Teacher Toolkit

Green Guide Elementary


Elementary School Green Guide

It‘s Getting Hot in Here!


Pre-Visit Activity


  1. Students will explore reasons why different colors cause a variation in temperature when they are exposed to the same environmental conditions.
  2. Students will predict the outcome, conduct the experiment, and explain the results.
  3. Students will understand the causes of the “heat island effect”.


When trees and plants are cut down and replaced with certain heat absorbing surfaces, the increase in temperature results in the use of more energy needed for air conditioning as well as higher levels of air pollution. The question is, does color make a difference on the absorption of heat?


  • 2 identical jars filled with equal amounts of cold water
  • 1 sheet of black construction paper, and 1 sheet of aluminum foil
  • 2 thermometers
  • Sun lamp or some type of small lamp

Time: 15 minutes to set up, 10 minutes for each temperature check over two hours, 20 minutes for discussion.



  1. On the sheet attached to this lesson, ask students to predict what will happen to the temperature of the water in two jars if one is covered in black paper and the other is covered in aluminum foil.
  2. After both jars have been filled to the same level with cold water, roll the black construction paper into a tube (tape ends) and insert the jar into the tube. Do the same thing with the aluminum foil and the other jar.
  3. Label the jar with the black paper “A” and the aluminum foil covered jar “B”.
  4. Insert one thermometer into each jar. Record the temperature on the sheet attached to this lesson.
  5. Place both jars the exact same distance from the light source. The jars should be close to the light source or the results may not work as well.
  6. After one hour, re-check and record the temperatures.
  7. Check again after another hour and record the temperatures of both jars.
  8. Ask students to get into groups of 2-3 students and brainstorm why they think the results came out as they did. Ask students to write their ideas on the paper attached to this lesson. Share with the class.


Discuss with the class the fact that dark surfaces absorb more heat than light surfaces. In their jar, this heat was moved to the water. The heat energy that fell on the aluminum foil bounced back, and did not affect the water‘s temperature. The same thing happens with air! Discuss what this means within a city environment where there are dark roofs, dark pavement, and darker materials used in construction. The heat caused from using dark materials in a city is called the “heat island effect.” This means it is much hotter in areas that are subject to dark colors than in other areas where lighter colors or more plants are available. Discuss with students their own perceptions of heat when they are on the blacktop in the summer, as opposed to when they are in the grass. Tell students that when they go on their field trip to the World of Coca-Cola, they will learn about how The Coca-Cola Company has worked to minimize the heat island effect around their building. Ask students to predict how the company might have done that.


Ask students to go to the last section of their handout included with this lesson. Ask students to write one paragraph about how color affects heat.

It’s Getting Hot in Here!
An Experiment about Heat and Color


Predict what will happen to the temperature of the water in two jars if one is covered in black paper and the other is covered in aluminum foil.

Record the temperature of the two jars below:

Beginning “A” “B”
One Hour “A” “B”
Two Hours “A” “B”

Why do you think this happened?

Write one paragraph describing how heat affects color.

Self-Guided Tour for Teachers
Elementary School Green Guide

Note to Teachers:
The Green Guide may be added to either the Social Studies or Language Arts links & lesson plans with ease. As your class proceeds through the tour, you can bring your students‘ attention to ways The Coca-Cola Company has worked to make the World of Coca-Cola building as environmentally compatible as possible.

The Green World of Coca-Cola

Location – Pemberton Place, just outside the World of Coca-Cola

As you look at the building from the Baker St. entrance to Pemberton Place, you will notice an area of plants and landscaping to your left.

This area demonstrates what The Coca-Cola Company has done to address the cyclical Georgia drought issue as well as decrease the heat island effect in this part of downtown Atlanta.


  1. When the World of Coca-Cola opened on May 24, 2007, Pemberton Place was filled with streams, waterfalls and ponds. It was beautiful, but as Georgia went deeper into another cyclical drought, The Coca-Cola Company became concerned about the 34,000 gallons needed to keep the stream and waterfall flowing each day. To be more environmentally conscious regarding the drought, the company decided that the water features had to be removed. The water features were filled in with 640 cubic yards of dirt. The area was then planted with 2000 drought tolerant plants such as liriope, cleyera, and knock out roses. Other areas that were changed from outdoor water features into areas that were more drought-friendly will be noted later in the tour.
  2. green-guide-pemberton_signThe opening of Pemberton Place added 5 acres of green space to downtown Atlanta. Urban green space is important because it provides habitat for birds, insects, and other organisms and prevents soil erosion. Trees absorb pollutants in the air. Just 20 trees can replace the pollution from a car driven 60 miles a day. Since there are so many cars in the city, trees are especially important. Plants reduce the urban heat island effect that happens when buildings, asphalt, and concrete absorb radiation from the sun and cause air temperatures to rise. Plants reduce this effect because they shade heat-absorbing surfaces. Green spaces also reduce noise pollution. But that’s not all. Urban green spaces give people a place to play, gather and rest. In fact, you may enjoy eating your lunch in Pemberton Place today!
  3. Bring students‘ attention to the color of the paving, building, and the roof. All of these areas are finished in light colors in what is called “cool landscaping”. When cool landscaping is used, the sun is reflected off of the surface rather than being absorbed. Why is this important? Less heat radiates off of the lighter colored surfaces than dark surfaces.

Location – Inside Lobby

green-guide-lobby_signOn March 5th, 2008 The Coca-Cola Company announced that the World of Coca-Cola had achieved the official “green” status as an environmentally friendly building. This means that Coca-Cola has followed the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. To end your tour, review what your students have seen at the World of Coca-Cola that demonstrates their efforts to be environmentally friendly.

Location – The area just outside of the Hub as seen from inside the building.

Bring your students‘ attention to the area outside the windows located on the left side of the Hub.

The Coca-Cola Company has used plants plus light colored paving materials to help reduce the heat island effect.


  1. For a quick review of what your students learned in Pemberton Place, ask your students why The Coca-Cola Company would put so many plants around their building, and why all of their paving colors are light in color.
  2. Ask your students to look around the Hub at the walls. All paint used at the World of Coca-Cola is low Volatile Organic Compound paint. Why is low VOC paint important? Let‘s look at regular paint first. Regular paint has almost 10,000 chemicals in it, 300 of them are toxic. This means that some people can have breathing problems, allergies, and other health problems caused from the fumes that come from regular paint. In fact, paint is considered to be one of the worst environmental polluters. Low VOC paint reduces the toxins from paint, doesn‘t pollute groundwater, and is easily cleaned up with soap and water. Using low VOC paint results in a very low odor while wet and once it is dried. This improves indoor air quality. So go ahead, take a deep breath. The air at the World of Coca-Cola is squeaky clean!
  3. green-guide-hub_signBring your students’ attention to the few lights used at the ceiling level in the Hub. Very little energy is needed to light the Hub during the day because the building features large windows and faces in a northwest/southeast exposure to the sun. This cuts down on electrical usage because the sun does most of the work! The building was designed to optimize energy efficiency and is 30 percent more energy efficient than a conventionally constructed building. This is important because buildings use 1/3 of all the energy and 2/3 of all electricity produced in the United States.

Location – Window between Pop Culture and the 4-D theater (Second Floor)

As you look out this window, you will notice green glass as well as many plants that were used to replace a water feature.

The area outside this window demonstrates how The Coca-Cola Company has attempted to keep the look of a water feature, while doing it in an environmentally friendly manner. This area was altered in response to the cyclical drought out state experienced.


  1. Coca-Cola has used recycled, tumbled green glass to represent the waterfall that was removed due to the drought. It is meant to represent the look and reflective qualities of water. Drought tolerant plants have been added at the bottom of this area. Once again, this helps to reduce the heat island effect in this area of downtown Atlanta.

Location-Taste It (Second Floor)

In the Taste-It room, bring your students‘ attention to the poster called “Packaging from Nature”.

This poster is a flow chart about how corn becomes a cup. It demonstrates how The Coca-Cola Company has replaced plastic with a material that is easily biodegradable.


  1. Read the poster “Packaging from Nature” with your class. Discuss how a flow chart works and follow the process from beginning to end. Explain to students that The Coca-Cola Company has put thought into not only providing a biodegradable cup in the Taste-It room, but they are also working on a biodegradable bottle that will soon hold Coca-Cola products they purchase in the future. Ask students why biodegradable products are important.

Location – The Coca-Cola Store

In this room, students will notice the two types of floors used in the store and discuss the materials they are made from. They will also view products made from recycled materials that are for sale in the store. The Coca-Cola Company knows that the way to change behavior is through education.

The Coca-Cola Company has encouraged the use of recycled materials and supports artists who produce products made in this way. Written descriptions located on each product give consumers a short education in how the product uses recycled materials as well as the people who produce the product.



  1. Bring your students’ attention to the floor in The Coca-Cola Store. The wood floor is actually made of bamboo. This plant grows more quickly and is more sustainable than wood, and is just as strong. For example, the bamboo in The Coca-Cola Store (and also in Pop Culture) has endured the feet of over one million visitors each year.
  2. Bring your students’ attention to the black rubber section of the floor in The
    Coca-Cola Store. This floor is made from recycled tires. The tires are shredded and turned into crumbs for many products, including flooring.
  3. Go to the wall to your right as you entered. Located on this wall are a number of products made from recycled Coca-Cola products. Be sure to read a few of the tags on some of the products as they give information on how the product is made. For example, there are handbags made from aluminum can pop-tops, T-shirts that tell how many plastic bottles went into making the shirt, and jewelry by Kathleen Plate that is made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles.