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ANS Expands Nuclear Science Curriculum to High School

New curriculum brings fact-based nuclear science content to high school teachers and students this fall

ANS has added high school curriculum to Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World™, which is now available to educators. Navigating Nuclear is a nuclear science educational program that launched in 2018 beginning with middle school resources and was created by the ANS Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information in conjunction with Discovery Education™. It is the first widely available program of its kind in the country. The high school curriculum is funded by and developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Nuclear Energy, as is the elementary school curriculum to be launched in 2020.

“The difference between this curriculum and others is the professional expertise of ANS. Our members are involved in nuclear science and technology every day. They are the professionals actually making advances in nuclear science and technology. For example, a lesson on reactors of the future was reviewed by nuclear professionals designing and testing those very reactors,” said Eric Loewen, ANS Past President; and Chief Consulting Engineer of Advanced Nuclear Plants, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. “ANS is contributing the most up-to-date information and research on nuclear science, nuclear energy, and their applications. Discovery Education turns that information into engaging curriculum resources.”

Navigating Nuclear high school resources will be rolled out over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, beginning with the launch of two lesson plans during Nuclear Science Week. The first two lessons cover radioactive decay and nuclear energy production. Additional resources that will be added include two lesson plans, STEM project starters, and a digital lesson bundle. An online Virtual Field Trip (VFT) will also debut February 18, during Engineers Week. The VFT will be a behind-the-scenes look at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory, the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development.

With the new high school curriculum, students will take a deeper dive into the nuclear science topics introduced in the middle school curriculum. While the middle school curriculum introduces students to background radiation, the high school curriculum explains how radioactive elements decay. Other lessons and resources will cover reactor technology, nuclear batteries, uses of cosmic radiation, and more.

“DOE is excited to be part of the Navigating Nuclear curriculum. Teaching about the science behind nuclear will educate the next generation about what nuclear energy can contribute to our world today and into the future,” said Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary, DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. “Education is essential to realizing the promise that nuclear technology can provide in areas such as clean energy, electric vehicles, hydrogen production, medical applications, food safety and water desalination.”

All Navigating Nuclear resources are available to educators and the public at no cost on, and are also available through Discovery Education’s Streaming and Science Techbook services. Since the launch of the middle school resources in 2018, approximately 14,000 classrooms and more than 474,000 students will have had access to the curriculum.

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