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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.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

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

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.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Energy and Matter, Patterns, Cause and effect

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

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

MS-C2.3:Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P2.4:Develop and/or revise a model to show the relationships among variables, including those that are not observable but predict observable phenomena.

MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

MS-P5.1: Use digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends.

MS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

High School

Performance Expectations: 1

HS-ESS3-6: Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-ESS3.D2:Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere, and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Cause and effect, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change

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-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

HS-P1.2:ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.

HS-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system

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-P5.2:Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.


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