Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mousetraps and Ping-Pong Balls: Explaining Nuclear Power to the Media

With Suzie Wiley and Derrick Shull, after my appearance on Talk of the Town  at WYAM TV-51, in Decatur, Alabama.  As always, they made me feel so welcome.  On the show we talked about Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works!  I explained how mousetraps and Ping-Pong balls factor into my school presentations.

I had the honor of being a guest on the show several years ago to discuss my children’s picture book about cancer.  After today’s show Derrick shared with me how he had given his mother a breast cancer survivor, a copy of  Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had read it to her students so they would understand what she went through.  He was so appreciative.  It's moments like this that keep me motivated!

I’ve had a lot of “moments like this” this week.  Check out:

Call to Action: Educate and Encourage Students about Nuclear Science posted on the ANS Nuclear Cafe,  by Bethany Cargle, Marketing Specialist for RCS Nuclear Corporation.

Apex, NC, March 20, 2012 —“Do power plants really use mouse traps and Ping-Pong balls?” Just one of the questions students who celebrated National Engineers Week got answered by attending the school presentation of  Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! sponsored by RCS Nuclear Corporation.

Amelia Frahm, author of the children’s picture book, described a fission chain reaction using a metaphor of Ping-Pong balls and mouse traps in order to help children understand how energy is produced in a nuclear power plant. RCS Nuclear donated Frahm’s book to Charlotte, North Carolina elementary schools and sponsored the author reading.

As a supplier of nuclear and related engineering personnel, RCS Nuclear likes to encourage young students to become engineers. “These students are the future for industries we supply engineers to, and it is the company’s responsibility to prepare them now,” said Carlos Garcia, founder of RCS Nuclear.

Since its release in December, Frahm’s children’s book explaining nuclear power plants and the related school presentation she has implemented have been used by corporations like RCS Nuclear to focus attention on National Engineers Week, and by schools like Van Vleck Elementary in Van Vleck, Texas who used the program to kick off National Nuclear Science Week. Frahm’s school presentations helped celebrate in a manner that grasped the attention of elementary and intermediate students.

“I try to engage children using concepts they understand and find entertaining, like when I ask what Chubby does on his day off, he goes fission,” said Frahm.

In attendance at Frahm’s Steele Creek Elementary book reading in Charlotte were five sessions of 50 students; in total, approximately 250 fourth and fifth graders. Prior to the reading, the students were asked if they knew what nuclear engineers did or how nuclear energy was created. Students could not give an answer; however, they listened carefully as they learned how a nuclear plant works from the point of view of a lab rat, a blue bird, and a fat cat, who are characters in the book. Then they laughed as they enjoyed a video created by the author, which demonstrated the mouse trap and Ping-Pong ball fission chain reaction.

More information about Frahm's school program and contact information to schedule an author book reading may be found on the link School Programs at

Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! costs $9.95 and is available from the publisher,  Barnes & Noble bookstores, online at, and at other bookstores.

About RCS Nuclear Corporation

RCS Nuclear is a Trade Name for RCS Corporation. Ranked the #1 Fastest Growing New Small Business in America by Entrepreneurmagazine, Since 1994, RCS Corporation has provides Professional Staffing Services to the Nuclear and Energy Industries throughout the United States and Internationally.

About Nutcracker Publishing Company

Nutcracker Publishing Company was founded in 2001. The company publishes children's books that educate, entertain, and make it easier to establish a dialogue between children and adults about difficult subjects such as cancer and nuclear power. Information on educational programs for schools and other organizations can be found at the company’s website. Nutcracker Publishing Company is based in North Carolina.