Lessons and Standards
8th Grade Summary
Through the 8th-grade program, students gain a preliminary understanding of how climate change works, explore if heat island effect will impact their community, investigate if heat island effect exists on a more micro/building level, and have an opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about climate change and how it impacts themselves, their family and friends, and their community.
During their classroom day, students build belief that they are a unique person who belongs to a community of scientists. Students work together on a team building challenge, gain an understanding of how climate change works, make observations and predictions about heat island effect using interactive online heat maps of City Heights and Houston, and learn that climate change may not be impacting all people equally.
During their day at the Living Lab students 1) collect and analyze heat data using heat guns, the 123Survey app, and GIS mapping technology to determine if there are areas around the building which may be “heat islands” 2) learn about careers in botany and how as botanists they can help create a more resilient community in the future, 3) meet a real scientist who will share their career pathway, and challenges and obstacles they have faced along the way to becoming a science leader, and 4) share their story of climate change and its impacts with teachers, parents, peers, and local policymakers through the creation of an online publication. Collectively, these experiences build students’ belief that science is something they can do, and a scientist is someone they can become.
MS-ESS3-5: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
HS-ESS3-6: Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
ESS3.D: Global Climate Change: Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.
ESS2.D Weather and Climate: Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.
Systems and System Models – students understand that a system is a group of related parts that make up a whole and can carry out functions its individual parts cannot. They can also describe a system in terms of its components and their interactions.
Stability and Change – Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.
- Learn about Heat Island Effect
- Heat Island Effect video explained (case study location: Phoenix)
- “What are Heat Islands?” article (US Environmental Protection Agency)
- “What is an Urban Heat Island? article (Climate Kids NASA)
- Extension Lessons
- Urban Heat Island Lesson Plans (Arizona State University)
- Classroom Data Links