Making Links – The Biology of Chernobyl

In my upcoming book, there is a section on the importance of making links between areas of the curriculum, both to allow students see science not just as a list of facts but also to help interleave and space out students learning (check out Shaun Allison’s excellent post for a good outline on this).

Here is a great example to bring together Physics and Biology topics together as well as linking to science in the news.

The starting point for this lesson comes from the research outlined in this Guardian Science article about how wildlife has thrived in Chernobyl in the decades since the disaster.

This lesson would fit in really nicely after teaching nuclear fission and how it is controlled in a nuclear power plant (see my lesson on the TES website).

Starter – use a think pair share to help students to think independently about the idea.

Chernobyl Think Pair Share

Chernobyl Think Pair Share

Following on from this provide students with the data and get them to suggest reasons to explain the evidence (suggest is the command word in exams which catches students out the most).

Chernobyl Data

Chernobyl Data

Differentiation ideas:

  • For more able students provide them with the scientific paper
  • For students who need more structure, provide with additional questions – What has happened to the Elk population?  What about the Roe Deer?  Does it seem if the radiation has affected there numbers?  Why might this be?

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