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Katharine Hayhoe, Global Weirding, PBS


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


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Economics, Engineering

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin

I Live in the Midwest and Northern Great Plains—Does Climate Change Matter to Me?

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  • This video describes some of the changes occurring in the Midwest and Northern Great Plains due to climate change and discusses adaptations, economic downsides, and future risks to the region.
  • Students will learn about the risks to agriculture and communities, shifting growing seasons, decreasing glaciers and snowmelt, increasing pests and invasive species, and specific examples of efforts in Chicago to plant trees that will survive in warmer temperatures.
Teaching Tips


  • This video drives home the fact that Americans are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and highlights how negative effects can be environmental, social, and economic.
  • The video strikes a balance between describing the negative effects of climate change but also presenting learners with ideas to adapt to changes and prevent further impacts.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Learners should have a basic understanding of agriculture and the conditions needed to grow crops.
  • It may be beneficial to explain that increasing temperatures allow for more water vapor, which can affect rain and snow events or evaporation rates.
  • Provide the definitions of 500-year floods and 100-year floods to better help students understand the big changes happening already.


  • After watching the video, have students turn and talk about the concept of adapting to a changing climate and what they think can be done at a community level to ensure nature and humans thrive. 
  • Consider having students choose a different plant species from the Midwest or Northern Great Plains and research its growth requirements to determine how its growth and range might change in a changing climate.
  • This video would be excellent for students learning about ecology, agriculture, climate change in middle America, or agricultural economics.
  • In a math or economics class, learners could analyze the insurance claims related to climate disaster such as a flooding event in the Midwest like the narrator described in Chicago.
Scientist Notes
In this video, Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist discusses impacts of climate change that will affect the Midwest and Northern Great Plains. She covers how weather and extreme events and disasters will change. As a note, she mentions 500-year and 100-year floods, which is how we measure flood risk, which can sometimes be confusing for some to understand. She also discusses how plants, animals, humans, and the economy will be impacted by these changes. The video touches on many topics, which allows it to compliment or introduce several different lessons, but it may be overwhelming for some. Despite being an older resource, it is still relevant (and will likely remain so) since it covers fundamental ideas of climate change and impacts. The climate report she references is still the most recent (as of May 2023), however when it is updated the government will likely include a link to the most recent report on the site (as they have done for past reports). This information presented is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.7.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
      • 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.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 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.
      • 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’s systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
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