NH #589: “Cool” Nuclear History Education for Kids – Prof. Yuki Miyamoto, Aiko Kojima Hibino

Nuclear History Education for Kids

Jessica Kibblewhite, a sixth grade social science teacher at Chicago’s National Teachers Academy, works with her students using a new curriculum that explores the ethics of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
Photo Courtesy of Aiko Kojima Hibino

This Week’s Featured Interview:

Illinois has become the first state in the nation to mandate the teaching of Asian American History for grades K-12. The intent is to combat hate crimes and racial discrimination against Asian Americans, which grew exponentially during the Covid 19 pandemic. As nuclear plays a major part in any understanding Japan’s history – the atomic bombs being dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the use of nuclear energy and the 2011 Fukushima triple meltdown nuclear disaster – a nuclear curriculum is crucial to teach Nuclear History Education.

How fortunate, then, that today’s guests created such a curriculum for 6th graders that was used as a pilot project in Spring of 2022 – and that it’s available for any teachers, anywhere, to incorporate into their classrooms as of the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Hiroshima-born Dr. Yuki Miyamoto is a second generation Hibakusha – daughter of an atomic bomb survivor.  Her mother was in Hiroshima one mile from the epicenter of the bombing, yet survived it with what seemed like little physical damage… though other truths later emerged.  She is a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, where she introduces a new generation of young people to the hard truths about the atomic bombing and its continuing impact on survivors – especially  women – their children, grandchildren, and beyond. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and teaches nuclear discourse and environmental ethics at DePaul.
  • Aiko Kojima Hibino – is a strong advocate for equitable public education. She serves as a board member of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, the nonprofit that engages, informs, and empowers parents to protect and strengthen public education for all children in Chicago and Illinois, eliminate inequities in public schools, and work at the grassroots for the public good that is public education. Aiko will start teaching “Nuclear Problems and Society” course for first-year college students starting in 2023.
  • The two school teachers who worked with Yuki and Aiko on how to teach the material to children are social science teacher Jessica Kibblewhite and science teacher Laura Gluckman, both 6th grade teachers at the National Teachers Academy in Chicago.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Discarded copies of John Hershey’s book HIROSHIMA tossed in the dumpster at Senn High School in Chicago –
the photo that inspired the nuclear history curriculum in Illinois.

Nuclear Hotseat Hot Story with Linda Pentz Gunter

Hurricane Ian caused devastation in Florida last week. Yet one 100% solar-powered town modeled exactly the path we must take — renewables not nuclear — as it survived Ian virtually unscathed, reports Linda Pentz Gunter in this week’s Hot Story.