Benefits and Consequences of the Tennessee Valley Authority

Founded by Congress and approved by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established to control flooding and navigation along the Tennessee Valley. TVA also provided inexpensive electric power to residents in the area by establishing dozens of dams, power plants, and coal-fired steam plants. While many jobs were created, the landscape of Tennessee and bordering states was forever changed. By 1946, TVA had removed over 72,000 people from their homes and acquired 1.1 million acres. By analyzing primary sources from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs Collection on the Library of Congress Web site, students will have the opportunity to distinguish between the intended benefits and the unintended consequences of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Differentiate between renewable and nonrenewable resources by asking questions about their availability and sustainability.
Investigate and compare existing and developing technologies that utilize renewable and alternative energy resources.
Assess the impacts of human activities on the biosphere including conservation, habitat management, species endangerment, and extinction.
Graphically represent the composition of the atmosphere as a mixture of gases and discuss the potential for atmospheric change.
Engage in a scientific argument through graphing and translating data regarding human activity and climate.
Collect data, map, and describe patterns in the locations of volcanoes and earthquakes related to tectonic plate boundaries, interactions, and hotspots.
Compare and contrast the process, design, and performance of numerous next-generation energy sources (hydropower, wind power, solar power, geothermal power, ...
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze, synthesize, and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the...
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of...
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Allow students access to TVA’s history through the Tennessee Valley Authority Web site. Divide your students into groups to read and summarize sections of this timeline (for example, one group reads and summarizes the sections on the 1930s and 1940s). Each group will present their summary in chronological order to create a succinct timeline of the history of TVA.
  • If students have access to computers, direct them to the Farm Security  ministration/Office of War Information Color Photographs Collection on the Library of Congress Web site. Here, students may find more images of the influence of TVA in Tennessee.