Ethiopia and Dam Construction

Learning Objectives

Students will read a recent science news article and discuss the content.
Depending the on the article, students may be asked to draw connections to current events or other classroom exercises.

Standards Addressed

Depending on the article, one of these standards may be most appropriate:

Subject Area - 1: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

     Standard Area - 1.3: Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Literature - Fiction and Non-Fiction

          Grade Level - 1.3.6: GRADE 6

               Standard - 1.3.6.A: Read, understand, and respond to works from various genres of literature

                    Assessment Anchor - R6.A.2: Understand nonfiction appropriate to grade level.

Preparation Time Needed

<30 minutes, enough time to read the article and associated questions, answer the questions, and possibly come up with more that are relevant to recent class exercises. 

Activity Description

(Part of the PAESTA In The News - Current Events in Earth and Space Science Series. This series compiles current resources and background materials for recent scientific events in the news. Questions are provided with each topic, written across Bloom's Taxonomic Scale, and can be used for classroom discussion and/or as a writing prompt at the beginning/middle/end of an instructional unit.)

Designed to the be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, Ethiopia will begin construction on a $4.7 billion Grand Renaissance Dam (formerly known as the Grand Millennium Dam) across the Blue Nile River. The dam will supply more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity. Additional Ethiopian dam construction projects are ongoing and close to completion, but at what environmental and human costs?

Articles to Share with Students

General Information

Questions for Classroom Discussion

  • Why is Ethiopia utilizing and continuing to explore hydroelectric power?
  • Why is water so important in this region?
  • What are the short-term and long-term impacts on the environment?
  • What are the short-term and long-term impacts on humans?
  • Do YOU think the Grand Millennium Dam should be constructed? Why/why not?

Compiled July 18, 2011, by L.A. Guertin. Teachers are encouraged to search for more recent articles and related discoveries.

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