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Science, Social Studies, Health, Climate Action

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, New York City


YouTube Video

Climate Change Resilience: Cooling an Urban Heat Island

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  • This video outlines an initiative called NYC CoolRoofs, which helps reduce the urban heat-island effect by painting roofs white in New York City.
  • This reflects more sunlight and reduces the internal temperatures of buildings, reducing the amount of energy needed to cool the buildings and protecting the residents from overheating.
Teaching Tips


  • Students will learn about the concept of the urban heat-island effect and understand the connection between this initiative and reducing carbon emissions.

Additional Prerequisites


  • The teacher could ask students to design solutions to the urban heat-island effect and break them down by categories such as energy efficiency, natural solutions (such as trees), insulation, etc.
  • Students can learn more about urban heat islands and could create posters and videos to educate others.
  • Another recommended resource is Lights Out Day, an initiative where your school would not use lighting for the whole day to save electricity.
Scientist Notes
The video describes local initiatives for reducing the impact of urban heat in New York City. The assumption that coating the roofs with white paint can reduce the internal temperatures of a building is valid. Thus, this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.4.6-8 Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4-ESS3-2 Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
      • 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
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