This inquiry unit leads students through the different perspectives behind a decision to have a dam removed. This unit looks at similar Washington state dam removal decisions as well as the complex issue of having the Election dam removed near Puyallup, WA. Students will be introduced to the stories and traditional ways of knowing about salmon that the Puyallup Tribe has built their culture upon. Then they will explore the science behind hydroelectricity and build models to discover how carbon neutral energy is gathered through hydro dams. This inquiry unit ends with students researching different perspectives surrounding the current (2021) decision to remove the Electron dam including: the Tribe’s Fishery department, the ecosystem, the city council, the fishermen and the hydro-electrical company who currently owns the dam. With their research, students will do a socratic seminar to mimic the court case lawsuit that is ongoing against the Electron Dam.
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Students perform a macroinvertebrate survey to gauge the health of a local river. They collect water samples and count macroinvertebrates to learn how the health of a river's ecosystem can be determined by its river insect population.