet, then let them know they are from the Chernobyl
power plant accident.
4. Hopefully, the discussion will lead to questions about
what happened at Chernobyl. Many students may know there
was a nuclear reactor accident, but what went wrong?
Could this happen again? The website labeled sequence
of events provides a good description of what happened
to cause the accident. This could be viewed with computer
access, or distributed as a handout. Go through the sequence
of events with the students and try to show why things
went wrong. Although students should be made aware of
the potential risks of nuclear power, they should also
know there are reactors all over the US and the world
that operate safely providing much of our electricity.
They should realize that a lot of things went wrong on
the day of the Chernobyl accident.
5. About 10 minutes should be allowed for closure. If
there is more than 10 minutes remaining, allow students
some time on their own to look at some of the other websites
mentioned. Ask them to focus on finding what the effects
of radiation exposure are.
Ask students to respond to a few questions on a half
sheet of paper before they leave.
1. Do you think this kind of accident could happen
2. If this kind of accident doesn’t happen, then
how safe do you think nuclear power is?
3. Describe what might happen if this type of accident
occurred somewhere nearby…
4. What are some effects of radiation sickness?
Class discussion at the beginning can
act as a pre-assessment. Responses to questions: the
fourth question is particularly important because it
will demonstrate whether or not students met the second
None needed, unless the discussion
went long enough to not allow time for students to look
up additional information. If so, students should be
required to research radiation sickness on their own.