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How Cities Affect Their Local Climate
http://serc.carleton.edu/eet/cities_warm/index.html

T Ensign, K Czajowski, M Hedley, X Meng, D Smith, B Youngman, C McAuliffe, Science Education Resource Center (SERC)

This resource is about the urban heat island effect. Students access student-collected surface temperature data provided through the GLOBE program and analyze the data with My World GIS.

Four to five 50-minute periods. Activity can't be completed without MyWorld GIS. Although there is a free trial, this may be difficult to download depending on capacity of computers. Also, the teachers would need enough computers over several days to carry out this activity.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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.
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:F) Working with models and simulations
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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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2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
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2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
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C) Systems and connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
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2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
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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.
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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

  • Step-by-step approach is good for many students.
  • Teachers will have to spend time familiarizing themselves with each step of this activity before having the students start.
  • Teachers could also download program and data before class to save time.

About the Science

  • Students can disaggregate the data in a variety of ways -- by city size, latitude, location, ground cover type, etc.
  • Comments from expert scientist: .Uses real data rather than model output for students to see the differences in temperature around the city. Connection to real surface data sampling is excellent and critical as the students can also experience the temperature changes as they move about their own city and more rural suburbs to reinforce the lesson. Some of the mitigation technology resources are dated, like the cool roofs and the cool pavements.

About the Pedagogy

  • Scaffolding includes a sample of a completed report for students and teachers to use as a model.
  • Students develop their skills by learning how to import real student data into a GIS and manipulate/display it to investigate features of the data.
  • This is, however, a recipe exercise with little real inquiry - just comprehension questions along the way. There are some extension exercises at the very end.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Activity can't be completed without MyWorld GIS. Although there is a free trial, this may be difficult to download depending on the capacity of computers being used. Also the teachers would need enough computers to carry out this activity, which would take several days, either in a computer lab or in their classroom. Neither of these options may be available to teachers.

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