Exploring Hydroelectricity through Project-Based Learning

Overall we have had a really good and productive time going through this project and overcoming challenges and obstacles that have come our way. We have had many successes, failures, and obstacles. In this blog post, you get to hear about those and more.

We have learned a lot through the research we have done. We first split up the research into pieces so that each person is responsible for at least one part. I got the part that includes figuring out how power goes from the dam to your house. That process mainly requires that you go through many transformations and each of those have to be done at an electrical station: either sub or high station. The substation moves power down in voltage so it doesn’t overpower the grid or catch the area on fire. The main station moves power up in voltage so it can travel long distances. I have learned that while this topic may seem very complicated that it can be very simple but also complex in some ways.

My group went to the Hiwassee Hydro plant on Tuesday, October 2nd to learn more. That tour was simply incredible. We learned a lot throughout the tour about how hydropower works, including many fun facts like the way insulators work on large power lines. Also, we went into the dam itself and found that it was quite creepy and could very easily be a set for a horror movie!

We have a lot of knowledge but what do we plan to do with it? Well, in our Aquatic Adventure Academy exhibit (the name for our project presentations) we plan on having a few main features such as a fully working hydroelectric dam and a well-written magazine article plus a small experiment that deals with the basics of generating power. The experience will be a buffet of options. One could watch the dam or read the magazine. During each group, we will have the experiment running and will have a select part of the group work on it. Then during transitions between the different stuff on the table you can grab a pamphlet or look at the numerous small, but fun facts.

Our mentor is an engineer that graduated from Florida State University and is a great man. We have had numerous conversations with him about our product and he helped us build the dam while teaching us about building large projects and setting up electrical systems.

We have been having a good ride through this project and plan to continue on this course we have set. Next up is actually building the dam and writing the magazine article based on the research we have done. We have been affected through this project as we have made it through many obstacles. We are ready to see and defeat any obstacle that gets in our way between now and October 26th, when we will present.

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