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Amazing Albedo


Source Institutions

    American Museum of Natural History

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Amazing Albedo

In this experiment, learners work in teams to investigate how the color of a surface influences its ability to reflect light and therefore heat. The ratio of light reflected to that received is known as albedo. Learners record, graph, and analyze the temperature of a dark-colored surface and a light-colored surface under a heat lamp. Learners use this information to draw conclusions about global temperatures, specifically in Antarctica.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • 1 sheet of black construction paper
  • scissors
  • stopwatch
  • 1 sheet of white construction paper
  • heat lamp (or natural sunlight)
  • 2 thermometers
  • stapler
  • graph paper
  • ruler

Subjects


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Atmosphere
      • Earth, Moon and Sun
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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

Other


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, American Museum of Natural History and Rice University, ©2002

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