Marketing solutions for extreme weather | BCHydro Power Smart for Schools
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Marketing solutions for extreme weather

Create a public service announcement to teach others about passive design solutions to extreme weather events.

Activity Image
1 hour
Group work


Students create a public service announcement (PSA) to provide information to others on staying cool in summer extreme weather events.

BC Hydro


What you'll need

Student tools for creating PSAs depending on class access and choice

  • Computers 
  • Devices for recording audio and/or video
  • Blank paper and colouring pens

  1. Complete the “Moving to Mars” activity and “Passive design for heat domes”. Start by sharing that humans are exploring the possibility of human colonies on Mars, which poses many physical and psychological challenges. Make the connection that learning about Mars can also help us adapt to a changing climate here on Earth.  
  2. Have a discussion about the difficulties of living in extreme environments, like Antarctica, and living through extreme weather events, like heat domes, wildfires, flooding and tornadoes. 
  3. Explore passive solutions to keep cool in extreme heat before using energy to cool indoors. Some ideas to stay cool in the heat include: 
    • drinking lots of water
    • limiting use of the oven and stove
    • closing curtains, blinds, and shutters appropriately
    •  weather stripping your home (this helps with heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer)
    •  limiting outdoor activity especially midday
    • wearing loose, lightweight, light-coloured clothing
    • planting trees, shrubs or potted plants in front of windows (this can shade sun on a balcony too)
    • placing a wet towel on your feet
    • creating cross ventilation by opening doors and windows
    • finding a lake, ocean or pool to cool down in
    • checking out community ‘cold zones’ like libraries where you can gather, read a book and cool down
  4. These solutions can conserve energy, keep us comfortable, and save money. Discuss with students passive cooling design, which means to optimize the use of natural light, nature, and air movement to maintain a comfortable environment reducing the need for air conditioning to cool the space.
  5. Place students in pairs or small groups. Tell them they'll be creating a public service announcement (PSA) to help people stay cool in summer. Explain that a PSA is a short informational clip that's meant to raise the audience's awareness about an important issue. 
  6. Share this BC Hydro PSA video: "How to use window coverings to help keep your home cool" 
  7. Here are PSA formats that students can choose:
    • Magazine advertisement
    • Podcast or radio ad (audio only, approximately one minute)
    • Social media video (approximately one minute)
  8. Have students begin by brainstorming which idea or ideas they want to share. 
  9. Next, give them time to design their advertisement or write and practice a script. Each PSA should include at least one tip to stay cool in extreme heat. Ideas should be practical and accessible for everyone and reduce the need for energy like air conditioning. Students should consider how to hook the audience so they remember and use the tip.
  10. After completing their PSAs, groups can take turns sharing their PSAs with the class or posting on social media.

Modify or extend this activity

  • Increase the reach of the PSAs by displaying them in the school, sharing them with parents online or doing presentations in other classrooms
  • Explore the Power Smart for Schools activity “How can we inspire action” to learn about creating a persuasive presentation or infographic 

Curriculum Fit

Applied design, skills and technologies 6

Big idea

Design can be responsive to identified needs.


  • Computers and communications devices 
  • Digital literacy
  • Drafting
  • Entrepreneurship and Marketing
  • Media Arts

Curricular competencies

Applied design

Understanding context, ideating, making and sharing

Arts education 6

Big ideas

  • Engaging in creative expression and experiences expands people’s sense of identity and community
  • Dance, drama, music, and visual arts are each unique languages for creating and communicating


Processes, materials, movements, technologies, tools, strategies, and techniques to support creative works 

Curricular competencies

  • Exploring and Creating
  • Communicating and Documenting

Teaching Notes

Passive cooling

It's an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to cool a home. Climate change will see our average temperatures increase and extreme events such as heatwaves will occur more often. Passive cooling strategies are important to keep people healthy and safe. 

Passive cooling can include simple actions such as closing blinds and curtains at the right time to block the sun, avoiding using the stove/oven, unplugging electronics, shading windows from the outside with umbrellas or trees, switching from incandescent to LED lights and using deflective film on windows.

Passive design principles are also used to design buildings to be highly energy efficient and comfortable. These principles include using overhangs and trees to block sun, using lots of insulation, installing light coloured or vegetated roofs, triple glazed windows and designing open plan layouts to allow for air flow. Passive design can reduce the need for energy use for cooling and heating by up to 90%. Many of these concepts have been used throughout history in building design. For more details and benefits check out: What is a passive house?

For more ideas for reducing energy use while heating and cooling our homes, check out BC Hydro’s tips and technologies 


  • Assess students’ participation in brainstorming ideas to stay cool in summer without air conditioning
  • Assess students’ creativity and cooperation working in groups 
  • Assess students’ PSA impact: did the audience remember the tip and will they use it

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