Teach the Earth > Urban Geology > Teaching Activity Ideas > Community Monitoring

This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

Community Monitoring

Laura Serpa
Topic: Urban environmental awareness
Course Type:intro upper level


Introduce students to concepts or hypotheses like the 'urban heat island' (D. Yow, 2007) and other characteristics that might vary from rural to urban settings for a variety of reasons. Also provide some monitoring equipment that could be used to test whether these characteristics are true in their urban setting. Have the students design an experiment (i.e. pick locations for equipment, types of equipment to put in any given place, and a plan for monitoring and recovering the measurements) in a way that will scientifically test the hypothesis. Note that the students will conduct most of the experiment. Implement either the winning design or run a test of all of the designs, assuming there are not too many. Students will be guided to compile and analyze the data and/or redesign the experiment as needed using multidisciplinary skills.


Engage students and the community
Build confidence and understanding about scientific research
build a real urban research program that can also be maintained in near real time on the web for local information and use in schools.


The usual pre/post tests, look at student outcomes--are they continuing to demonstrate an interest in science?
Are new students enrolling in the program?
No. of hits at the website.


Yow, D., 2007, Urban Heat Islands: Observations, Impacts,, and Adaptation, Geography Compass, 1227-1251.
lots of others also