Pedagogy in Action > Library > Just in Time Teaching > Example JiTT WarmUp Exercises > JiTT - Dam Removal - A Good Idea or Not?

Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) WarmUp Activity: Dam Removal - A Good Idea or Not?

Laura Guertin, Penn State University Delaware County
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Jul 6, 2005

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Question:

1) What are some of the biological effects of dam removal (good and bad)?

2) What are some of the more pressing/compelling reasons to remove a dam? Explain.

3) The Stanley and Doyle (2003) article states that, "dam removal cannot be avoided." Hypothetically, let's say you are placed on a committee to oversee the removal of the Aswan High Dam, since Doyle et al. (2003) states that, "the functional lifespan of most dams is approximately 60-120 years." What scientific studies would you conduct before/during/after dam removal? Why?

Student Responses:

See the Just-in-Time Teaching page on assessment for information and ideas on how to evaluate student responses.

Many students are surprised to learn about the limited lifespan of a dam and the increase/decrease in temperature and oxygen levels with dam removal. Students are eager to ask why people living in the local areas of dams do not get much of a say in what will happen with their lives with dam removal. Students also question the financial costs involved with construction and maintenance versus the benefits from having a dam at all. How a dam removal occurs comes up as a topic of discussion. Overall, the introductory-level students commented that the readings suggested here are "a bit long and verbose," but students were able to understand the content.

References and Notes:

Articles that students may be assigned to read for this set of questions include (but are not limited to):

Stanley, E.H., Doyle, M.W. (2003). Trading off: the ecological effects of dam removal. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 1(1), 15-22.

Doyle, M.W., Harbor, J.M., Stanley, E.H. (2003). Toward policies and decision-making for dam removal. Environmental Management, 31(4), 453-465.

The use of Just-in-Time Teaching is discussed in detail on the JiTT Starting Point page.

Additional information on JiTT is available in the book: