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Alex Gendler


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Physics, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 37 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Assessments
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

Global, Asia

Building the World's Largest (and Most Controversial) Power Plant

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  • This resource describes how hydroelectric power plants work and details the largest hydropower plant in the world, the Three Gorges Dam in China. 
  • Students will learn about how hydropower plants operate, why Three Gorges Dam is controversial, and the future of hydropower. 
Teaching Tips


  • The animated video is engaging and easy to comprehend.
  • The assessment questions are scaffolded and will quickly determine the student's level of understanding.
  • The Dig Deeper section provides links to sources for further reading.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students will need to enter their names or create a TEDEd account to complete the assessment. 
  • Prior knowledge of different power sources would be helpful for understanding. 


  • Cross-curricular connections could be made in economics or social studies classes by discussing how different types of energy generation impact the economies or governments that support them. 
  • This resource lends itself well to creating a pro and con list, either in groups or as a whole class. The list can review the positives and negatives of the Three Gorges Dam and hydropower in general. 
    • As an extension, have students debate the topic, using Dig Deeper resources to help them make their points. 
  • Other related resources include this interactive database of global power plants and this video about another controversial power generation technique.
Scientist Notes
This video resource from TEDEd explains how hydroelectric power plants work and why they are controversial. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
  • Social Studies
    • Geography
      • SS.Geog4.a.m Explain how place-based identities can change places over time. Investigate how place-based identity results from the characteristics of a place and can sometimes result in stereotypes of people from a specific place. Describe students’ perceptions of a place that are based on indirect sources (e.g., television, movies), versus on direct sources (e.g., residing in a place, visiting a place).
  • Related Resources


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