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Understanding Albedo

Source Institutions

    University of Alaska Fairbanks

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Understanding Albedo

In this activity related to climate change, learners examine albedo and the ice albedo feedback effect as it relates to snow, ice, and the likely results of reduced snow and ice cover on global temperatures. Learners will hypothesize about global warming based on the ice albedo feedback effect and set up a simple model to test these hypotheses. This lesson plan includes detailed activity procedure guidelines, an answer key, and learner handouts.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Desk lamp with a 60-watt bulb
  • Black construction paper
  • White construction paper
  • Thermometers
  • Scissors
  • Stapler


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Atmosphere
      • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
    • Problem Solving
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
      • Thermodynamics and Entropy
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
    • States of Matter
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • 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

  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • 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



  • All Rights Reserved, UAF Geophysical Institute, ©2008

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation ITEST program


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