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Urban Heat Island

Classroom/Laboratory Activity

A laboratory activity to learn about the urban heat island effect and heat waves.

Students will collect temperature-related data from various parts of their schoolyard, observe and analyze differences in the data, and discuss the environmental factors that affect the temperature. With the help of temperature data for Los Angeles (over a 100-year period), they will observe, analyze, and discuss the occurrence of heat waves and the temperature changes resulting from the urban heat island effect.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Describe the urban heat island effect.
  2. How do surfaces such as asphalt and concrete affect the temperature in urban areas?
About Tool
Tool Name Feeling the Heat
Discipline Physics
Topic(s) in Discipline Heat transport, Urban Heat Island Effect, Heat; Energy, Conservation of Energy, Energy Transfer, Electromagnetic Radiation, Heat Waves
Climate Topic Climate and the Anthroposphere, Disasters and Hazards
Type of tool Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade Level High School
Location North America, United States
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by Lisa Gardiner, UCAR Center for Science Education
Hosted at UCAR Center for Science Education
Access Online/Offline
Computer Skills Basic


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