Natural Resources: Design a Dam
NGSS 4 ESS3-1: Earth and Human Activities
Written and illustrated by Karen Ostlund and Sheryl Mercier.
In this series of activities/assessments students simulate what happens to the environment when a dam is constructed on a river. The first activity is designed to build background knowledge by having students color a diagram of a hydroelectric plant as each part is described. Then students read Science Notes describing how dams affect environments to build more background knowledge. Various designs for dams are discussed and students observe a demonstration illustrating greater water pressure on the bottom of a dam. Then students are given the activity sheets with the “Design a Dam Challenge” and they use the engineering process to design and construct model dams. Students read Science Notes about how dams affect environments and fill out a graphic organizer. Then students list ways dams affect environments. Students create a concept map of how the use of energy and fuels such as hydropower affects the air, land, and water.
Teaching tips, teacher background, graphic organizers, activity/assessment sheets, and rubrics are included for all activities.
This lesson is bundled into the Natural Resources Energy and Fuels Assessment for grade 4.