Urban Heat Island

PDF versionPDF version
New York City and the East River in 1960

ERN Item Type: 

  • Classroom Activities


Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry (ITSI)


Heat islands result when people alter their surroundings, substituting man-made asphalt roads, tar roofs, and other features for vegetation. Trees and other plants provide shade and cool the air through evapotranspiration. Hard, dark surfaces like pavement store heat during the day. That heat is then released at night, keeping cities warmer longer than surrounding areas with a lot of vegetation. In this activity, you will relate changes in sunlight to the air temperature above the surface that you are testing.

Grade Level: 


Earth Science Big Ideas: 

Is this tagged to NGSS by the organization?: 


NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: 

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: 

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: 

NGSS Performance Expectations: