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Student showing display of Folsom Dam
Eagle Hill School

Student Explore the Growth of a Nation

In Mrs. Jane Alwis’ Growth of a Nation course, students were tasked with exploring a very unique aspect of American history – the creation, construction, and historical significance of American reservoirs that were built during a time of tremendous U.S. expansion from 1850-1939.

“This is always a very interesting project for our students, as they get a chance to explore a project they likely know very little about and connect it with the social and cultural implications that were occurring at the same time,” said Alwis. “Many of these infrastructure developments were actually produced by immigrants and represented progress in the growth of urbanization in America.”

Combining both research and hands-on designing, students looked to discover a deep history of their reservoir, its overall purpose, how the project went overall, and its effects on the surrounding community. Paired with an informative visual with facts and relevant information, students built models of their reservoirs either at home or in the Morein Center for Advanced Design makerspace, using various materials such as metals, resin, and wood.

For EHS sophomore Maggie T. ’24, her project on the Folsom Dam in California was fascinating since close family members live in the surrounding towns. “Having driven by it a bunch of times, it was cool to research and learn more about it.”

“The Folsom Dam was built mostly to manage the excess water runoff from the surrounding mountains. It’s actually really interesting since not only is there a jail located right at the dam, but it’s one of the only reservoirs built during this time period that was built strictly by U.S. citizens,” said Maggie T.

With this assignment, students were able to connect important moments in U.S. history with the development of our nation’s important infrastructure. Check out some of the remarkable projects in the photos below!

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