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ANS Launches Nationwide Nuclear Science Curriculum

Initiative supports educators in meeting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by helping today's students understand the role of atomic science, technology and innovation in our modern world

The American Nuclear Society (ANS) and Discovery Education today announced the launch of Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World™, a new partnership designed to educate today’s students about the important role of nuclear science in the modern world. Reviewed by a national panel of independent educators and nuclear science experts, Navigating Nuclear guides students to examine the ways nuclear energy powers our world from multiple perspectives and explores current, real-world applications of nuclear processes. Aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Navigating Nuclear encourages students to explore applications of atomic science including energy, medicine, geology and astronomy. The program aims to help students explore current, real-world applications of atomic energy and its role in future advancements.

“The American Nuclear Society is excited to collaborate with Discovery Education in creating this curriculum,” said ANS President Dr. John E. Kelly, who recently retired from the Office of Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, as Chief Technology Officer. “Our members are passionate about promoting awareness and understanding of nuclear science and technology. Navigating Nuclear brings educators and students curriculum that has been vetted by engineers, scientists and other professionals who are experts in a wide range of nuclear fields.”

Available to any teacher and designed to empower educators with tools to enhance students’ understanding of the role nuclear science plays in the fields of power generation, medicine, space exploration, food preservation and molecular science – Navigating Nuclear provides dynamic digital lessons, STEM project starters, and career profiles. An upcoming immersive Virtual Field Trip, which debuts during Nuclear Science Week this fall, will go behind-the-scenes at Arizona’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the largest power plant in the United States.

“My class and I are looking forward to Navigating Nuclear as it will give us real-time access to STEM professionals and demonstrates first-hand the real-world applications of our classroom lessons,” said Jessica Donaldson, Pre-engineering Teacher, Berkeley County School District, Moncks Corner, S.C. “I hope to introduce my students to some of many STEM career paths that are in their reach and open their eyes to the role science plays in our everyday world.”

Navigating Nuclear: Exploring Our World will explore topics such as:

  • How energy is stored in the nucleus
  • Fission and fusion
  • Naturally occurring and human-made radiation
  • How reactors produce electricity
  • Reactors of the future

“Empowering students to explore anabolic principals, as they hone their research abilities and study of scientific breakthroughs, will ultimately help improve lives,” said Sukesh Aghara, Ph.D., associate professor of chemical engineering, Francis College of Engineering. “I’m proud to join ANS and Discovery Education to engage in insightful conversations about STEM, and help students match their skills and interests to exciting new opportunities in nuclear science.”  

In addition to the digital learning tools, the program’s careers module will expose students to nuclear science-related occupations. Navigating Nuclear’s Virtual Field Trip will explore how nuclear technologies are generating electrical power, and producing carbon-free energy across the nation and around the world. Overall, the initiative seeks to empower teachers to discuss a range of topics, from how energy is stored in an atom's nucleus to how that energy transforms into the electricity that powers our lives.

Empowering students with hands-on learning opportunities inspires a life-long commitment to solution-seeking and unlocks the potential of a new generation of young scientists,” said Stacie Kronthal, vice president of corporate education partnerships, Discovery Education. “As many states now require nuclear science education as part of the NGSS guidelines, this initiative empowers educators with immersive digital tools and virtual experiences that encourage the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills."

Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World resources are available at, and are also available through Discovery Education Streaming and Science Techbook. For more information about Discovery Education’s digital content and professional development services, visit Stay connected with Discovery Education on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DiscoveryEd.

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