Greening Urban Areas

Greening Urban Areas

F – 10 | Earth and Environmental Sciences | Geography

Next time you’re walking through the city, ask yourself if you’re feeling very hot or cold and have a look around you – are there any trees? Grass? What colour are the buildings? How would you improve the streetscape to engineer a solution to the problem?


  1. Overview
  2. Curriculum Links
  3. Teaching and Learning Sequence
    1. Multimedia Resource
    2. Investigation
    3. Physics of Heatflow
    4. Excursion
  4. Why this activity?
  5. References

1. Overview

Description
This unit asks students to use science and technology to address a real-world problem – heat waves and the Urban Heat Island Effect.

Teaching Method: Direct Science Inquiry
Students are guided through an investigation where there is no predetermined answer (solution to Urban Heat Island Effect).

Teaching Model: 5E Model.

Teaching Strategy: Concept maps.
Students create a representation of their understanding of heat in the urban environment through a concept map. This provides the teacher with exposure to any pre-conceptions or prior knowledge that students might have about the subject. They can add to the concept map in a different colour as they progress through the unit to demonstrate their improved understanding of the topic.

Skills: Inquiry, collaborative and problem-solving skills.

2. Curriculum Links

F – 10 | Year 7/8

This investigation links to a number of content descriptions as well as the cross-curricular priority Sustainability and Achievement Standard in the
Australian Curriculum.

Science Understanding

Geography

VCGGK126: The challenges of managing and planning Australia’s urban future (examining the size of Australia’s Cities and urban centres, proposing action to respond to geographical issues related to urbanisation).
VCGGC100: Identify, analyse and explain spatial distributions and patterns and identify and explain their implications (exploring arguments for and against a more balanced distribution of the urban population).

Physical Sciences

VCSSU090: Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations.
VCSSU104: Energy appears in different forms including movement (kinetic energy), heat, light, chemical energy and potential energy; devices can change energy from one form to another.

Science Inquiry Skills

Questioning and predicting

  • Identify questions, problems and claims that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (VCSIS107).

Planning and conducting

  • In fair tests, measure and control variables, and select equipment to collect data with accuracy appropriate to the task (VCSIS109).

Analysing and evaluating

  • Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to identify relationships, evaluate claims and draw conclusions (VCSIS111).

3. Teaching and Learning Sequence

1. Multimedia Resource

5E Model Stage: Engage and Explore.

Learning Concepts:

  • Cities only account for 3% of the Earth’s surface yet more than half of the Earth’s people live in these urban environments.
  • The majority of Australians live in Capitol cities.
  • The buildings, cars, roads and other infrastructure built to support the population (urbanisation) reduces green spaces.

Teacher input:

  • Teacher shows multimedia resource.
  • Teacher introduces practical activity using digital technologies.

Student activity:

  • Students create their own ‘concept map’ demonstrating all they know about urban heat.
  • Students use infrared data, cooling and greening interactive map and land satellite data as well as Google Earth to explore the distribution of vegetation and temperature in their local area.

Resources:

2. Investigation

5E Model Stage: Explore.

Learning Concepts:

  • Infrared thermometers are instruments used to measure surface temperatures using infrared radiation (heat).
  • Students compare surface and air temperatures of various locations/objects in the environment.
  • Students list various biotic and abiotic factors that can impact on heating of surfaces.

Teacher input:

  • Teacher demonstrates how to use infrared measuring equipment.
  • Talks to small groups about observations as they conduct investigations. Guides discussion at the end as students share their findings.

Student activity:

  • Students choose ‘study sites’ in the school yard to determine if micro-climates exist. They draw the sites and make predictions about how hot they they think an area will be based on these factors (hypothesis).
  • Students use infrared measuring equipment to conduct a fair test. This includes repetition of measurements where variables are kept the same (distance of measurement, material).

Resources:

3. Physics of Heatflow

5E Model Stage: Explain and elaborate.

Learning Concepts:

  • The Growth and Survival of Living Things are Affected by Physical Conditions of their Environment.
  • Heat energy can be transferred and transformed in the environment through conduction, convection and radiation (including infrared radiation).

Teacher input:

  • Teacher guides discussion about heat transfer and how heat affects living things.

Student activity:

  • In groups, students design biological or engineered solution to reduce ambient air temperatures in their school yard, applying their new knowledge about heat transfer.
  • Independently, students add any new knowledge they have to their concept maps.
4. Excursion

5E Model Stage: Elaborate.

Learning Concepts:

  • There are many different professionals who contribute to finding solutions to the issue of Heat Urban Island Effects (Science as a Human Endeavour).

Teacher input:

  • Conducts excursion.

Student activity:

  • Students meet with the City of Melbourne to hear where the city’s hotspots are and hear about current projects designed to mitigate heat. Hear about the different people involved in the project (scientists, policy makers, architects, etc.).

4. Why this activity?

This lesson sequence could form part of a greater term lesson sequence on ‘Mission to Another Planet’, discussing how you would then design homes for people on Mars and could also be linked to the ‘Astrofarmer’ lesson sequence.

5. References

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, ‘Regional Population Growth, Australia’, Accessed: 31st March 2021, <https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/3218.0Main%20Features602017-18?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3218.0&issue=2017-18&num=&view=&gt;

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning 2019, ‘Cooling and Greening Melbourne Interactive Map’, State of Victoria.

Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) 2014, ‘Growing Green Guide: A Guide to Green Roofs, Walls and Facades’, State of Victoria.

Department of Education, WA 2018, ‘Curriculum Resource Module Year 8: Keeping Cool’, State of Western Australia.

The Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaption Research 2014, ‘Urban Heat Reduction through Green Infrastructure (GI): Policy Guidance State Government’, State of Victoria.

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