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As part of the NTEP program at Sandia (LASER), scientists and engineers took teachers through a process designed to familiarize them with how they look at and assess risk as part of their jobs. Teachers were able to analyze the role media and other information sources (e.g., industry Web pages on the Internet) manipulate information in order to persuade unwary readers. It is important for teachers to develop critical reading and thinking skills in students who will inhabit an information-rich world as a result of advances in technology where various competing interest groups are trying to influence their opinions and win their support.
Carrying out the defense programs (national security) mission at Sandia/California and other national laboratories is facilitated by public understanding of risk/benefit trade-offs of scientific and technical challenges facing this nation. Critical issues such as maintaining the weapon stockpile, shipping transuranic waste, and disposing of plutonium are best addressed in an atmosphere of public awareness and knowledge of not only the technical challenges but also of the decision-making process. This project will prepare students to understand this process and apply it to issues of relevance to them.
The online project begins by presenting four everyday activites and asking student if they consider them risky. The Website include the answers, yes, but the pages ARE NOT linked to the student Website. If you want your students to visit those Webbpages sometime during the project, you can bookmark the following pages for them (sorry the addresses are long!):Building Skills:
- Bike Riding - http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/sandia_mgb/student/bicycling.shtml
- Eating Peanut Butter - http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/sandia_mgb/student/peanutbutter.shtml
- Playing Soccer - http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/sandia_mgb/student/soccer.shtml
- Swimming - http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/sandia_mgb/student/swimming.shtml
Students analyze a sample risk analysis scenario based on the disposition of surplus nuclear materials to identify steps in a risk analysis. The Website asks students to have their teacher approve their plan which should follow this example. You will notice that the example has three iterations with cost analyses. For the most part, your students will need only one iteration. They should be sure to include the following steps:
- Identify collaborators (in the e-mail giving the assignment).
- Gather background information about the general problem.
- Develop alternative solutions.
- Gather information about solutions. Look online. Talk to experts and collaborators.
- Analyze the risk of each alternative.
- Eliminate risky alternatives.
- Find out how much the remaining alternatives will cost.
- Select the best alternative.
- Prepare a report justifying the recommendation.
Best Use of Technology:
Students will be using the Internet to research information on the risks associated with their chosen interests (e.g., from National Safety Council, Center for Disease Control, etc.). They may telecollaborate and share information with other students who are also working on this project.
Sandia/California scientists and engineers may serve as electronically-accessible mentors to all student teams and older students can mentor younger students. Findings from all teams will be posted on the Web.
To streamline classroom work, you may want to print out these pages in advance.
Britton, Mohr Elementary School, Pleasanton; Diana
Fong-Wedgwood, Edison Elementary School; Tim
Perrotta, Cesar Chavez Middle School, and Steven
Smith, Edison Elementary School.
Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.
Web Maintainer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: OCtober 10, 2000