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Yale Climate Opinion Maps - U.S. 2016

Peter Howe, Matto Mildenberger, Jennifer Marlon, Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale Project on Climate Change Communication

This visualization focuses on public acceptance of climate science. The set of interactive maps illustrates public opinion on a variety of climate beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy support. The data is from the Yale Project on Climate Communication.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Cross Cutting Concept, 3 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 2 Science and Engineering Practices

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educator will need to develop guiding questions to give context to the data on the maps.
  • While this tool is not a stand-alone activity, a few minutes of engaging with the maps is likely to elicit observations and questions. In particular, it can be useful to examine regional differences in attitudes about climate change. Students could also design their own questions and answers after exploring the maps.
  • It may be helpful to demonstrate the visualization for students to illustrate the many ways to display and interpret data.
  • Article on Consensus in Skeptical Science is a good resource http://www.skepticalscience.com.

About the Science

  • The information presented is useful for students to engage data on how Americans feel about different aspects of climate change and how those beliefs vary in different parts of the country.
  • Detailed data from this research is available below the main map, and links to the research are also included.
  • Graphical representation on national, state, congressional district, and county levels of people's options related to their beliefs on global warming, risk perceptions of global warming, and policy options to address climate change.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - spatially large dataset
    - model displays information from national --> counties
    - easy to use graphic

    Additional Notes:
    - There is always some concern about survey results since they are based on opinions not observations, but this resource could only become stronger with more results.
    - 18,000 respondents doesn't seem very 'large' to me, but I understand this is a huge achievement for a survey of its kind.

About the Pedagogy

  • These interactive graphics invite inquiry and engage students to consider how Americans' beliefs about climate change vary across different questions. Students can select different sets of public opinion data from a dropdown menu and the results are displayed on a map of the US. Results can be shown as a national average, statewide averages, or can be broken down by county or congressional district.
  • Visualization is intuitive to use and offers multiple opportunities to explore data.
  • Requires basic graph reading skills to interpret data.
  • Lesson plans and teacher guide are not provided with the visualization. However, the tool can be incorporated into existing lessons, or new lessons can easily be developed using the tool.
  • Free data download and details of survey methods used are provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Color coding: warm colors such as red and orange indicate agreement with climate science and policy; cool colors indicate lack of acceptance of climate science.
  • The estimates will be updated periodically when new Climate Change in the American Mind survey results are released.
  • The estimates on the maps are current as of early 2016. Stduents can also look at maps for 2014 and maps for Canada to compare current US views with those at other times and in other places.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1


MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

Science and Engineering Practices: 3

Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.

MS-P7.1:Compare and critique two arguments on the same topic and analyze whether they emphasize similar or different evidence and/or interpretations of facts.

High School

Science and Engineering Practices: 2

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Engaging in Argument from Evidence

HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P7.1:Compare and evaluate competing arguments or design solutions in light of currently accepted explanations, new evidence, limitations (e.g., trade-offs), constraints, and ethical issues

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