Multiple Perspectives on the Three Gorges DamGrades 6-8 Economics, Environment/Nature, Geography, Science/Technology Lesson or Unit Plan
In this lesson, students will explore the pros and cons of the Three Gorges Dam, using classroom text and the attached websites. They will explore the effects of the dam on the Yangtze River, including displaced Chinese, flooded farmland, and renewable power. Students will walk away from this lesson with a comprehensive knowledge of how the Three Gorges Dam has affected China.
|Title:||Multiple Perspectives on the Three Gorges Dam|
|Subject Area:||Social Studies|
|Time Required:||Two 1-hour periods|
|Standards:||NCTE standard 7|
|Essential Question(s):||The impact of human actions on the environment can be complicated, affecting some people positively and some people negatively.|
|Introduction:||In this lesson, students will explore the pros and cons of the Three Gorges Dam, using classroom text and the attached websites. They will explore the effects of the dam on the Yangtze River, including displaced Chinese, flooded farmland, and renewable power. Students will walk away from this lesson with a comprehensive knowledge of how the Three Gorges Dam has affected China.
China’s Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydroelectric dam on the planet. It generates electricity, increases the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity, and reduces the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space in its reservoir.
However, this feat of engineering has also displaced over 1.3 million people and caused significant ecological changes. This lesson will provide students an opportunity to explore how the creation of the Three Gorges Dam has affected various stakeholders differently.
|Procedure/Pedagogical Technique/Instructional Strategy:||
On chart paper, fill in the Know section of the K-W-L Chart as a class. Students might only know that China is a country in Asia, that rivers flow downhill, and that dams stop water flow.
Show students the slide show of images taken from Wikipedia. This slideshow includes maps of the Yangtze River in China as well as the location of the Three Gorges Dam. Provide some general facts about the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam. Have students write down at least 5 facts that they learned from the slide show and your talk.Potential facts to include (source: Wikipedia)
Distribute the provided worksheet to students before they watch the video clip from the website How Stuff Works. It’s fast-paced, so they may need to watch it twice to answer the questions. http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/
Class discussion: Use the students’ responses to Question 4 of the Film Clip worksheet to fill in the second “Want to Learn” section of the K-W-L Chart.If you are dividing this lesson into two days, this is a good break point. For homework, students can define the key vocabulary terms.
For this activity, students work in pairs. Ideally, partners are at about the same reading level. Give each pair of students one copy of an article and two differently colored highlighters. Direct the students to read the articles together. Instruct one student to highlight all the arguments he or she can find in favor of the dam and the other student to highlight in a different color all the arguments against the dam. After students have finished highlighting their article, they can fill in a T-Chart of the arguments for and against the dam’s construction that they found in their articles.DifferentiationYou can pull a small group of strugglers or demonstrate high-lighting the pros and cons of the argument to the whole group using the Wikipedia paragraph provided.*
Grade level readers could be given “China Opens World’s Largest Dam” from PBS News Hour Extra.http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june03/dam_6-18.html*
Above grade level readers will be challenged by How Stuff Works’ “Why could China’s Three Gorges Dam cause an environmental disaster?”
Another option for advanced students is to provide the Chinese US Embassy’s Introduction to the Three Gorges Project. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zt/sxgc/t36502.htm
As a whole class, create a T- Chart of the arguments for and against the dam’s construction. Your Pro-Con T Chart might include:
As a whole class, have students brainstorm a list of the stakeholders in this controversy. Your list might include:
Assign (or allow students to choose) a particular stakeholder to consider. Have students write an essay about the Three Gorges Dam from the perspective of that particular stakeholder.
|Discussion Points/ GroupInteraction:|
|Assessment:||Students can be assessed on:
|Closure:||As a whole class, fill in the final (Learned) section of the K-W-L Chart. Then, discuss whether or not building the Three Gorges Dam was a positive thing for China.|
|Instructional Resources/ Materials:||For this exercise, teachers will need:
|Extending the Lesson / Follow-up Activity:||Students can write poems or songs from the point of view of one of the Three Gorges Dam stakeholders.
Students can debate whether construction should continue on the Xiluodu (second largest dam in China after the Three Gorges) in Yunnan Province. http://www.internationalrivers.org/china/jinsha-river/xiluodu-and-xiangjiaba-dam-lower-jinsha-river
Caterogy: Grades 6-8 Economics, Environment/Nature, Geography, Science/Technology Lesson or Unit Plan
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