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3rd, 4th, 5th



Resource Types

  • Experiments
  • Worksheets
  • Lesson Plans, 45 minutes

Regional Focus




The Albedo Effect in Action

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  • In this 45-minute activity, students read about the albedo effect, conduct an experiment to illustrate this concept, and relate the albedo effect to climate change. 

Teaching Tips


  • The resources can be downloaded and used offline or printed. 
  • The lesson plan includes an answer key, which facilitates implementation. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • This experiment should be carried out on a sunny day.
  • Teachers will need thermometers for students to use in the experiment.
  • Teachers should check for understanding of the albedo effect after students read the description on the handout and before moving on to the experiment.


  • This lesson can be related to life science by having students identify how water and land ecosystems can be altered by this effect.
  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with math as students will need to calculate averages.
  • Students can complete the experiment individually or in groups.
  • If teachers have a limited number of thermometers, students can use one and repeat the process for each color paper.
  • Other resources that pair well with this lesson include this video that relates the albedo effect to the urban heat island effect and this experiment-based lesson on the difference between ice melting on land and in the oceans.
Scientist Notes
This resource introduces students to the topic of planetary albedo, which is how reflective different surfaces are. It offers a practical, hands on demonstration of how two different surfaces can affect temperature. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • 3-ESS2-2. Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.
      • 5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere interact.
    • PS3: Energy
      • 4-PS3-2. Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
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