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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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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
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Energy Literacy

Earth's weather and climate is mostly driven by energy from the Sun.
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2.3 Earth's climate driven by the Sun.
Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow through the Earth system.
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Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow .

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

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

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