MYP Outdoor Lab

Our 8th grade students took an experiment outdoors to investigate the Earth’s albedo effect on how the surface of the Earth influences its ability to reflect or absorb heat. They used temperature probes inside of soda cans covered in brown paper and white paper and took measurements of each can over a 15 minute period and compared the changes in temperature for both under direct sunlight. The importance of this lab was for students to understand that the albedo effect has a significant impact on our climate. The lower the albedo, the more radiation from the Sun that gets absorbed by the planet, and temperatures will rise. If the albedo is higher, and the Earth is more reflective, more of the radiation is returned to space, and the planet cools. On average, the Earth has a global albedo of about 30%, which means it reflects about 30% of the sun’s radiation. However, deforestation and the melting of ice sheets have on large scale started to change the global albedo.