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ERIC Number: EJ1190539
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0263-5143
The Effects of a University Research Reactor's Outreach Program on Students' Attitudes and Knowledge about Nuclear Radiation
Brown, Katrina
Research in Science & Technological Education, v36 n4 p484-498 2018
Background: Many students carry negative beliefs about nuclear radiation and have concerns regarding the safety of nuclear power. However, most of these students have not had any personal or educational experiences with nuclear radiation or reactors on which to form these opinions. Purpose: To examine the influence that a visit to a nuclear reactor could have upon students', the impact of a reactor's outreach program on students' attitudes toward nuclear power and their scientific knowledge about nuclear radiation and reactors was explored. Program description: The students in this study visited a research and teaching reactor on a university campus. Instructed by reactor staff, they participated in a series of hands-on activities that explored and explained ionizing radiation, and they toured the reactor facilities. Sample: The subjects were 32 students, 13-14 years of age, from a rural area of the United States. Design and methods: The students were surveyed before and after the program using open-ended and Likert scale items, and were asked to complete a nuclear science version of the Draw-A-Scientist-Test. Results: The findings indicate that the students' attitudes toward nuclear radiation and nuclear power became more positive and judicious after visiting the reactor, and there was a corresponding increase in student knowledge about nuclear reactors and nuclear radiation. Before the program, some of the students carried common scientific misconceptions about nuclear power and nuclear radiation, and the outreach was successful in challenging those misconceptions if they were directly addressed. Conclusions: Increased instruction on the topics of nuclear radiation and reactors led students to have views on these topics that were more knowledgeable and discriminating. The results imply that outreach programs at reactors can be valuable in terms of educating students and developing their attitudes toward nuclear power and nuclear radiation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania