Its easy being green! Green Roof Design Project

Its easy being green! Green Roof Design Project


Instructional Objective(s)

Students will be able to identify the affect that color has on temperature by stating a claim, providing evidence and science reasoning.

Students will be able to identify the benefits of a green roof with specific attention to cooling cities and minimizing water run off.

Students will design a model that meets the criteria and constraints of a challenge, improve that model and retest their model

Instructional Resources


Reduce the effects of ‘urban heat Island effect’

Due to all the hard paved surfaces and traditional roofs, cities are retaining heat and maintaining temperatures 10 degrees higher than the surrounding area. In the summer heat, the temperature on green roofs can be 20-60 degrees cooler than conventional roofing. (pomegranate green roof manual 2005)

Control building temperature

For hundreds of years, living roofs were used in various countries to prevent heat from escaping or penetrating during different seasons. Controlling a building’s interior is possible by replacing the asphalt surface of the roof with plants and soil, which act as insulators to keep buildings cooler in summer and warmer in winter. (pomegranate green roof manual 2005)

Reduce the volume of storm water runoff

Green roofs are known to retain 50-60 percent of the total annual runoff volume of a roof. Most importantly, the soil retains 90-100% of the critical first hour of heavy rainfall that can overwhelm storm water management systems. In urban and suburban centers, this could aid in alleviating the cost of storm water management and help in flood control. (pomegranate green roof manual 2005)

Impervious layer  — An artificial surface that doesn’t allow water to flow through it.

Greenhouse gases – Gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that prevent heat energy the Earth has absorbed from the sun from escaping back into space.


Component 1: How does color affect temperature? Hot roof vs. Cool roof experiment

Supplies PER GROUP

  • Black and white construction paper
  • Two shoe boxes (these shoe boxes will be used in another component too)
  • Desk lamp with a light bulb/ plugged in (2)
  • Thermometers (4)
  • Rubber bands (2)
  • Document: Lab report

Component 2: Real world connection/ Design (2 periods)

  • Document:  Urban heat island
  • Document:  Urban heat island analysis questions
  • Document:  Claim Evidence Reasoning
  • Its easy being green! Green Roof Design Project
  • Document:  Layers of a green roof
  • Document:  Green roof design challenge
  • Power Point: Green roof
  • Projector /computer/ internet
  • Plastic bin that the model can rest in to collect the water run off
  • Graduated cylinder
  • Scale/ Balance (grams)
  • Water
  • Shoe box (2 per group)
  • Document: Green roof design challenge
  • Possible Supplies: plastic wrap, foil, wax paper, pebbles, fish tank gravel, cotton balls, soil, pipe cleaners, live plants, newspaper, mulch, marbles, etc


Component 1: How does color affect temperature?  Hot roof vs. Cool roof experiment

  • Students will be introduced to the task:
  • Hot roof vs. Cool roof experiment: You are going to test how the color of a roof will affect the internal and external temperatures. You must use a black and white roof. (students may use another color in addition to these two)
  • Students will identify the independent and dependent variable for this experiment.
  • Students will use the attached “Lab report” to fill out the following sections before they are given the materials they require (title, questions, hypothesis, materials, procedure)
  • Students will
  • - tape construction paper to the top of each shoe box,

    - place a thermometer inside of each shoe box

    - use a rubber band to support the second thermometer on the outside of each shoe box.

    - ensure that the desk lamps are equal distances away from each shoe box (if the desk lamps are limited each test can be done separately).

    The students can collect data after 10 minutes of direct light on the shoe box. (They can also make observations on the external temperature every 2 minutes, but can only take the internal temperature once the experiment is complete.)

    The final temperatures are to be recorded on the data section of the “Lab report”.

    • Students will complete the remaining “Lab report” sections.

    Component 2: Real world connection

    • Students will be given page 1 of the attached document “Urban heat islands” and “Urban Heat Island graph analysis”
    • After reading the article the students will be able to complete the “Claim Evidence Reasoning” worksheet attached where they are asked to use their data from the “Hot Roof vs. Cool Roof” activity to state a claim while providing evidence  and use information from the article to incorporate scientific knowledge(as homework or class work)
    • Power Point “Green Roofs”
    • students will watch a short clip on Urban Heat Isalnds
    • students will be introduced to the 4 environmental benefits of green roofs
    • Students will learn about the layers of a green roof
    • Students will be introduced to the design project
  • Hand out “Layers of a green roof” for appropriate slide
  • After the Challenge has been given, hand out the “Green roof design challenge” allow students time to copy down the criteria and constraints.
  • Students should work in their pre determined groups to complete the “Green roof design challenge” worksheet.
  • Tell students their storm water amount. (You can give every student the same amount of “storm water” to work with (5 ml, 10ml, 15ml, 20 ml) or you can have them use different amounts) they will be guided to calculate 75% percent of the given amount on the “Green roof design challenge” worksheet.
  • “Green roof design challenge” pages 1 and 2 should be completed and reviewed by teacher prior to next activity/design of the model
  • Possible materials include: plastic wrap, foil, wax paper, pebbles, fish tank gravel, cotton balls, soil, pipe cleaners, live plants, newspaper, mulch, marbles, filter material, fabric, stockings, etc
  • Component 3: Building and testing the model

    • Students will be given one full class period to design model, test model and brainstorm improvements. A second class period should be given for revisions
    • Students will record data, sketch their design and list improvements on page 3 of “Green roof design challenge” worksheet.
    • Students will weigh their model and record data.
    • Student will place their model over the plastic bin to collect their run off
    • Students will pour given amount of storm water on their model.
    • “Run-off” will be poured into graduated cylinder, measured and recorded.
    • Students will list improvements to be made, implement changes and test again.
    • Students will share their design and results with the class.

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