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Hoover Dam and Hydroelectric Power
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.energy.hooverelec/

WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

This video segment is adapted from Building Big, a PBS series hosted by David Macaulay. It explores Hoover Dam's hydroelectric capabilities by explaining how it is able to harness the potential energy stored in the reservoir and convert it to electricity. It also discusses environmental impacts of the dam and others like it.

Video length: 3:44 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 8 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • This video could be used in a physical science or environmental science course.

About the Science

  • A short video that describes how electricity is generated in a hydroelectric plant (Hoover Dam). It also describes the pros and cons of this type of power production on regional water supply and river ecosystems.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Explains how electricity is generated from dams, but does not explain climate change's impact on the ability to generate hydro power. Also, it is somewhat out-of-date.

About the Pedagogy

  • Background essay, discussion questions, and a link to standards are provided.
  • Demonstrates the importance of hydroelectricity as the dominant source of electricity for urban areas in the American Southwest.
  • Good graphics describe how electricity is made.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Cannot be downloaded but can be viewed in full screen mode and with closed captioned text.
  • Full screen image is not high quality.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.

MS-PS3.A1:Motion energy is properly called kinetic energy; it is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed.

MS-PS3.A2:A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions.

MS-PS3.B1:When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time.

MS-PS3.B2:The amount of energy transfer needed to change the temperature of a matter sample by a given amount depends on the nature of the matter, the size of the sample, and the environment.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Energy and Matter

MS-C5.2: Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.

MS-C5.3:Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 8

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

HS-ETS1.B1:When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-PS3.A1:Energy is a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. That there is a single quantity called energy is due to the fact that a system’s total energy is conserved, even as, within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms.

HS-PS3.A2:At the macroscopic scale, energy manifests itself in multiple ways, such as in motion, sound, light, and thermal energy.

HS-PS3.A3:These relationships are better understood at the microscopic scale, at which all of the different manifestations of energy can be modeled as a combination of energy associated with the motion of particles and energy associated with the configuration (relative position of the particles). In some cases the relative position energy can be thought of as stored in fields (which mediate interactions between particles). This last concept includes radiation, a phenomenon in which energy stored in fields moves across space.

HS-PS3.A5:“Electrical energy” may mean energy stored in a battery or energy transmitted by electric currents.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Energy and Matter

HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.

HS-C5.3:Energy cannot be created or destroyed—only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems.


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