Experiment - is there a relationship between natural light intensity and temperature?

Experiment “Is there a Relationship between Natural Light and Temperature”

Equipment  required:       SDG STEM Starter kit (MK01)

Project Duration:              2 hours

Location:                           Around home or school, open environment and outside

Subjects:                           Mathematics, Physics, Geography

                                          Basics of electronics and IoT



  • Is there a correlation between natural light intensity and temperature?
  • Does the same relationship exist with artificial light intensity and temperature?


  • Understanding the relationship between natural light intensity and temperature
  • Understanding how and why objects heat up in natural light
  • Understanding the difference between full sun and shade from trees or roofs

Prior Learning        

  • Planning
  • Understanding the difference between artificial light and natural light
  • Identifying which data to collect to answer the questions being posed
  • Identifying different locations that will allow for variations in data to be observed
  • Assembling the SDG STEM kit, collecting data, using dashboard for data analysis
  • Report writing

Learning Objectives:

  • Planning a project towards a desired outcome
  • Answering questions as posed
  • Linking theory of light with data collected to explain the theory
  • Understanding nature, laws of nature, how they impact our lives
  • Using technology to collect and analyse data
  • Effective communication

Useful resources    

Suggestions and Tips


  • Ensure that the data to be collected is temperature, light (Lux), with UV Index optional
  • Select a number of different locations for data collection. For example, in full sun on grass, in full sun on tarmac, in the shade under a tree, in the shade under a solid roof, under a car-port or shade cloth cover
  • Plan the route from one location to the next, so that you are most effective
  • Draw up a table to fill in as you collect your data
  • For ease of plotting later, allocate short names or acronyms to locations (e.g. full sun on tarmac as FST, full sun grass as FSG)

Data collection:

  • At each location, it’s a good idea to let the SDG STEM kit acclimatise by waiting a full minute before recording the data
  • As this is a light project, the orientation of the sensors is key to accuracy of results. It is recommended that the kit is orientated horizontally so that the sensors face the sky

Data analysis and interpretation:

  • For optimal learning, hand draw the graph at first
  • Use data bounds, by identifying the maximum and minimum of each data type (temperature, light intensity Lux, and UV Index if selected)
  • The data should be plotted with light intensity on one axis and temperature on the other axis (doesn’t matter which axes)
  • Each data point should be labelled with the location description or acronym

Extensions and expansions:

  • The project can be repeated on different days and in different seasons, as long as the locations are identical for direct comparison. This extension will demonstrate that sunny days are warmer than cloudy ones, and that in winter and summer the warmth is related to the sunlight intensity, which is in turn a function of the angle of the rays
  • Adding UV Index data will add a further dimension to the project, as different screening materials can be compared. Which provides better UV protection, a fabric umbrella or a tree?

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