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Activity 2

Activity 2

Essential Question

What are the physical and human characteristics of dams?


The Three Gorges Dam will be the largest and most expensive dam ever constructed along the Yangtze. The Three Gorges refers to towering limestone cliffs of the the Qutang, Wu, and Xiling gorges, which stretch for about 200 km from Fengjie (Sichun province) to Yichang (Hubei province) along the middle reaches of the Yangtze. Along with the Yellow River in the north, the Yangtze is of fundamental importance to the culture and psyche of the Chinese as well as the economic well-being of the country. At 6,300 km long, the Yangtze (meaning Long River) ranks as the third largest in the world and the largest in China. The river drains from the Tibetan Plateau in the east, flows through China’s largest and heavily polluted city, Chongqing, and enters the sea in the west near Shanghai. The catchment of the Yangtze represents 25% of entire crop land, 350 million people (33% of China’s population), 40% of grain, 70% of rice, 40% of agricultural and industrial output in China.

Instructional Strategies

Strategy 1

Gathering Information

Information about the dam can be found at the following websites. Students can view maps, pictures, and read an article about the region where the Three Gorges Dam is being built in order to collect geographic information and draw inferences.

Use a transparency of the map provided of the Three Gorges Dam region (web site), or a map from a different source, to familiarize students with the location of the dam project, as well as the physical and human characteristics of the region. The September 1997 edition of National Geographic includes photos and a map. Point out the location of the Three Gorges Dam on China’s Yangtze River.

Encourage students to work in groups to access the website and to share information from other reading materials. Be sure to preview the information yourself to provide appropriate purpose questions for their research.

Note: The September 1997 edition of National Geographic includes photos and a map.


Strategy 2

Comparing and Contrasting

Use the Similarities/Differences Graphic Organizer to encourage students to draw inferences about the significance of the differences between two items or concepts. The similarities/differences process is a helpful technique for clarifying and understanding concepts. Using this type of diagram helps to organize thinking.

Have students work in pairs. One student reads some facts on TGD and then reads the photo journal, The Three Gorges. Distribute the graphic organizer and have them develop the similarities and differences. Have two groups of students meet to share their graphic organizers.

Discuss as a class, encourage them to speculate about why people perceive the same place differently. Show them photos “Yangtze” to see the enormity of the dam. Discuss any bias that might be portrayed in these pictures.

Printable Student View

Similarities/Differences of Three Gorges Photos

Some Facts on the TGD
The Three Gorges






















Scoring Guide

Check for Understanding

  • Have the class make some conclusions based on information from the chart. Have them support their conclusions with details from the chart.