Hydroelectric Energy

Driving or Multi-dimensional Question:

How can we—as Hydroelectric Engineering Consultants—propose whether or not electricity derived from water sources is a sustainable and safe way to transfer energy? What type of energy is created when you harness the force of water? Is water a sustainable energy source?

Unit Summary:

Students will take a deep dive into what energy is and how water is used as an energy source, and learn the history behind water usage here in Tennessee. Students will create a multi-media presentation explaining the importance of renewable energy derived from water sources, how energy is captured and transferred from the water to usable electricity and whether energy derived from water is sustainable and safe for the environment. Students will then present their information to the class.

Hook Event:

Culminating Event:

 

Standards

Science Standards:

6.ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
1) Differentiate between renewable and nonrenewable resources by asking questions about their availability and sustainability.
2) Investigate and compare existing and developing technologies that utilize renewable and alternative energy resources.

6.LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics
6) Research the ways in which an ecosystem has changed over time in response to changes in physical conditions, population balances, human interactions and natural catastrophes.

Math Standards:

6.EE.B.6 Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.

ELA and Other Standards:

6.W.PDW.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.

Created By: Brandi Stroecker
Grade Level or Subject: 6th Grade

Tennessee Academic Standards for Science Connection

Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy—Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources
Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Mechanisms and Explanation

21st Century Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication Skills
  • Collaboration (Team Building)
  • Creativity and Innovation

Daily Activities

  Activities Resources and Materials
Activity One What Is Energy?

Nova Video: What Is Energy?
https://www.pbs.org/video/nova-energy-defined/

KWL Organizer for Water:
Have students write what they know about water as an energy source in the first column and what they want to know about water as an energy source in the second column. They will fill in the final column at the end of this activity. What I Know about water as an energy source. | What I Want to Know about water as an energy source. | What I Learned about water as an energy source.

Hydro Power Video:
https://www.energy.gov/eere/videos/energy-101-hydroelectric-power

Activity Two Hydro History in Tennessee

Research a Dam:
Select the dam or other hydroelectric facility nearest your school from the following resources:
https://www.tva.com/About-TVA/Our-History/Built-for-the-People
https://www.tva.com/Energy/Our-Power-System/Hydroelectric

Research:
Research how these dams/plants produce power, affect local energy requirements and provide recreational opportunities.

Imagine a Career:
Review two teacher- or student-selected videos from the following archive of TVA professionals to get students thinking about careers in the hydroelectric field:
https://www.tva.com/Our-TVA-Story

How Hydro Power Works:
https://www.tva.com/Energy/Our-Power-System/Hydroelectric/How-Hydroelectric-Power-Works

History of Hydro in Tennessee:
What do you consider the three most important milestones in the history of hydro power in Tennessee and why? Explain in short paragraphs.

Activity Three Effect of Volume on the Force of Water

Essential Question:
What effect does the volume of water have on the water’s force?

Hands-on Activity: Effect of Volume on the Force of Water

See Hydroelectric Energy Outline

Activity Four Your Water’s Health Field Trip:
Arrange a field trip to a local river, stream or irrigation ditch. Or collect water samples from a local body of water in advance for students to analyze in class.
Activity Five  Greenwashing Hydropower

Article: Greenwashing Hydro Power
https://www.internationalrivers.org/sites/default/files/attached-files/j-f_10_digital.pdf

Reading:
Have students read pg. 8-14 of the World Watch publication. Students should annotate text as they read the information. Facilitate a class discussion highlighting the key points from the article. Write the key points on the board, address any misconceptions.

Activity Six Hydro Power Advantages and Disadvantages and Sustainability Group Activity:
Using credible sources, students work in collaborative groups to create a comparison chart that lists the advantages and disadvantages of hydro power and address whether or not this energy source is sustainable.
Activity Seven Socratic Seminar Question:
Do you think electricity derived from water sources is a sustainable and safe way to transfer energy?
Activity Eight  Energy Career Mapping

Career Mapping:
1. Have the students choose a hydro power career that sounds interesting to them and conduct research on that career.

2. Have each student create a resume to be used to apply for a job in the career he/she has researched using a sample resume format of your choosing. Be sure they list the education requirements, skills, interests and types of tasks/projects their chosen career requires.

Possible Career List:
Energy Analysts, Hydrologists, Power Plant Operators, Power Dispatchers, Civil Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Hydroelectric Engineers

CareerOneStop:
Use this site to explore green careers, find resume templates, compare various occupations and learn what’s hot in different industries.
www.careeronestop.org

Activities Nine & Ten Capstone Presentation Activity

Presentation:
How can we, as Hydroelectric Engineering Consultants, propose whether or not electricity derived from water sources are sustainable ways to transfer energy?

Students will create a multi-media presentation explaining the importance of renewable energy derived from water sources, how energy is captured and transferred from the water to usable electricity and whether energy derived from water is sustainable and safe for the environment.

Students will present their information to the class.

  Additional Activities

How Much Water Do You Use?
Students explore one of the main reasons why dams are built—to satisfy everyday domestic water needs. Students track their own water use during one week, and from that data estimate a community’s residential water needs from a regional dam.

Video: How Much Water Do You Use?
https://www.teachengineering.org/activities/view/cub_dams_lesson01_activity1

Technology Integration:

Business Partner Contribution to Learning Experience Contact Information
Local Lake or River Resource Manager’s Office Explain water quality and river/stream/lake health for hands-on activities. Arrange field trip for Day 4 activities Local to school
TVA—Powered by People You Know Select a relevant hydroelectric engineer or TVA employee to connect with. https: //www.tva.com/Our-TVA-Story

Capstone Presentation:

How can we, as Hydroelectric Engineering Consultants, propose whether or not deriving electricity from water sources is a sustainable way to transfer energy?

Students will create a multi-media presentation explaining how the importance of renewable energy derived from water sources, how energy is captured and transferred from the water to usable electricity, whether energy derived from water is sustainable and if it is safe for the environment. Students will present their information to the class.

Project files