About This Lesson
Hoover Dam, located where the Colorado River forms the boundary between the states of Nevada and Arizona, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places documentation, "Hoover Dam" (with photos); on National Historic Landmark documentation, "Hoover Dam" (with photos); and on Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) publications. The lesson was written by Marilyn Harper, historian, and edited by Teaching with Historic Places and Reclamation staff. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
.Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, government, and civics courses in units on the Great Depression and the New Deal, American political history, or the history of technology.
Time period: Early to mid 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find Your State's History Standards for Grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To list five factors that led to the construction of Hoover Dam.
2) To identify some of the work involved in the design and construction of the dam.
3) To explain the steps in the construction process and their dangers.
4) To identify some of the factors contributing to public perceptions of Hoover Dam and its construction.
5) To describe the impact Hoover Dam had on the Southwest and the nation and to explore some of its long-term implications.
6) To identify public works in their own local community.
Materials for students
The materials listed below can be used directly on the computer or printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a small version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) one map showing the Colorado River Basin;
2) one reading about the construction of Hoover Dam;
3) two documents, a "Short Course in Engineering" and selections from President Roosevelt's speech at the dedication of Hoover Dam in 1935;
4) one illustration showing three views of Hoover Dam; and
5) seven historic photos.
Visiting the site
Hoover Dam is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, on the Nevada-Arizona border. From Las Vegas, take US Highway 93 South and continue about 20 miles to Boulder City. In Boulder City, take a left at the second stoplight in town (there are only two of them). Continue on US 93 for about 5 miles to the turn-off to Nevada State Route 172—the Hoover Dam Access Road. Take NV SR 172 for about 2 miles to the dam. All vehicles are required to undergo a security inspection prior to visiting the dam. Tickets for tours of the dam and the power plant are available at the Visitor Center.
Tickets can also be purchased on-line. There is a charge for the tours, in addition to an admission charge for the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days. All visitors are required to go through security screening when entering the Visitor Center.
Access to the Visitor Center is most convenient from the parking garage on the Nevada side of the dam. There is a fee for parking. Oversized vehicles, recreational vehicles, and vehicles with trailers must use the parking lots on the Arizona side of the dam.
Check the Hoover Dam website or call (866) 730-9097 for more detailed information, including seasonal hours of operation.