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Urban Heat Island

9-12Urban Ecosystems
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The Urban Heat Island module includes 8 lessons derived from the Thermochemistry Unit of Baltimore City Public School’s high school chemistry course. The module was developed as part of the Integrating Chemistry and Earth science (ICE) project. This module guides students in learning about and developing an understanding of how Urban Heat Islands form and what we can do to reduce their presence and effects. Activities include hands on explorations of heat in the school yard, investigating the pathways and processes that influence heat transfer, absorption, storage and reflection, and analyzing real, local data from a heat wave in Baltimore City.

The module also includes a modeling task for student sense-making with particular emphasis placed on supporting students' development of model-based explanations of the Urban Heat Island phenomenon.  The modeling tasks within the module prompt students to illustrate their understanding of how energy moves into, out of, and within the urban system.  Students also highlight how heat energy interacts with natural and human-made elements of the urban system leading to the UHI phenomenon.  The modeling task and teacher instructions are found below. 

Modeling Template Instructions

Modeling Template

You can read more about the ICE project and the development of the Urban Heat Island module HERE

ICE Partners

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, George Washington University, Baltimore City Public Schools

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #DRL-1721163.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.