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6th, 7th, 8th


Social Studies


90 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Climate Career: Chief Heat Officer

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Feb 28, 2024
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In this lesson, students explore an emerging climate career and create solutions to the problems of extreme heat in their local community.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students describe a time when they felt too hot and learn about a new job to address extreme heat in cities.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students develop a compelling question about Chief Heat Officers (CHOs), then read about and compare different global CHOs.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students imagine they are their school or community’s Chief Heat Officer, identify an issue, and create a solution.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students explore a new career that was developed in response to climate change.

  • Students compare and contrast the main issues and solutions to extreme heat around the globe.

  • Teachers can use this as a standalone lesson to practice developing compelling questions or at the start of a research unit to teach initial research skills.

  • Students engage with their school or local community to develop real solutions for addressing extreme heat.

  • The Glossary slide in the Teacher Slideshow features eight keywords from the articles used in the lesson.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of the relationship between extreme heat and climate change. 

  • Students can use this resource to learn how extreme heat affects people around the world.

  • Teachers can review both articles in the Investigate section and decide which one to assign based on student reading levels or create differentiated reading groups if needed.


  • Students can research how extreme heat disproportionately affects lower-income communities, using this video about Arizona.

  • Students who need more reading support can be assigned the second article (option 2) which focuses on three Chief Heat Officers or they can “popcorn” read in a small reading group.

  • Students who need more support can work in pairs to develop a shared compelling question or be given a question starter. See the Teacher Answer Key for examples.

  • Students can share their presentations on a subsequent day.

  • Students can engage in further research into a particular region or Chief Heat Officer.

  • One of the CHOs in this article mentions the differences among the terms climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and climate resilience. Students can research and write a report on the differences.

  • Students can explore if “Chief Cold Officers” are needed in communities that experience extreme cold or compare and contrast problems between extreme heat and extreme cold.

Scientist Notes

Students can learn about heatwaves, their effects on the environment and human health, and how to collaborate to develop measures to lessen them, all in this lesson. Additionally, they will learn a great deal about the duties of a Chief Heat Officer and how to become one. After an assessment of the lesson materials, this lesson meets our science credibility requirements.


Primary Standards

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
      • D1.1.6-8 Explain how a question represents key ideas in the field.
      • D1.2.6-8 Explain points of agreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a compelling question.

Supporting Standards

  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.3 Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
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