Effects of Solar Radiation on Land and Sea

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In this activity, learners explore the different heating properties of soil and water. Learners measure the temperatures of a bucket of soil and a bucket of water outside on a sunny day after 15 minutes and 3 hours and 15 minutes. Learners collect and graph the data. This experiment will help learners understand why places near the sea have a more moderate climate than those inland. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Bucket of soil and a bucket of water
  • 2 ordinary thermometers
  • Recording sheets
  • Normal graph paper
  • Rulers
  • Pencils


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
      • Oceans and Water
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • Energy
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Education and Outreach Program, Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility