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Author

Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 15 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global

Format

YouTube Video

Fusion Power Explained - Future or Failure

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Synopsis
  • This video explains the possible advantages of producing fusion energy and the obstacles that scientists face as they work to develop fusion reactors. 
  • Students will learn about the process of fusion, which occurs naturally in the sun and other stars. 
  • The video also explains that while scientists have successfully achieved fusion on Earth, the reactors are not viable because they use more energy than they produce and they require isotopes of hydrogen or helium that are not readily available.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Though it covers a large amount of material in a short time, the video is easy to understand. 
  • The video offers multiple comparisons between fusion and other types of energy sources.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with terms such as isotope, thermonuclear, and plasma. 
  • Students should have a basic understanding of the parts of an atom. 
  • There may be an ad before the video and the last 30 seconds are an advertisement.

Differentiation

  • Chemistry classes could discuss why hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, can be used to create a fusion reaction that produces energy without many harmful byproducts. 
  • Physics classes could compare and contrast magnetic confinement and inertial confinement. 
  • Science classes could research the feasibility of harvesting tritium from the moon as compared to other solutions such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, and tidal power generation. 
  • Other resources on our clean energy solutions include Renewable Energy: Clean Tech SolutionsClean Energy, and How Renewables Work: A Practical Guide to Solar, Wind, and Geothermal
Scientist Notes
This video adequately represents the feasibility (and lack thereof) of fusion power. It highlights the complexities and it states that it is unproven and (as of yet) unattainable as a power source. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe
      • HS-ESS1-1 Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-5 Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
      • HS-PS1-8 Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.
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