This past week, I had the privilege of participating in the Nuclear Technology Workshop for Teachers in Charlotte, N.C. The all-day event was part of the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC)/North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) Public Information Day, and it had a great turnout-about 50 area science teachers were in attendance.
The workshop was an excellent experience in collaboration, and included NA-YGN members from all over the country.
Here, Jana Thames (on the right in purple) of Southern Company explains radioactive half-life using M&M's! Yum.
The Nuclear Energy Institute's Elizabeth McAndrew-Benavides (on the far left) works with several brave teachers to act out a fission reaction using a clapping routine. Talk about making learning fun!
The event wrapped up with an incredibly informative careers panel, which highlighted the vast opportunities in the nuclear industry, ranging from technical jobs like welding and construction, to human resources, communications, engineering, management, and research & development. The teachers were especially surprised to learn that as much as 40 percent of the nuclear industry workforce is expected to retire within the next five years, which means more and more job opportunities for their students as they graduate.
Jana Thames, Kristine Madden, and Adam Bingham share information about the variety of jobs available in the nuclear industry. I am on the far right next to the fuel rods (!), as panel moderator. Additional panel members not pictured: Adam LeRoy, Steve Hensel, Morgan Davis, and Tim Rogers.
The Teacher's Workshop was a great success, and I wanted to share with you the slides and information used. Here is a link to the "Nuclear 101" slides that were used, as well as additional public outreach materials courtesy of NA-YGN.
A big thanks to all who volunteered and attended the workshop! And lastly, to answer the age-old question, "Do 'nukes' know how to dance?"-Yes! Yes, they do! In fact, they are quite fabulous on the dance floor!
The American Nuclear Society also conducts teacher workshops in nuclear science and technology throughout the year and throughout the United States. See this link for an ANS Nuclear Cafe article and video that previewed a recent teacher workshop in Chicago, Ill., for more information. See the upcoming teacher workshop schedule for dates and locations (soon to include Saturday, November 10, in San Diego, Calif., in conjunction with the ANS Winter Meeting).
Suzy Hobbs Baker is the executive director of PopAtomic Studios, a nonprofit organization that conducts educational outreach through the Nuclear Literacy Project. Baker is an ANS member and a frequent contributor to ANS Nuclear Cafe.