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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

"The Electric Project": The Minidoka Dam and Powerplant--
Supplementary Resources

Students have learned how the Bureau of Reclamation's Minidoka Project came to provide electric power to the project's farms and small towns in the early twentieth century. They have also discovered that this "Electric Project" was a step towards a major expansion of Reclamation's mission. Students interested in learning more will find many useful sources on the Internet. Some sources are:

National Park Service Travel Itineraries
The National Park Service offers travel itineraries covering a broad range of regions and sites that embody America's heritage. The Bureau of Reclamation Historic Dams, Irrigation Projects, and Powerplants Travel Itinerary includes Minidoka Powerplant and Dam, and places the historic site in the larger narrative of federal water management in the American West as well as its history as an internment camp during World War II. Teachers may use this to connect the Minidoka site to additional themes in 20th Century American history.

National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans
Additional Teaching with Historic Places lessons about federal Reclamation projects include "The Greatest Dam in the World": Building Hoover Dam and "Making the Desert Bloom": The Rio Grande Project.

Another Teaching with Historic Places lesson plan about technological change in the early 20th century is The Invention Factory: Thomas Edison's Laboratories . An additional lesson about homesteading is Adeline Hornbek and the Homestead Act: A Colorado Success Story, which tells the story of how a single mother became the owner of a successful ranch on land acquired through the Homestead Act.

Bureau of Reclamation Resources
The United States Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, maintains websites for all of its powerplant projects. The Minidoka website offers basic historical, scientific, and engineering information related to the dam. Students may use this to see how the federal government promotes the Reclamation projects today.

The Bureau of Reclamation also offers an online resource about the agency's history. This site includes book length histories, oral histories, and digitized images. Students may use this for further research into the history of the Bureau.

The Bureau of Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Region has developed a website that contains educational materials that use an idealized farm to explain the three basic irrigation methods, how each one works, when it works best, and what the costs and benefits are.  The site also includes lesson plans.

U.S. Energy Information Administration
The EIA Energy Kids website provides teachers and students with information on energy use in the United States. This hydropower resource introduces the history, forms, and environmental impacts of hydroelectricity. Students may use this and other site resources to explore many types, uses, and considerations of energy use.

U.S. Geological Survey Water Science School
The U.S. Geological Survey has created a Water Science for Schools website that answers every question you are likely to have about water, from the water cycle to water quality to how wet your state is. The site includes Teacher Resources.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has a link to a chapter of a book that provides simple explanations of how an irrigation system works, with graphics.  Other chapters in the same book, published by the FAO in 1985, cover soils, topography, etc.

Learn Engineering
This engineering science education and outreach website presents "people the so called 'tough engineering concepts' in a logical and simple way." The website covers electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering topics and uses video, engaging graphics, and plain-language articles to teach engineering. See this page for more information about how hydroelectric power is generated at powerplants like Minidoka.

Children's University of Manchester: Energy and the Environment
The Children's University maintains several web-based, interactive portals for primary and middle school aged students. The energy and the environment section introduces students to sources, issues, and environmental impacts of electricity use. The site is a collaboration between advanced scientists and education specialists. Younger students may use this to explore electricity use in the present day.

Columbia University
Columbia University hosts the text of the 1902 Reclamation Act online. This is a short primary source document and offers a summary caption.


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