Lesson Plan: Nuclear Waste

In this lesson, students learn about the complexities associated with nuclear waste disposal.

Author: Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally has partnered with EcoRise to bring you comprehensive, hands-on lessons focused on waste and recycling for grades K-12. This nuclear waste lesson will challenge your students to weigh the positives and negatives of nuclear energy. Access the free lesson plan by clicking on the link below!




Lesson 4.3: It’s Hazardous!


In this lesson written for grades 5-6, students investigate a particularly difficult type of waste to manage: nuclear waste. Nuclear power provides many people around the world with a relatively cheap source of electricity with much less air pollution than electricity generated from fossil fuels. Where to store nuclear wastes, however, is not an easy issue to solve. Students explore the complexities of this controversial global issue by reviewing some basic facts, conducting a simulation, and then discussing their thoughts and feelings. They have opportunities in this lesson to build an understanding of how one type of system—nuclear energy—is built to support humans. They also begin thinking about priorities in creating systems to support human civilizations now and for future generations. Students are also challenged to think about how their personal actions contribute to the need for energy and how sustainable thought could create new solutions.


Estimated time needed: 50 minutes


All lessons are mapped to CCSS, NGSS, EFS, and TEKS standards.




Students will be able to…

  • List advantages of nuclear energy.
  • List disadvantages of nuclear waste.
  • Explain some of the complexities associated with nuclear waste disposal.


How to Access the Free Lesson Plan


  • Click the link “Get Lesson Plan” below.
  • Select “I am a new user,” then enter your email address in the Username field.
  • Enter your full name and then check the “I agree” box.
  • Click on “Enroll in Course.”
  • Check your email for a link to set your password.

Ready to explore another challenging waste stream with your students? Check out our e-waste lesson plan.

Get Lesson Plan
Was this useful?

Learn More

Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally is a free K-12 program that provides rewards and tools to help enhance recycling at your school!

Explore now

Additional Resources

Our comprehensive library of resources was designed to inspire the next generation of green leaders.

Explore now