This article answers some of the questions being asked about the deadly heat waves that have been occurring across the country.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it):

The pandemic has seized large amounts of our attention and focus as we strive to address its threat and impact. Our lives have been impacted and our routines and practices altered. Yet, while we are focussed on this issue, other challenges continue to confront us. Climate change remains a threat to our health as well. We are seeing the impacts of climate change through extreme weather events that plague us. Just recently, Hurricane Ida drew considerable attention as it devastated the eastern seaboard of the United States with mass destruction and flooding. Yet out west, in British Columbia, California and other areas, forest fires raged. It can become overwhelming as we face all these challenges. This lesson will use the extreme heat waves as the study topic to help the students understand the reasons for some of these environmental developments. Through the acquisition of this knowledge, it is hoped that the students will develop a more optimistic view of the future than might otherwise be the case.

NOTE: This lesson is structured so that the work can be done individually and the results shared either remotely from home study or by in-class presentations.

Subject Area(s) covered:

World issues, environmental studies

New Terms to explain:

New normal

Materials Needed:

Access to the article and the Internet.

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson:

  • The contributing causes of these heat waves;
  • The reasons why these heat waves are occurring;
  • The actions that are being taken to help offset the impact of these developments;
  • The likelihood that these events will continue in the future

Action (here’s how we’ll do it):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students to identify major environmental events which are occurring.
  • The list should include major storms and flooding, extensive heat waves and large and numerous forest fires.
  • Indicate to them that the focus of the lesson will be on the extensive heatwaves as an indication of environmental change.
  • Provide access to the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Assign an equal number of students to one of the following three questions:
    • How are these heatwaves connected to climate change?
    • What are the major impacts of the excessive heatwaves?
    • How do we cope and what can be done to alleviate the impact of these heatwaves?
  • Indicate to the students that, in addition to understanding what is in the article, they are to research and prepare an answer to their assigned question individually and are to consult the websites identified below for additional information.

Consolidation of Learning:

Once the research has been completed, the in-class students should be grouped according to assigned question and given the opportunity to exchange information and prepare a comprehensive answer which will be presented to the class for discussion. Online students (if there are any) should use a breakout room for similar purposes. (If possible, the online students should observe the in-class discussions and also present their material in a similar fashion. If this is not possible, the online students should conduct their own

Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will:

  • Understand how heatwaves and climate change are linked;
  • Recognize the implications of these heatwaves on our lives;
  • Realize ways in which we can cope and actions we can take;
  • Understand that, although there are challenges ahead, there are actions we can take.

Confirming Activities:

Once these reports have been completed, conduct a plenary session during which the students offer ideas about how we can best move forward and things we can do to address the challenge.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • The students can explore what some countries are doing to alleviate the impacts of heatwaves.
  • The students can explore what various steps are being taken by industries and organizations to minimize the impact of excessive heatwaves on our lives.