Students measure surface temperature

Schoolyard Urban Heat Studies

The Hood-CCWS Schoolyard Urban Heat Studies program trains teachers how to measure the impacts their schoolyards may have on surface, air, and water environments from increase temperatures caused by development and impervious surfaces.

Participating teachers have used the lessons from the Schoolyard Urban Heat Program to satisfy the Maryland high school curriculum requirements of biology, environmental science and earth science.

  • Warming of local temperatures can be attributed to increases in urban development when compared to rural, undeveloped land.

  • Known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, surface temperatures are warmer than forested areas, air temperatures remain warm throughout the evening and water quality impairment is noted in watersheds with as little as 10% impervious surface (IS) coverage.
  • Best Management Practices (BMPs) are used to mitigate UHI effects by decreasing temperatures of IS, increasing infiltration of rain water, and treating stormwater runoff to reduce its temperature and pollutant load.

Program Overview


  • Classroom presentations, lessons, and hands-on labs result in 9 or more outdoor field experiences on school grounds.
  • A subset of program lessons are available for use as online distance learning for when classrooms cannot meet traditionally.
  • Students conduct initial schoolyard property characterization activities using online mapping tools and outdoor schoolyard visits.
  • Classroom lessons and labs demonstrate thermal properties of water and building materials (e.g., albedo).
  • Temperature data is collected in one or more modules for comparison to a rural reference site, State maintained data sites and Maryland State Stream Use \ Water Quality Standards
  • Data and information from all three modules are compiled by students to conduct a final Schoolyard Thermal Assessment evaluating overall schoolyard impact. Assessments can be compared between schools and/or seasons.
  • Lastly, students conduct a schoolyard tour to identify existing BMPs and opportunities for additional BMP implementation.

Teacher Training and Lessons

Temperature Data Site (latest release 08/04/2021)

Link to Onset website for info on HOBO Temperature Loggers used in our Urban Heat Program

For more information about Hood-CCWS Schoolyard Urban Heat Studies, contact: Dr. Drew Ferrier, 301-696-3660

NOAA%20Image_0_0.pngProject Funding from a Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program, 2016-2022
NOAA - Chesapeake Bay Office

Teachers testing student labs

Teachers complete workshop on urban heat

Do our schoolyards act as urban heat islands?

Science teachers from Frederick County and Washington County Public Schools completed an intensive workshop on Schoolyard Urban Heat Studies Program offered by the Hood College Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies (CCWS).

    Even in winter, workshop attendees could measure the temperature differences of various land use surfaces around the conference facility.

    Hood-CCWS provides workshop on Schoolyard Urban Heat Investigations at MAEOE conference

    Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies Program Faculty Staff

    On Friday, February 9th staff from Hood College's Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies hosted a 3-hour workshop at the MAEOE Annual conference for attendees to learn how to measure potential urban heat island effects at their schoolyards.

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