The Albedo Effect, Urban Heat Islands, and Cooling Down Your Playground

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Have you ever worn a black t-shirt outside on a summer’s day and felt terribly hot? Or have you ever walked through a parking lot on a summer day and felt relieved when you got to the sidewalk? Both of these scenarios involve something called albedo, which is a measure of how much radiation from the sun is reflected by surfaces on earth.

In this activity, you will observe how different types of surfaces change temperature in direct sunlight and learn how albedo relates to those changes. Then you’ll apply your understanding to designing a multi-use outdoor space for a school’s playground that stays cool even when it’s hot out.

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