STEM Classroom Toolkits


”When you tell people you make stars for a living, their heads turn and their mouths open.”

The Lesson

The video features Dr Kim Cave-Ayland who is a control engineer at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

At CCFE they use a tokomak to create a plasma hot enough to fuse hydrogen. They are working to create a safe, low-pollution power source that could change the world forever.

Fusion takes place in the centre of stars across the universe. The Making stars resource contains curriculum linked activities on nuclear fusion, binding energy, radioactivity and the hot CNO cycle in stars. The CNO cycle is the predominant fusion process in stars larger than the Sun. The main activity involves students in the classroom mapping out a real-time hot CNO fusion cycle on the classroom floor.

What is Provided

Both a student sheet is provided, and a set of hand-picked resources.

Curriculum links

Curriculum links include: nuclear particles (neutrons, protons and alpha particles), nuclear isotopes, beta decay and half-life, alpha decay, fusion reactions and fusion energy, the statistical nature of beta decay and half-life, stars, energy generation in stars, and stellar explosions, catalytic processes in general.

SUBJECT(S) Careers, Engineering, Science, Physics
AGE 16-19

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These teaching parts were developed in partnership with STEM Learning.

STEM Learning Ltd operates the National STEM Learning Centre and Network; providing support locally, through Science Learning Partnerships across England, and partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; alongside a range of other projects supporting STEM education.