Media Blitz!


Advertising Web Page Simulation: Glen Canyon Dam




Ø      This lesson is adaptable for secondary grade levels.  It covers topics in History, Geography and Government. It will be necessary to provide web space for your students.  Consult with your school technology staff to have this ready.  If web technology is not available in your area, the same project can be completed in a variety of ways: a report and poster presentation, a classroom debate or student-made video documentary.




Ø      To understand the impact of dams on western waterways and on the Colorado Plateau.

Ø      To identify the roles of geography, history, ecology and politics on the dam and water issues.

Ø      To compare and contrast different points of view on the Glen Canyon Dam issue.

Ø      To write a persuasive argument and debate effectively (Students should be warned that they may be on a side that they personally disagree with; however, the best debaters often take the opposite side)


Grade Level/Subject Area


Ø      9-12

Ø      Arizona History

Ø      Civics and Government





Ø      Student Handout


Ø      Glen Canyon Resources from NAU Special Collections website


Ø      Photographs from NAU Special Collections and Archives website



Instructional Strategies:


  1. Divide students into cooperative groups or partnered teams. Explain that they will be acting as an advertising company and their job will be creating a convincing web site for their client's point of view.
  2. Students may name their "company."
  3. Assign each group either  For Glen Canyon Dam or Against Glen Canyon Dam

(There can be more than one group researching each side)

  1. Review the student handout that explains the scenario for the assignment.



Sample Student Handout


Imagine you work for an advertising company and hired to publicize Glen Canyon Dam.  Your job now is to create an effective webpage to support your client's cause, whether it is for or against the dam. Both sides (for or against) will be assessed on the same criteria.


Criteria: Your page must be comprehensive, and include all sides of the issue.  After all, you don't want your competitors to win the next contract.  Remember, your report, charts, graphs and maps (which will be included as hyperlinks) are of your creation.  Do not simply link to someone else's information.  Constructing your own web page information shows your client that you took the time to research their cause.


An annotated bibliography for each team is required.


Aspects that must be included:


·        Reasons for the creation of Glen Canyon: this should include information about population growth and drought…population charts and drought timelines of your creation are helpful here.

·        People and History:  Include information about the impact on local Native American tribes.  What is their overall view of the dam?  What say did they have in the dam's construction?  Your page should also have a short section of early explorers of the Colorado River… Maps of the Colorado River and the Colorado Plateau of your creation are helpful here. 

·        Ecological Impact:  What do both sides say about the ecology? Which argument does your "company" support?

·        Present Day Uses of Lake Powell: Recreation? Fishing? Hikers?  Include photographs of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon… If you have not visited Lake Powell and do not have pictures, you may link to other sites in this instance, as long as you credit the source visibly on your page (for example:  Photograph courtesy of NAU Special Collections)

·        Forecast for the Future:  What does the future hold for water issues in the southwest?  Is the dam in danger of breaching?  How long will Lake Powell last?  What happens if the dam is decommissioned?  What happens if it is NOT decommissioned?

·        Extra Credit:  You may also add similar information about The Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.  Or compare different dams and their effects on the Colorado Plateau (ex: Oraibi dam)

·        Summary:  Your report should be persuasive.  Your goal is to convince the user of your web page that your side is correct.


Resources for your team: 


Visit Cline Library…NAU Special Collections has a wealth of information in the library archives…Political aspects:  Edward Abbey, political protests, interview with the Bureau of Reclamation.


Online resources:

Glen Canyon Resources from NAU Special Collections website



  1. When the projects are complete, have groups present them to the class. Allow students to view the web pages, and give their comments and critiques. Or if your class chose another mode of presentation, arrange your room for a debate or poster presentation. 


  1. You may want to create an evaluation form for the class to use. Students may assess other group members on participation using a cooperative group assessment form to decide if their classmates' presentations were persuasive and informative.





Upon completing this assignment, students will be able to:


Ø      Create their own population chart, historical timeline

Ø      Write an analysis of ecological diversity and political points of view.

Ø      Complete an annotated bibliography to show appropriate citations and breadth of research. 

Ø      Create a usable, informational and persuasive web page, depicting various sides of the Glen Canyon debate.


This lesson correlates to the following Arizona Social Studies Standards for grades 9 – 12:


1SS-P2. Demonstrate knowledge of research sources and apply appropriate research methods, including framing open-ended questions, gathering pertinent information, and evaluating the evidence and point of view contained within primary and secondary sources.


PO 1. Identify community resources that preserve historical information--such as libraries, museums, historical societies, a courthouse, the world wide web, family records, elders--and explain how to access this knowledge


PO 2. Identify an author’s argument, viewpoint, or perspective in an historical account


PO 3. Distinguish "facts" from author’s opinions, and evaluate an author’s implicit and explicit philosophical assumptions, beliefs, or biases about a subject


PO 4. Compare and contrast different accounts of the same event, including hypothesizing reasons for differences and similarities, authors’ use of evidence, and distinctions between sound generalizations and misleading oversimplifications


1SS-P18. Apply the skills of historical analysis to current social, political, geographic, and economic issues facing the United States, with emphasis on:


PO 1. impact of changing technology on America’s living patterns, popular culture, and the environment, including the impact of automobiles, dams, and air-conditioning to Arizona’s development


3SS-P3. Analyze how economic, political, cultural, and social processes interact to shape patterns and characteristics of human populations, interdependence, and cooperation and conflict, with emphasis on:


PO 1. the interpretation of charts and graphics of population growth and demographics, including birth and death rates, population growth rates, doubling time and life expectancy


PO 4. how differing points of view and self-interests play a role in conflict over territory and resources, including the impact of culture, politics, strategic locations, and resources


PO 6. function and change in the size, structure, and arrangement of urban and suburban areas, including the growth of Arizona cities


PO 7. interrelationships among settlement, migration, population-distribution patterns, landforms, climates, and patterns of vegetation


3SS-P4. Analyze the interactions between human activities and the natural world in different regions, including changes in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of natural resources, with emphasis on:


PO 1. how the Earth’s natural systems affect humans, including how climatic and seasonal changes impact different regions of the globe


PO 2. how humans perceive, react to, and prepare for natural hazards


PO 3. how changes in the natural environment can increase or diminish its capacity to support human activity


PO 4. ways technology has affected the definition and use of, as well as access to, resources and expanded human capacity to modify the natural environment


PO 5. the diversity and productivity of ecosystems


PO 6. policies and programs for resource use and management, including the trade-off between environmental quality and economic growth in the twentieth century