There are two components to this:
1. a small group, paired, or individual activity in which students analyze different maps, graphs, and photos from the Aral Sea and
2. a 37-slide PowerPoint presentation with accompanying fill-in-the-blank notes. (The PowerPoint can be used without the notes.) The graphics file can be printed out or can be loaded onto tablets or computers for student use. (I've done it both ways. More detailed direction is provided with the material.)
The Graphics Analysis activity is something my students have enjoyed these past three years! I have them work in pairs or groups of three, because discussion helps them in their analysis. They receive 10 graphics and a paper with 2-3 questions for each graphic. This is their introduction to the Aral Sea, which leaves them rather shocked about what has happened to the sea. This takes a class period (50-minutes) to complete. An answer key is included.
After that activity, students are ready for the PowerPoint. It explains the decision of the Soviet Union to divert water from the Aral Sea to irrigate desert crops and shows the economic and environmental consequences. It also addresses the successes of the 2005 project of Kazakhstan to save the small northern part of the Aral Sea, building a dam with help from the World Bank. The last few slides address our own diversion of water from the Colorado River and the use of water from the Great Lakes for irrigation purposes.