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Authors

Xinran Wang, Anthony Leiserowitz

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Social Studies, Civics, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Explore Climate Change in the American Mind

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Synopsis
  • This interactive graph shows Americans' beliefs on climate change and how they differ over time, by demographic indicators, and by political affiliation.
  • The data includes a description, the methodology, and the survey questions asked.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This resource shows the similarities and differences in views about climate change over time by demographic, age, political affiliation, and education level.
  • The graph is simple to toggle by question type and voter status.

Additional Prerequisites 

  • Students should have a basic understanding of climate change. If looking at specific policies, teachers can preview the terms pollutants, renewable energy, and CO2.

Differentiation 

  • Students can be given independent time to explore the data and answer questions of interest.
  • Students can be grouped and asked to work on the following questions:
    • What surprised you about this data?
    • What didn't surprise you?
    • How has this data changed over time?
    • How do education level, age, and political affiliation change how people view the climate crisis?
    • Only adults over 18 were polled. If the scientists interviewed high school students, how do you think this data would change?

    • Other resources related to these topics include this lesson plan about public opinion and bias around climate change and this tool to generate customizable data on U.S. climate opinions.

    Scientist Notes
    This resource provides data on the perceived risk of climate change in the USA. The YPCCC and Mason 4C have provided quality data over the years to demonstrate changes in public opinion and the risk perception, beliefs, attitude, and behavior about climate change. The sampling method was cross-sectional to infer a valid conclusion. However, educators should please note that this won't be necessary for replication as the sample size was small. Thus, for students in this grade level, this resource is recommended.
    Standards
  • Mathematics
    • Statistical Reasoning: Statistics and Probability: Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (9-12)
      • HSS.ID.C.9 Distinguish between correlation and causation.
    • Statistical Reasoning: Statistics and Probability: Making Inferences and Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
      • HSS.IC.B.6 Evaluate reports based on data.
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