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Earth's Energy Cycle: Albedo


Source Institutions

    NOAA

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Earth's Energy Cycle: Albedo

In this activity, learners experiment and observe how the color of materials that cover the Earth affects the amounts of sunlight our planet absorbs. Use this activity to begin discussions on global warming and climate change. This lesson guide includes background information and handouts. Note: cost of materials does not include cost of thermometers or desk lamp/light bulbs.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

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

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • 2 Thermometers
  • One copy of the Bhutan glacier photo (p.4)
  • Tape
  • Watch or stopwatch
  • Outdoor sunshine or a small desk lamp with a 150 watt bulb
  • Student Page (handouts, p.5)
  • Pens or pencils

Subjects


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Atmosphere
      • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
      • Thermodynamics and Entropy
    • Energy
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
    • States of Matter
      • Changes of Phase
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Risks and Benefits
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories


  • Nature and Environment

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, ©2005

Funding Sources:

  • NCAR Strategic Initiative
  • NCAR Opportunity Fund
  • NASA
  • Friends of UCAR

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