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Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) WarmUp Activity: Water Issues and the Aswan High Dam

Laura Guertin, Penn State University Delaware County
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1) What are some of the GOOD changes for the environment and positive impacts on the local people from construction of the Aswan High Dam?

2) What are some of the BAD changes for the environment and negative impacts on the local people from construction of the Aswan High Dam?

3) There were many "costs" involved with constructing this dam. Identify some of these costs. Have the short-term and long-term impacts of the dam construction been worth it? Explain.

Student Responses:

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

Overall, students are frustrated that they have difficulty "picking a side" because of the good and bad aspects of the Aswan High Dam being in place. The suggested readings do not seem to give students difficulty, but many will comment on and ask about photos they find online of the dam and surrounding environment ("I never realized it could be so green in Egypt!"). Students will typically inquire for additional information about the decrease in sardine populations. One impact of the Aswan High Dam not clearly explained in the suggested articles is the erosion of the Nile Delta shoreline. This topic is useful to incorporate in the discussion and clarify any misconceptions about how materials held behind the dam impacts the environment downstream.

References and Notes:

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

The southeastern Mediterranean ecosystem revisited: Thirty years after the construction of the Aswan High Dam, Texas A&M University (more info) , Spring 1995.

Role of the Aswan High Dam in Promoting the Nile River System Management, WCD Regional Consultation, Cairo, Egypt,December 1999.

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:

  • Just-in-Time Teaching: Blending Active Learning with Web Technology. Novak et al., 1999 The authors explain what Just-in-Time Teaching is, its underlying goals and philosophies, and how to implement it. They also provide an extensive section of tested resource materials that can be used in introductory physics courses with the JiTT approach. (citation and description)