In this activity, students investigate how different surfaces absorb heat and apply their experience with the surfaces to interpret real-world situations. From this information, they come to understand that the physical characteristics of a surface have a powerful effect on the way that surface absorbs and releases heat from the sun and that radiation of heat occurs without the involvement of a physical object. The student guide provides an overall description of the activity, a list of materials, the procedure, and observations and questions.
This Wikipedia article offers a description of tuned mass dampers, which reduce wind-driven vibrations in structures. The site explains the science behind these devices and their applications in large buildings. Numerous images and diagrams are included in the descriptions as well as a helpful animation demonstrating the operation of these devices.
Students will discover from this text that oceans are major climate-controllers because of their large heat capacity. As a result, over a long period, oceans can store and transport heat from one location to another. Of particular interest is the ocean’s Conveyor Belt or thermohaline circulation, since both temperature and salinity are at the root of its existence. A major player in the thermohaline circulation is a process known as deep convection (DC), that mixes warm and cold waters, affects sea ice melting and how much solar radiation is absorbed.
This site contains several activities for different age level students that model the beneficial aspects of coastal wetlands. These activities will illustrate the value of wetlands as a nursery for young organisms, in controlling erosion and retaining water, and in absorbing and filtering pollutants and excess nutrients that would ultimately affect the Gulf of Mexico.
This Caltech press release covers the development of solar cells that can absorb light and convert its energy efficiently thanks to a silicon wire design. The new cells, in addition to being extremely efficient, are also flexible in form, making them useful for consumer installation after further research.