Students explore how mathematical descriptions of the physical environment can be fine-tuned through testing using data. In this activity, student teams obtain satellite data measuring the Earth's albedo, and then input this data into a spreadsheet-based radiation balance model, GEEBITT. They validate their results against published the published albedo value of the Earth, and conduct similar comparisons Mercury, Venus and Mars. The resource includes an Excel spreadsheet tutorial, an investigation, student data sheets and a teacher's guide. Students apply their understanding to the real life problem of urban heat islands and deforestation. The activity links builds on student outcomes from activities A and B: "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship," and "Making a Simple Mathematical Model." This is Activity C in module 3, Using Mathematical Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability, of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales.


  • Mathematics > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
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  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
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Mathematics:Data collection, analysis and probability,Land cover,NSDL_SetSpec_ncs-NSDL-COLLECTION-000-003-112-115,Mathematics:Problem solving,Biological science,Space Science,Mathematics,History/Policy/Law,NSDL,Earth Science,Earth and space science:Earth processes:Climate,Greenhouse Effect,Earth and space science:Earth structure:Atmosphere,The nature of science:The scientific process,Atmospheric science,Ecology, Forestry and Agriculture,Life Science,Earth and space science:Solar system:Comparative planetology,History of science,Radiation balance model,Global Warming,Earth and space science:Earth processes:Earth's energy budget,Satellite data,Life sciences:Ecology and ecosystems,Energy Budget,Physics,Technology,Earth system science,Geoscience,Engineering,High School,Space science,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Mathematical modeling,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20140407123111557T,Engineering and technology:Image processing and visualization,Albedo



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