Project GO

Urban Heat Island


Background Information

Content Enhancement Video

Lesson Plan One: What Are Urban Heat Islands?

Lesson Plan Two: Urban Heat Islands

Lesson Plan Three: Heat Sensitivity

Lesson Plan One with Worksheets (PDF)

Lesson Plan Two with Worksheets (PDF)

Lesson Plan Three with Worksheets (PDF)


Module Goals: By completing this module, teachers will be able to use geographic concepts, geospatial technology, and ArcGIS Online technology to teach about urban heat islands and their impact on public health.

Module Design: This module is designed to show how math, science, and social science teachers can use geographic concepts, geospatial technology and ArcGIS Online technology to create highly engaging real-world activities to support standards- based learning in different subject areas. The module features three lessons which demonstrate how geospatial and ArcGIS Online technology can be used to support geographic investigations of urban heat islands. The module also demonstrates how thinking geographically about urban heat islands involves important mathematical and scientific concepts and skills.

Geography offers an important perspective on urban heat islands, such as the effect urban heat islands have on the physical and human environment, and who is affected by these conditions. This module will introduce teachers to geographic terms and concepts that are useful for describing and explaining urban heat islands. The geospatial technology and GIS maps supporting this module offer a powerful means to understand geographic aspects of urban heat islands through maps and visualization tools that show the land surface temperatures, median household income, and extreme heat vulnerability. The module also discusses how geospatial technology is used to identify these areas in an effort to help mitigate the problem. These are matters that are easily introduced into math and science classes.