Critical Mass: Lessons on gender, race and nuclear weapons.

Critical Mass is ‘a resource that enables students to develop a critical consciousness and understand real people’s lived experience, identity, diversity and the global issues that impact on us all.‘ – Independent reviewer, Teach Secondary Magazine

Our free, brand-new teaching pack, Critical Mass offers teachers 5 lessons themed around gender, identity and nuclear issues with which to teach social issues and peace all at once! The pack combines CND Peace Education’s active learning focus with exciting case studies and visual materials, with the aim of using nuclear weapons examples to get students reflecting on their own identity and position in today’s divided society. By learning from diverse contexts and different times, students are able to get a sense of what ‘global citizenship’ means to them, informed by activities around gender, race, and marginality.

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Suitable for Years 7-13, and adaptable to Primary level, the lessons in the pack include:

  • Strength and Security: what does it mean to be ‘strong’, how is this gendered, and how do we see this played out in nuclear negotiations?
    • Case Studies: USA and North Korea; India and Pakistan; the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
    • Subject links: Government and Politics, Citizenship, PSHE/SMSC.


  • Greenham Common: investigating how language and identity can strengthen (or weaken) a movement.
    • Case Study: Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, UK (early 1980’s).
    • Subject Links: Drama, English Language, Sociology, History, Government and Politics, Citizenship.


  • Survival and Art: students creatively interpret the testimony of atomic bomb survivors, and look at Japanese survivors’ own artwork.
    • Case Study: ‘Hibakusha’ people of Japan and East Asia (1945-present).
    • Subject Links: Art & Design, Photography, History, Citizenship.


  • Uranium Mining: a case-study for Geography of an under-examined resource – uranium – where the class stage a ‘community meeting’ about the future of their township.
    • Case Study: Ranger Uranium Mine, Northern Australia.
    • Subject Links: Geography, Geology.


  • Philosophy for Children, Colleges and Communities (P4C): several stimuli and tips for facilitating a philosophical inquiry in the classroom.
    • Subject Links: Philosophy, English Language, Religious Education, PSHE/SMSC.


You can read more about the workshops on offer here.


Photo: Henry Kenyon