Jump to this Activity »
Using NASA NEO and ImageJ to Explore the Role of Snow Cover in Shaping Climate
http://serc.carleton.edu/eet/albedo/index.html

B. Youngman, C. McAuliffe, R. Freuder, J. Lockwood, K. Ward, D. Herring, H. Riebeek, Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter from TERC

In this activity students download satellite images displaying land surface temperature, snow cover, and reflected short wave radiation data from the NASA Earth Observation (NEO) Web site. They then explore and animate these images using the free tool ImageJ and utilize the Web-based analysis tools built into NEO to observe, graph, and analyze the relationships among these three variables.

Activity takes about three to four class periods. Computer access is necessary.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Sunlight reaching the Earth can heat the land, ocean, and atmosphere. Some of that sunlight is reflected back to space by the surface, clouds, or ice. Much of the sunlight that reaches Earth is absorbed and warms the planet.
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1a
Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Energy Literacy

Energy is a quantity that is transferred from system to system.
Other materials addressing:
1.1 Energy is a quantity.
The energy of a system or object that results in its temperature is called thermal energy.
Other materials addressing:
1.2 Thermal energy.
Energy is neither created nor destroyed.
Other materials addressing:
1.3 Energy is neither created nor destroyed.
Energy is a physical quantity that follows precise natural laws.
Other materials addressing:
Energy is a physical quantity.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
Other materials addressing:
C) Energy.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Teachers should become fully familiar with the NEO website and with the functionality of both the ImageJ and ICE used in this activities. These are complex instructions that may intimidate some students (and teachers), but they are thorough and should support a great exploration experience.

About the Science

  • A very solid activity with important satellite datasets and visualization tools, which use state-of-the-art tools.
  • Focus is on albedo and not the science of climate change.
  • Students are looking only at a single year of data.
  • Activity does not explore how the data from the satellite sensors are processed to create the maps.

About the Pedagogy

  • Will appeal most to visual learners, good readers and detail-oriented learners who are willing to follow scripted step by step directions.
  • No support for assessment.
  • While it is useful for students to search and download their own datasets, the resource does provide the teacher with direct access to the datasets needed for the activity.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Installation instructions are quite detailed and accurate.
  • Activity requires user to download the ImageJ program. It is freely available for Mac, Windows and Linux computers.

Jump to this Activity »



Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion


Log in to reply