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Amazing Albedo
http://www.amnh.org/content/download/1709/24545/file/aa_a04_albedo.pdf

American Museum of Natural History and Rice University

This lesson is a lab in which students use thermometers, white and dark paper, and lamps to measure differences in albedo between the light and dark materials. Connections are made to albedo in Antarctica.

Activity takes one 45-minute class period. Additional materials required.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Sunlight warms the planet
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1a

Energy Literacy

The energy of a system or object that results in its temperature is called thermal energy.
Other materials addressing:
1.2 Thermal energy.
Earth's weather and climate is mostly driven by energy from the Sun.
Other materials addressing:
2.3 Earth's climate driven by the Sun.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:B) Designing investigations
Other materials addressing:
B) Designing investigations.
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

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

  • Have students write out their hypothesis/prediction before they begin. Let students choose other materials to determine the albedo that exist in nature, i.e. different leaf types, substrates, etc.
  • Instructors need to emphasize that color affects albedo but is not albedo. Albedo is a measure of the reflectivity of a surface.
  • Most appropriate for middle school.

About the Science

  • Students compare albedo of dark and light surfaces and relate to albedo in Antarctica.
  • Albedo impacts average global and local temperature, but sun angle (and the tilt of the Earth) is the driving force for temperature regimes in any location.
  • Other related AMNH resources complement this lesson: http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/antarctica/temps.php
  • Comments from expert scientist: Albedo is an incredibly important concept in understanding Earth's climate and this activity certainly highlights its importance.
  • The activity is very hands on, involves making and testing hypotheses, and asks the students to take measurements and plot their results.
  • All in all, a very productive and useful activity.

About the Pedagogy

  • Roles for team members are described. Good questions for lab.
  • This lesson should be paired with related activities, also available from AMNH, that have students conduct an experiment in how sun angle and length of day affects temperature. See http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/antarctica/temps.php

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Very easy to use and understand.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/antarctica/temps.php

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-ESS2.D1: Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

HS-ESS2.D1: The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

Science and Engineering Practices

MS-P2.2: Develop or modify a model— based on evidence – to match what happens if a variable or component of a system is changed.

MS-P3.2: Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation

MS-P4.4: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

MS-P6.1: Construct an explanation that includes qualitative or quantitative relationships between variables that predict(s) and/or describe(s) phenomena.

MS-P7.3: Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.

MS-P8.4: Evaluate data, hypotheses, and/or conclusions in scientific and technical texts in light of competing information or accounts.

MS-P1.3: Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.

HS-P1.3: ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P2.6: Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

HS-P3.5: Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.

HS-P4.1: Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

HS-P6.2: Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

HS-P6.4: Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.

Cross-Cutting Concepts

MS-C4.2: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.

MS-C5.4: The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.

MS-C7.2: Small changes in one part of a system might cause large changes in another part.

MS-C1.4: Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

MS-C3.1: Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.

HS-C1.5: Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

HS-C2.2: Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C4.3: Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

HS-C7.3: Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.


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