Chinese government is in the process of building the
world's largest dam across the Yangtse River. Because
it is an ongoing project that is multi-faceted from a
Social Studies perspective, it poses an interesting opportunity
for learning and ongoing observation on many levels for
many years to come.
lesson delves into an issue that has ramifications on
many levels: geographic, environmental, political, historical,
commercial, agricultural and human. While it is controversial,
there are clearly many positive aspects to the project
as well as negative ones.
lesson targets tenth grade social studies and also involves
extensive use of language arts.
will need basic understanding of Internet use and searches
as well as grade level reading skills.
Studies Standards Addressed
Students analyze instances of nation-building in the
contemporary world in at least two of the following regions
or countries: the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and other
parts of Latin America, and China.
the challenges in the regions, including their geopolitical,
cultural, military, and economic significance and the
international relationships in which they are involved.
the recent history of the regions, including political
divisions and systems, key leaders, religious issues,
natural features, resources, and population patterns.
the important trends in the regions today and whether
they appear to serve the cause of individual freedom
Arts Standards Addressed
Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational
read and understand grade-level-appropriate material...
including a wide variety of classic and contemporary
literature, magazines, newspapers, and online information.
Features of Informational Materials
Prepare a bibliography of reference materials for a
report using a variety of consumer, workplace, and
public documents. Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate
Generate relevant questions about readings on issues
that can be researched.
Synthesize the content from several sources or works
by a single author dealing with a single issue; paraphrase
the ideas and connect them to other sources and related
topics to demonstrate comprehension.
Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources
through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.
Demonstrate use of sophisticated learning tools by
following technical directions (e.g., those found with
graphic calculators and specialized software programs
and in access guides to World Wide Web sites on the
Critique the logic of functional documents by examining
the sequence of information and procedures in anticipation
of possible reader misunderstandings.
Evaluate the credibility of an author's argument or
defense of a claim by critiquing the relationship between
generalizations and evidence, the comprehensiveness
of evidence, and the way in which the author's intent
affects the structure and tone of the text (e.g., in
professional journals, editorials, political speeches,
primary source material).
write coherent and focused essays that convey a well-defined
perspective and tightly reasoned argument. The writing
demonstrates students' awareness of the audience and
purpose. Students progress through the stages of the
writing process as needed.
Organization and Focus
Establish a controlling impression or coherent thesis
that conveys a clear and distinctive perspective on
the subject and maintain a consistent tone and focus
throughout the piece of writing.
Use precise language, action verbs, sensory details,
appropriate modifiers, and the active rather than the
Research and Technology
Use clear research questions and suitable research
methods (e.g., library, electronic media, personal
interview) to elicit and present evidence from primary
and secondary sources.
Develop the main ideas within the body of the composition
through supporting evidence (e.g., scenarios, commonly
held beliefs, hypotheses, definitions).
Synthesize information from multiple sources and identify
complexities and discrepancies in the information and
the different perspectives found in each medium (e.g.,
almanacs, microfiche, news sources, in-depth field
studies, speeches, journals, technical documents).
Integrate quotations and citations into a written text
while maintaining the flow of ideas.
Use appropriate conventions for documentation in the
text, notes, and bibliographies by adhering to those
in style manuals (e.g., Modern Language Association
Handbook, The Chicago Manual of Style).
Design and publish documents by using advanced publishing
software and graphic programs.
Revise writing to improve the logic and coherence of
the organization and controlling perspective, the precision
of word choice, and the tone by taking into consideration
the audience, purpose, and formality of the context.
lessons don't just teach a block of content; they also
implicitly teach one or more types of thinking. In
addition to describing learning outcomes within traditional
subject areas, describe what kind of thinking and communications
skills were encouraged by this lesson. Inference-making?
Critical thinking? Creative production? Creative problem-solving?
Observation and categorization? Comparison? Teamwork?
conference of policy makers and leaders will soon meet
to discuss the status of the Three gorges Dam Project
on the Yangtse River. In groups of two, will prepare
a briefing for this group in which they outline all sides
of the issue. Their boss at the United States Department
of State has called them into her office to say:
a dam being build in China that is supposed to be the
biggest in the world. We need a policy briefing about
this project to present at the upcoming conference. It
will need to include the following items:
background about the project and the area including
the rationale for the dam
Current status of the building project
and projected effects on local people, the environment,
commerce and archeological sites in the region
from the Chinese government as well as those of environmental
groups, engineering experts and other interested parties
selection of photos and other support materials, such
as maps or diagrams, that might be used to clarify
the issues for the attendees."
will deliver a 1,000-word report that will include narrative
on the issues along with appropriate illustrations, quotes,
and reference citations as well as a 15-minute oral briefing
using a PowerPoint presentation where one participant
will present the story from the Chinese viewpoint and
one will present a summary from an international perspective.
more information about the subject refer to "The
students know someone from the region or who has family
in the area, they might bring that person in as a speaker
or get a letter from that person to include in the presentation.
This could possibly be done as a telecommunication activity
with students in the Three Gorges area. However, the
limited access to the Internet and limited use of English
in the region would make this difficult.
with Internet access
Wall Across the Yangtze - Video from PBS.org
- This documentary about the controversial Three Gorges
Dam on China's Yangtze River states the Chinese government's
case for building the dam while reviewing the project's
many consequences: the displacement of 1.5 million
people, the imminent threat to regional wildlife and
the loss of ancestral burial grounds and centuries-old
temples that will be forever submerged beneath the
dam's immense reservoir. Martin Sheen ("The West
or other "friend of the class" to present
any first-hand views or accounts from the region either
in person or via e-mail
account to contact local person from the region
Wednesday, July 2, 2003 3:06 PM
. Based loosely on a template from The