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Author

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Social Studies, English Language Arts, Health

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, California

Beat the Heat: Extreme Heat Risk Perceptions & Air Conditioning Ownership in California

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Synopsis
  • This article uses survey data and other research to show how different populations in California perceive the risk of extreme heat and the proportions of people in California that have access to air conditioning. 
  • The demographics analyzed include age, gender, political affiliation, race/ethnicity, home ownership, and housing type.
  • The article offers a number of preventative measures that individuals can take in order to protect themselves during periods of extreme heat. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Easy-to-read graphs will help students understand the data discussed in the article.
  • The article links to many other helpful articles and resources.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The first link in the article provides an excellent overview on the increase in heat waves in the United States.
  • Students should know how to read bar graphs.

Differentiation

  • Science or social studies teachers could use the graphs as an opening activity to spark curiosity as to why different populations might perceive heat risk differently. This could be a great opener to an environmental justice lesson plan.
  • Civics classes could discuss why the perceived risk of extreme heat differs for people in different political parties.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on the health risks of climate change, this article on dangerous humid heat extremes, and this video about extreme heat in Jacobabad, Pakistan.
Scientist Notes
The resource explores spatial variation of human perception and practices to cope with heat waves and other extreme weather conditions in California. It clarifies how people are disproportionately impacted by heat waves. CCAM datasets were used to complement  the field survey. The resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading (K-12)
      • R.11-12.2 Objectively and accurately summarize a complex text to determine two or more themes or central ideas and analyze their development, including how they emerge and are shaped and refined by specific details. (RI&RL)
      • R.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate an argument in applicable texts, applying a lens (e.g., constitutional principles, logical fallacy, legal reasoning, belief systems, codes of ethics, philosophies, etc.) to assess the validity or fallacy of key arguments, determining whether the supporting evidence is relevant and sufficient. (RI)
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