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History/Science - General

Lesson Plan: The Chernobyl Disaster

Details of the Lesson

This lesson is designed for high school students studying history or science. It will cover the events leading up to and following the explosion of a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. The lesson will be delivered over two class periods, each lasting 50 minutes.

Learning Outcomes

  • Know the causes and consequences of the Chernobyl disaster
  • Understand the science behind nuclear reactors and radiation
  • Can analyze primary sources to draw conclusions about the disaster


The lesson will begin with a brief lecture on the science of nuclear reactors and radiation. Students will then work in pairs to read and analyze primary sources related to the Chernobyl disaster, including news articles, government reports, and personal accounts. After analyzing the sources, students will participate in a class discussion to share their findings and draw conclusions about the causes and consequences of the disaster.

Resources/Materials Required

  • Primary sources related to the Chernobyl disaster
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Projector and screen
  • Handouts with discussion questions


  1. Lecture on the science of nuclear reactors and radiation (10 minutes)
  2. Pair work to analyze primary sources (30 minutes)
  3. Class discussion to share findings and draw conclusions (30 minutes)
  4. Wrap-up and reflection (10 minutes)


Assessment will be based on participation in the class discussion and a written reflection on the lesson.

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14 months ago
This lesson plan complies with the Common Core State Standards for History/Social Studies and the Next Generation Science Standards.

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