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Chicago fights extreme urban heat with greener ideas

PBS News Hour

As a segment in PBS's Coping with Climate Change series, Hari Sreenivasan reports on the actions the city of Chicago is taking to mitigate climate change in an urban landscape.

Video length is 10:31 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

  • There is another CLEAN resource on this story, Green Roofs of Chicago, that includes this video, an infographic, and more background reading on the topic of urban heat island effect.
  • A good video to connect global warming to urban heat island phenomena and the serious health implications for urban inhabitants.

About the Science

  • This video discusses strategies that Chicago is using to ameliorate the urban heat island effect that has been increasing since 1945. Building green roofs is one strategy currently being implemented as part of Chicago's green design makeover.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It shows what is often referred to as a demonstration project, where they are testing the impacts of the cooling strategies. Theoretically, we know that the green roof and cool roof technologies will improve energy efficiency, and permeable pavements will improve drainage of run-off. But exactly how much energy can be saved or how much temperatures can be reduced cannot be determined with models alone, so demonstration projects are important as a source of data to evaluate their effectiveness.

About the Pedagogy

  • Has a transcript of the video. Even though video is focused on Chicago, the concepts described pertain to all urban areas.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent visual quality.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

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.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

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