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Beat Check with The Oregonian


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, Geography, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Podcast, 18 minutes, 7 seconds

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Willamette Valley / Portland Metro

The Heat Dome, Climate Anxiety and Oregon’s Future

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  • This podcast discusses the role of climate change in the deadly 2021 heat wave in the Portland area, the likelihood of a similar event occurring again, and the impact of this on the mental health of young people.
  • Students will learn why the heat wave was as deadly as it was and will take a look at how the lack of young voices in policy-making is contributing to youth anxiety.
Teaching Tips


  • A large portion of this podcast is dedicated to talking about the climate anxiety that young people feel, which many students may be able to relate to.
  • This podcast does a great job of defining some unknown terms within the conversation.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the terms heat dome, heat wave, confluence, and off-shore flow.
  • Students who struggle with auditory processing and/or English language learners may benefit from either slowing the podcast playback speed or using a speech-to-text tool to be able to read and listen at the same time.
  • There is an advertisement in the middle of the podcast.


  • After listening, geography students can look at a temperature map of Oregon during the 2021 heat dome to compare the temperatures throughout the state and discuss why some areas might have experienced higher temperatures.
  • This podcast can launch a discussion in social studies classes about the relationship between the urban heat island effect, the locations where this effect is most notably seen, and the demographics of the people that live in those locations. 
  • This podcast can also launch a discussion about students' feelings associated with climate issues and whether they are facing any climate anxiety.
  • After listening, civics classes can think of ways that policy-makers can involve young people in the decision-making process.
  • Science classes can discuss how the different weather events contributed to the 2021 heat dome and the health effects of excess heat on body systems and maintaining homeostasis.
Scientist Notes
This podcast episode explains the unique climate circumstances that lead to the deadly heat dome over Oregon in 2021. This episode is well researched and all information presented is scientifically accurate. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.10.9-12 Analyze the impact and the appropriate roles of personal interests and perspectives on the application of civic virtues, democratic principles, constitutional rights, and human rights.
      • D2.Civ.11.9-12 Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
      • D2.Civ.2.9-12 Analyze the role of citizens in the U.S. political system, with attention to various theories of democracy, changes in Americans' participation over time, and alternative models from other countries, past and present.
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.3.9-12 Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
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