Franklin High School
Elk Grove, CA
Japan’s Nuclear Energy Program
1. World History (10th grade)
2. World Geography (9th grade)
Elk Grove Unified and California Teaching Standards
1. World History Standard #9: The students will analyze international developments
in the post-World War II world
2. World Geography Standard #6: The students will understand geographic
distribution, types of resources, and the value of resources to everyday living
Japan is currently at the forefront of developing nuclear energy while trying to fight
global warming. This lesson will ask students to compare and contrast Japan’s nuclear
program with that of other developed nations (France, Russia, USA, etc.) in order to
better understand the benefits and risks of nuclear energy.
1. understand the pros and cons of nuclear energy
2. develop vocabulary dealing with nuclear energy
3. use Level Two (who, what, why) questions in order to think critically
4. understand why Japan (the only nation in the world to be the victim of a nuclear
attack) constructed nuclear power plants
5. compare and contrast Japan’s nuclear energy program with that of at least one
other developed nation
1. Student discussion of Level Two questions derived from readings and PowerPoint
2. Timed writing on the pros and cons of nuclear energy
3. Venn Diagram comparing Japan and one other developed nation’s nuclear energy
1. Why would a nation that was a victim of nuclear attacks develop nuclear energy?
2. Is nuclear energy safe?
3. What would be the world’s reaction if Japan developed nuclear weapons?
4. What are the environmental risks of a nuclear energy program?
5. Should any nation be allowed to develop a nuclear energy program?
2. LCD Projector
3. Overhead Projector
4. PowerPoint on Japan’s Nuclear Program
1. Students will have developed related vocabulary (Nonproliferation Treaty, fission,
nuclear reactor, uranium processing, etc.)
2. Students will have read articles, videos, or been exposed to PowerPoint’s about
nuclear energy programs in other nations (Russia, China, USA, France, South
3. Students will have discussed the benefits (low energy costs, no air pollution, no
use of fossil fuels, etc) versus the risks (meltdowns such as Three Mile Island
and Chernobyl, expensive start up costs, terrorist attack, storage of spent fuel,
1. Warm Up Questions and Discussion
a. What are the risks and benefits of nuclear energy?
b. Why would a country that suffered nuclear attacks develop a nuclear energy
2. Interactive viewing of PowerPoint on Japan’s Nuclear Energy Program. Students
will take notes and respond to the teacher’s questions
3. Students will debrief with Leveled Questions (1,2,3, and 4)
a. Level One Question: Must be answered from the notes, text, etc.
Example: When did Japan build its first nuclear power plant?
b. Level Two Question: Pondering, under the surface, inquiry, etc.
Example: What would happen if Japan converted its nuclear energy
program to build nuclear weapons?
c. Level Three Question: Universal, personal view, etc.
Example: Would you work at a nuclear power plant?
d. Level Four Question: Across history, major patterns, etc.
Example: How has nuclear energy changed with new technology?
1. Students will work in pairs to complete a Venn Diagram comparing and
contrasting Japan’s nuclear energy program with that of a another developed
2. Class Debate. Students will be divided into pro and con and develop
arguments for or against the use of nuclear energy around the world