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Solar Radiation Absorption Lab Activity

Solar Radiation Absorption Lab Activity
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In this lab activity, a bright light bulb is placed above two containers. One container is filled with dirt/sand and the other with water. There are 2 thermometers placed in each box, one AT the surface of the material, the other just BELOW the surface. The lamp (representing the Sun) is switched on and readings of the thermometers are taken for 10 minutes. Then, the light source is turned off and readings are taken for another 10 minutes as the materials cool. Students observe and graph the relationship between the way energy is absorbed in both land and water settings. The land heats and cools much more quickly than the water. This can lead to discussions on any weather / meteorology topic about pressure, land and sea breezes, density of air, specific heat, or even relate to astronomy units about incoming solar radiation. Graphing the data and answering the lab questions help students to make connections between the lab and the real world. Just takes a light source, two containers, dirt, water, and some colored pencils.
Total Pages
3 pages
Answer Key
N/A
Teaching Duration
40 minutes
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