Design and Build a Hydroelectric Dam


This project helps students work out how to build the proposed Speedies Road Hydroelectric Dam in New Zealand.

Students will find out about many of the things that engineers have to take into account when planning a construction project: sourcing materials; construction methods, construction equipment and temporary structures – all in the context of one of the most challenging and impressive types of civil engineering project.

At the end of this project they will be able to present a construction sequence to a group of engineers from your company, explaining to them the choices that you have made.

Day 1

Research on different types of dams

Students will investigate different types of dams, from the tallest to the longest.
Day 2

Understanding the Site and how to divert the river during construction.

Students will study the site of the proposed dam and work out how to divert the river during construction.
Day 3

Building the Foundations

Students will look at how the foundations of their dam will be constructed.
Day 4

Building the Superstructure

Students will decide how to build the dam’s superstructure.
Day 5

Developing a construction sequence

In the final stage students will present their construction sequence for their dam.


This project is aimed at 14 to 19-year-old students working at or equivalent to KS4/5.

Skills Development

Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills

  • Through independent enquiry – students can explore issues from different perspectives; analyse and evaluate information, judge its relevance and value; and support conclusions, using reasoned arguments and evidence.
  • Through self-management –Students are required to show flexibility when priorities change; work towards goals, showing initiative and perseverance; organize their time; and manage their emotions.
  • Through reflective learning –by reviewing progress; inviting feedback; evaluating their experiences; and communicating their learning in relevant ways for different audiences.

Communication Skills

Through role play, interviews, written and verbal communication.

Information, Advice and Guidance

This project is designed to help students explore the workplace, giving them the chance to build their confidence, skills and understanding of what is needed to be a civil engineer in a design office. As part of this project, students are specifically asked to interview a member of staff about what path they took to get the job they have now.

Delivery Requirements

It would be beneficial if the student is able to access information on similar real projects within your organisation, and the people who have worked on them, but if this is not possible then there are ranges of supporting resources that students will be able to access from their workbooks.


Supervisors will need an hour to prepare any supporting resources prior to the student starting and then approximately 1-1.5 hours a day for 1:1 supervision and arranging access to other members of staff.


Organisations are encouraged to provide supporting resources such as drawings from a real project, examples of a real desk study or construction sequences which will enable the student to contextualise the project.


All you need is a computer with internet access!



£50.00 – Add to Cart
Price excludes VAT @ 0%

Recommended For:

  • Construction Companies
  • Engineering Consultancies

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