Featured Outreach from Student Sections

Check out outreach ideas from fellow student sections below! Click the links to download full descriptions of the events.

Has your section had a successful outreach activity they would like to share? Contact us to share your efforts. Be sure to include pictures.

Featured Event: PWR Reloading Game

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Student Section

How to Play the Game

The LED glow sticks turn on and off. If it is off, it is “fresh” fuel, and if it is on it is “spent” fuel. Three colors are provided (red, blue and green). The colors can be used to portray several enrichment zones to play the loading pattern game. They can also be ignored if the game is just a refueling race.

With one demo:
Option 1) Time yourself! How fast can you remove the spent fuel and replace it with fresh fuel without dropping any?
Option 2) Use the colors to simulate a loading pattern, and refuel the core to match a loading pattern card!

With two demos:
Race against each other! Who can remove the spent fuel and replace it with fresh fuel the fastest? Remember, if you drop one of the fuel rods, it’s game over!

Supplies needed:

The hardware for the reactor core was built by the MIT machine shop, part of the schematic is can be found here.  However, a cheap alternative would be to create  the grid with cardboard by cutting out the holes.


Start with a core that has a randomly assorted scheme and several empty spots. Let the player choose a loading pattern from the cards. The player needs to match the loading pattern by rearranging the in-core rods and bringing in new rods as necessary. The game can be modified by turning some of the flashlights on (“spent fuel”) and some off (“fresh fuel”), and having the player do a fuel reload with all fresh fuel.

The instructor should explain why we use different enrichment (represented by the colors), what a typical loading pattern really looks like (over 50 fuel assemblies, higher enrichment outside, lower enrichment inside), that nuclear fuel typically glows blue, regardless of the enrichment, and that refueling occurs underwater with remote controls just like the extension arms that the player is using.

Nuclear Science Week Booth
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

The ANS University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign Student Section set up a booth on the quad on October 18 to offer prizes for a nuclear trivia game and sell hot chocolate as a fundraiser. “So many people stopped by our booth just for some hot chocolate or to play a game, and we were able to have them leave with a more informed view of nuclear,” said Isabella Iaccino, the section’s outreach chair. “It was a great opportunity for the student body of the University of Illinois to ask tons of questions, as well as for some of the newer members of our student chapter to learn to answer and advocate for nuclear science.” The students made 3D-printed cooling towers to give out as prizes, along with Nuclear Science Week stickers, to those who answered trivia questions.

U-235 Fission Game
University of Florida
Students are taught about criticality with the help of Nerf guns and a spinning “reactor” board

Nuclear Science Week Tabling
Oregon State University

The ANS Oregon State University Student Section hosted a table session at Oregon State University’s Student Experience Center Plaza to coincide with Nuclear Science Week. This tabling provided an opportunity for the general public to learn more about nuclear science and technology, nuclear power and dispel misconceptions about the nuclear power industry. This session discussed other uses for nuclear science such medicine, agriculture, and anthropology. This event helped volunteering students from the club improve their public speaking skills to audiences that may not be familiar with the technical aspects of nuclear engineering, radiation detection, or radiation health physics.

Mousetrap Fission “Reactor”
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

A demonstration on the fission chain reaction using mousetraps and ping pong balls