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In this hands-on activity, students explore whether rooftop gardens are a viable option for combating the urban heat island effect. The guiding question is: Can rooftop gardens reduce the temperature inside and outside of houses?

Activity takes about 2 hours with extra time for students to gather materials and develop design plans. Additional materials are necessary.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

About the Content

  • Introductory material of the resource at https://www.teachengineering.org/lessons/view/cub_rooftop_lesson01 provides a brief overview of heat transfer and the urban heat island effect, and why plants can reduce the urban heat island effect.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - collecting data
    - analyzing data (max, mins, trends)
    - plotting data on X-Y line graph
    - testing the scientific method
    - budgeting for the project

    - I'd love to see the photosynthesis equation somewhere

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity is very well organized and supported pedagogically; builds students' problem-solving skills through an inquiry-driven activity.
  • Students work in groups to design and construct two buildings - one with a model rooftop garden and the other with a normal tar-paper roof. Students then compare the differences in ambient and inside-building temperatures between the two. As such, this activity will engage students and also help them better understand parts of the scientific process.
  • Vocab/definitions very good; very good applicable PowerPoint presentation in linked "Ecology at Work" lesson.
  • Combines engineering, energy, and climate.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Many of the materials can be obtained from a home and garden store easily for minimal expense, or potentially donated.
  • Optional pre/post Rooftop Gardens Quiz can be found in the Ecology at Work lesson.
Entered the Collection: May 2018 Last Reviewed: September 2016

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