Rooftop Gardens

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How does a green roof, or roof covered by plants, affect the temperature of the inside and outside of a building? Learners design and build houses to find out the answer. In doing so, they need to consider experimental design and controlling variables as well as cost constraints on building materials. Learners need to calculate surface area to calculate cost of materials. Learners then design an experiment and collect data to determine the effect of a green roof on a building. Time estimate for activity can be spread across multiple meetings.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

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


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Biosphere
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Gardening
  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Samson, Carleigh ; Rivale, Stephanie ; Carlson, Denise W.

Source Collection

  • TeachEngineering


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the Univeristy of Colorado, 2009