Graduate Research Papers


Graduate Research Paper (UNI Access Only)


Climatic changes--Study and teaching (Middle school); Climatic changes--Study and teaching (Secondary); Middle school students--Iowa--Attitudes; High school students--Iowa--Attitudes;


Climate change is a topic that has been dominating our news for the past decade. Unprecedented droughts, increasingly violent storms, raging wildfires, and melting glaciers continue to take the headlines. Even though the science and evidence supports that our world is changing, there continues to be resistance to the topic and what causes it. Plenty of research has been collected on public perceptions on climate change and their opinions towards it. However, there are few studies dealing with students and their perception over the topic. Specifically, studies over students residing in the Midwestern states.

This action research project collected students' perceptions over climate change in a rural Iowa school district. A survey was given to 8th grade students and 12th grade students in order to collect their opinions and knowledge over the topic. With the help of the survey, an attempt was made to answer the following research questions:

a.) Do 8th grade students in this rural Iowa school hold different perceptions on climate change when compared to 12th grade students?

b.) What outside influences seem to affect student beliefs over climate change topics? Differences between the two age groups were discovered. Twelfth Grade students showed greater concern about the impacts of climate change and were more aware of climate change impacting Iowa. The older students also had more evidence and reasoning examples within their short answer responses. Both groups showed how outside influences such as education, the media, and their family influenced their perception of climate change.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Science Education Program

First Advisor

Lyn Countryman

Date Original

Fall 2021

Object Description

1 PDF file (109 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download