A is for Atom

Instructional Goal: The purpose of this lesson would be to illustrate the power of government propaganda techniques in order to push a preferred agenda. The lesson will do this discussing the Atomic Bomb from a skewed perspective.

Target Students: This session would be a great lesson to be used in any high school classroom that discussed history or ethics.

Lesson context: This session would serve as the interaction lesson to a unit that covers US Atomic history in the post-WWII era.

Lesson delivery: The current format of the lesson makes it ideal for virtual instruction. However, it can be easily restructured into a lesson which involves getting up in the class and making your way from station to station.

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5 Replies to “A is for Atom”

  1. So this is a tough post because I think we’re talking about two separate issues in it. For me, nuclear power means something very different than nuclear weapons. So this feels a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

    That said I think the video is very interesting, and maybe comparing that with an anti nuclear post would be a good way of showing how differently the concept of nuclear power can be portrayed depending on who is giving the information

    1. I agree they are apples and oranges – but that’s part of the duality of the atomic era. Curious that now that fossil fuels are on the way out, some are reviving the atomic power plant. But much smaller and “supposedly” safer ones.

  2. Interesting juxtaposition of two views of atomic power. I really enjoyed the video as an artifact of its time. The style and delivery were so childlike, especially when you consider the magnitude of the content. All the elements living in little houses that mimicked the properties of the element. Such a product of it’s time – for example – all male scientists.

    Having grown up in that era I can relate to the mixed messages we got about the atom. We had an atomic power plant not far from Rochester and it was first heralded as a blessing. That was before we realized it was a potential threat. Especially dealing with the waste. Interesting the film mentioned the Hanford Site. Up river from Portland. They still can figure out how to decommission it and it’s filled with deadly radioactive material.

    I wonder what the mushroom cloud means to students? To me I see destruction. Would an image of what it did to the Japanese cities be useful?

    1. Growing up living in Richland (where the Hanford site is) I have a really conflicted view of nuclear power. In theory it IS safe, and when done properly it is incredibly efficient and very effective. But the Hanford site was built back in the 1930s, before we had as much information or technology regarding how to safely handle material. Now it’s dealing with both the dangerous waste material as well as the massive cuts to the department of energy. It’s complicated…

      1. I always thought the French were smarter about this. All their plants are identical. More reliable than our patchwork approach?

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