Scientists project that in Philadelphia it's very likely that the number of heavy downpours will increase due to climate change.
Ask students if they have ever seen a parking lot in a heavy rainstorm. Have them describe what it looks like. If it is difficult to elicit a response to this question, show a short video clip of a parking lot in a rainstorm. Or you could show pictures from of a parking lot in a rainstorm. Your goal is to have students understand that we are trying to manage storm water and prepare for the effects of climate change. Here is a suggestion of a video to show.
Rectangular plastic containers (one for each group)
3 flat sponges (for each group)
Spray bottle (one for each group)
Aluminum tray (one for each group)
Beaker (one for each group)
Graduated cylinder (one for each group)
(NOTE: This activity could be a bit wet. Be ready with paper towels or do this outside!)
Take a square plastic container. This represents a house. Place the container in an aluminum tray to catch water. (The aluminum tray represents the sewer system and river it is connected to)
Spray the top of the container for 30 seconds, simulating a rainstorm.
Pour the water from the tray into a beaker and then into a graduated cylinder to measure the amount of "rain" that has fallen.
Repeat the first step but this time, place flat sponges on the "roof" of the house. These sponges represent a green roof. Spray the top of the container for 30 seconds, simulating a rainstorm.
Pour the water from the tray into a beaker and then into a graduated cylinder to measure the amount of water that reached the "sewer system" and "river" this time.
Compare the two amounts. Students should see that the "green roof" absorbs more water than the regular roof, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Ask the question: What conclusions can you make about water management and green roofs?
Philly Watersheds: Green Roofs