CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - James Bay: A Marvel of Engineering

2 to 3 lessons
To understand the elements of engineering required for a large-scale industrial project
Using a variety of web-based resources, students will examine the engineering needed to create the James Bay Project and create a drawing or model of the project.

Lesson Plan


The James Bay Hydroelectric Project was to be the key to a financially independent, self-sufficient Quebec. The project would cover an area 30 times the size of Prince Edward Island and employ as many as 18,000 workers at one time. The massive turbines would be fed by huge reservoirs and produce over 10,000 megawatts of energy; more than enough to supply all the energy needs of New York City.

The Task

Students will research the James Bay Project to answer the question, "How does the James Bay Project work?" Students should focus on identifying the different components of the project, the use of land, the damming of rivers, the building of turbines and stations, the eventual capacity of the project, and so on. Students will demonstrate the components of the project in a poster that includes visuals and text, or by creating a working or static model.

The Process

In pairs, students will review the clip "First power surges from dam" on the topic James Bay Project and the Cree on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students will then expand their research on how the James Bay Hydroelectric Project works by using other internet sites or print resources. Pairs must include a list of resources with their completed project.



Have students present their projects to the class, explaining and illustrating the process of operation for the James Bay Hydroelectric Project. Students should be prepared to ask and answer questions. Ask: Why can this project be considered a "marvel of engineering"?


Model-making materials

Drawing materials

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