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Dams: Standards

Idaho Common Core State Standards

Here are correlations to the National Common Core Language and Math standards and to the Idaho State Science Standards. If you'd like, you may go directly to the Idaho science standards for this topic. For more information about the overall standards, see the complete Idaho Content Standards for Science, the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core Language standards, or the Common Core Math standards.


Second Grade

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.1 [CCSS page]

Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Suggested Lesson

Read The Hoover Dam: The Story of Hard Times, Tough People and The Taming of a Wild River by Elisabeth Mann. Discuss the reasons we have dams and some of the challenges that face people when they build and use them.

Third Grade

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.7 [CCSS page]

Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

Suggested Lesson

Create a chart that compares some property of ten dams found in the world. Consider dates completed, size, volume of water they retain, or some other aspect of the dams.

Sixth Grade

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.8 [CCSS page]

Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.

Suggested Lesson

Research a dam disaster in history, such as the 1976 Teton Dam collapse in eastern Idaho. Write a report about the event. Include when it happened, what caused it, what the losses of the disaster were, and the final outcome.


Third Grade

CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.A.2 [CCSS page]

Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l).² Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as a beaker with a measurement scale) to represent the problem.²

Suggested Lesson

Within a small plastic container, students build their own dams from popsicle sticks and small rocks. After constructing, have students measure how much water their dams can retain in the small environment in which they are constructed.

Fourth Grade

CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.2 [CCSS page]

Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.

Suggested Lesson

Create a number line showing the height of major dams in the world. Or, chart other measurable properties such as volume of water retained, age, or quantity of concrete used to build, etc.

Multiple Grades

Multiple standards [CCSS page]

Suggested Lesson offers a great lesson in which students create their own waterwheels to measure and see how turbines are affected by load.



Earth and Space Sciences: ESS1-K-2 [ICS page]

Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.

Supporting Content:

Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the environments around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-K-1 [ICS page]

Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.

Supporting Content:

Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need. Humans use natural resources for everything they do.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-K-3 [ICS page]

Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

Supporting Content:

Things that people do can affect the world around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things.

Second Grade

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-2-1 [ICS page]

Compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.

Supporting Content:

Wind and water can change the shape of the land. Examples of solutions could include different designs of dikes to hold back water. Because there is always more than one possible solution to a problem, it is useful to compare and test designs.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-2-2 [ICS page]

Develop a model to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.

Supporting Content:

Maps show where things are located. One can map the land and water in any area.

Third Grade

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-3-1 [ICS page]

Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduced the impacts of a weather-related natural hazard.

Supporting Content:

A variety of natural hazards result from natural processes. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts. An examples of design solutions to a natural hazard could include barriers to prevent flooding.

Fourth Grade

Physical Sciences: PS1-4-2 [ICS page]

Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

Supporting Content:

Energy is present whenever there are moving objects, heat, sound, or light. Energy can be transferred from place to place by electrical currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light. To "produce energy" typically refers to the conversion of stored energy into a desired form for practical use.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS3-4-1 [ICS page]

Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.

Supporting Content:

Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources, and their use affects the environment in multiple ways. Examples of renewable energy resources could include water behind dams. Examples of environmental effects could include loss of habitat due to dams.

Fifth Grade

Life Sciences: LS2-5-4 [ICS page]

Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

Supporting Content:

When the environment changes in ways that affect a place's physical characteristics, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-5-2 [ICS page]

Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.

Supporting Content:

Nearly all of Earth's available water is in the ocean. Most fresh water is in glaciers, polar ice caps, or underground; only a tiny fraction is in rivers, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS3-5-1 [ICS page]

Support, obtain, and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.

Supporting Content:

Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have effects on the land, vegetation, streams and rivers. Individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth's resources and environment.

Life Sciences LS2-5-4 [ICS page]

Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

Supporting Content:

Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there. Examples of environmental changes could include changes in water distribution. When the environment changes, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.

Sixth Grade/Middle School

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS3-MS-3 [ICS page]

Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Supporting Content:

Examples of human impacts can include water usage (such as the withdrawal of water from streams and aquifers or the construction of dams and levees.) Examples of the design process include examining human environmental impacts, assessing the kinds of solutions that are feasible, and designing and evaluating solutions that could reduce that impact.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS3-MS-4 [ICS page]

Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.

Supporting Content:

Examples of evidence include grade-appropriate databases on human populations and the rates of consumption of food and natural resources (such as freshwater, mineral, and energy). The consequences of increases in human populations and consumption of natural resources are described by science, but science does not make the decisions for the actions society takes. Technology and engineering can potentially mitigate impacts on Earth's systems as both human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase.

Engineering and Technology Standards Content - All Grades

ETS1.A: Defining Engineering Problems

A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering. Such problems may have many acceptable solutions. Asking questions, making observations, and gathering information are helpful in thinking about problems. Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints). The success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution (criteria). Different proposals for solutions can be compared on the basis of how well each one meets the specified criteria for success or how well each takes the constraints into account. The more precisely a design task's criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that is likely to limit possible solution.

ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem's solutions to other people. Testing a solution involves investigating how well it performs under a range of likely conditions. A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results in order to improve it. The iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution. There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet criteria and constraints of a problem.

ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution

Because there is always more than one possible solution to a problem, it is useful to compare and test designs. Different solutions need to be tested in order to determine which of them best solves the problem, given the criteria and the constraints.

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