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The Kid Should See This, NPR


8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 50 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites
  • Videos, 4 minutes, 39 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

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

Do Cities Need More Green Roofs?

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  • This video shows students how green roofs reduce stormwater runoff, provide habitat for wildlife, insulate the indoor temperature of buildings, and help reduce the urban heat-island effect in cities. 
  • There are two videos and a brief article about the green roof on the Javits Convention Center in New York City, which has lowered energy use in the building by twenty-six percent and saved them more that three million dollars. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students will be inspired by the dramatic impact that a green roof can have on communities and the environment.
  • The brief article contains a number of links to interesting resources on green roofs. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the terms impermeable, urban, and pathogens.


  • Environmental clubs or science classes could look into the feasibility of installing a green roof on the school or other public building in their community. 
  • Biology or English language arts students could work in groups to research which types of plants are best for green roofs and then present their findings to the class.
  • Science and engineering students could use this resource for lessons about stormwater pollution, watersheds, the physics of water flowing over impervious vs permeable surfaces, and incorporating nature-based solutions into urban stormwater design.
  • Other resources on this topic include this Khan Academy video and assessment on the impacts of urbanization on the environment, this SubjectToClimate lesson on the importance of green spaces in cities, and this video that explains the link between racism and a lack of trees in some urban spaces.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 4-minute video and accompanying website that looks at some of the ways in which green roofs can improve city landscapes. One example is presented that increases habitats for wildlife, cools the surrounding air, retains water, and reduces energy consumption needed for summertime cooling. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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