Lesson Plan on the Chernobyl Accident

Teacher: Kimberly Murray Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level: 5  Date: March 24, 2003

Sunshine State Standards: SS.A.1.2.1     Strand A: Time, Continuity, and Change

Standard 1: The student understands historical chronology and the historical perspective.

Benchmark 2.1: The student understands how individuals, ideas, decisions, and events can influence history.  

I.                   Content: I want my students to understand that the Chernobyl Accident of 1986 (located in Ukraine, Soviet Union) was caused by a poorly developed experiment in a nuclear power plant that caused many civilians' lives to be impacted in Ukraine, Europe, and Asian areas.  

II.                Prerequisites: The students should be able to explain the purpose of a nuclear power plant and determine the health effects (both long and short term) that radioactivity causes to people when exposed to it. In addition, the students should know where the Soviet Union, Europe, and Asia are located on a world map.   

III.             Instructional Objective: When requested the students will describe what the Chernobyl Accident was and the impact that it had on the areas and civilians of Ukraine, Europe, and Asia.  The studentís description must include at least the following:

        The Chernobyl Accident occurred in a nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union that developed a poor experiment.

        The experiment exploded causing radioactive emissions to release into the atmosphere.

        The radioactivity that was released effected areas and civilians of Ukraine, Europe, and Asia.

        The release of the radioactive emission caused many deaths, in addition to some long-term effects, such as cancer and radiation-induced illnesses. 

IV.              Instructional Procedures:

Lesson Initiating activity:   The lesson will begin with a review of the following definitions: nuclear power plant and radioactivity.  The students need to understand what the purpose of a nuclear power plant is.  The students will also give examples of what the health risks are if a person is exposed to radioactivity.  In addition, we will review the world map and point out the areas that we will be discussing: (Ukraine) Soviet Union, Europe, and Asia.    

Core Activity. Next, the teacher will discuss the events that led up to the Chernobyl accident and the results of this accident.                

        In the early morning of April 26, 1986 workers in a nuclear power plant located in Ukraine, Soviet Union were conducting an experiment. 

        This experiment was poorly designed; therefore, it led to an explosion causing radioactive material to be released in the atmosphere. 

        The radioactive cloud that was released traveled for 15 days throughout the Soviet Union, Europe, and Asia. 

        150,000 people had to evacuate from Ukraine and Byelorussia (point to on map) because this area was heavily contaminated.

        There were 32 immediate deaths following the radioactive emissions.  In addition, long term effects included radiation-induced illnesses and cancer deaths. 

        This event caused people world-wide to recognize the dangers of being exposed to radioactive emissions. 

    Closure Activity: The teacher will design a chart on the board consisting of the 

    following three areas:

    ∑        What led up to the Chernobyl Accident?

    ∑        What happened to the people of Ukraine, Europe, and Asia because of this accident?

    ∑        What effects did the radioactive emissions have on these civilians?

The teacher will also hand a copy of the chart to everyone in the class.  The teacher will then allow them to work in small groups to fill in the answers.  After the students are finished we will complete the chart on the board to reinforce the correct answers and the events of the Chernobyl Accident.  

ESOL considerations:  The teacher will provide visuals of a nuclear power plant.  In addition, when speaking I will reference to the areas on the map by pointing to them and writing them on the board.  When the students are working in groups at the end (if possible) I will partner an ESOL student with another student that speaks his or her native language along with English.  

V.                 Materials and Equipment

        ∑        Visuals of a nuclear power plant

        ∑        Map of the world

        ∑        Chart for students (to fill in during the closure activity)  

VI.              Assessment: The teacher will give the class a test in which the students will have to describe what the Chernobyl Accident was and the impact that it had on the areas and civilians of the Ukraine, Europe, and Asia.

Answers must include at least the following:

        The Chernobyl Accident occurred in a nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union that developed a poor experiment.

        The experiment exploded causing radioactive emissions to release into the atmosphere.

        The radioactivity that was released effected areas and civilians of Ukraine, Europe, and Asia.

        The release of the radioactive emission caused many deaths, in addition to some long-term effects, such as cancer and radiation-induced illnesses. 

VII.           Follow-up Activities: Students will be given 8-10 days to research about other ways in which humans can be exposed to radioactivity and some ways that are helpful in preventing exposure and damage. 

VIII.        Self-Assessment: I will know if the students succeeded in learning the material by correcting their tests on the description of the Chernobyl Accident.  I will be looking for the specific criteria stated in both the objective and the assessment. 

        Did the lesson go smoothly?

        Did the desired objective get accomplished?

        Are the students excited about what they learned and the research that they will be conducting?

        Did the students meet at least the minimum requirements that the assessment criteria asked for?

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