Investigating Urban Heat Island effects in the classroom through authentic scientific experiences
Among the causes of death in the United States related to natural hazards, heat is the underrated killer. Due to the Urban Heat Island effects and Earth’s changing climate, the number of cities exposed to extreme heat will nearly triple in the upcoming decades. In an attempt to mitigate climate impacts, cities have begun to take steps towards building green infrastructure and creating urban design interventions.
With this curriculum, high school students are exposed to a variety of authentic research experiences as young scientists where they engage with climate simulation models, analyze temperature models, explore climate satellite instruments, explain the urban heat island phenomenon, access remote sensing imagery, record and share land surface temperature data and build a capstone project that focuses on climate change, urban heat island effects and mitigation factors. Furthermore, this curriculum enhances the scientific understanding of Earth as a system and its response towards natural and human-induced changes in order to allow students to build their knowledge and experiences on climate, weather and natural hazards.