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HEART Force Colorado Wildfire - High School

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder

In this lesson, students analyze and synthesize data, and design local wildfire preparation strategies to answer the question "What can we learn from past wildfires to prepare for future wildfires?"

This activity takes 170 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • Teacher should familiarize themselves with data, videos, and other resources that students will be reviewing and interpreting ahead of time (particularly NOAA data in jigsaw station 3 and arcGIS map in activity 4).
  • This lesson connects to a wildfire game listed on the lesson website.
  • This lesson could be facilitated in a virtual setting. Student handouts, teacher slides, and a plethora of additional resources are provided for the teacher to use.
  • Lots of background information and resources are provided. Prep time on the teacher's part should be minimal.
  • Teachers may need to review introduction slides (videos) before presenting to the class, as students may have personal experiences with this disaster.

About the Science

  • This lesson focuses on the causes, timing, and severity of historic wildfires and areas vulnerable to wildfire in students' communities.
  • Students synthesize information from local hazard mitigation plans, NOAA, Colorado State Forest Service, the National Wildfire Protection Association, the National Climate Assessment, US Climate Resilience Toolkit, and GIS data to build understanding about the causes, timing, and severity of historic wildfires and areas vulnerable to wildfire in their community. They then design possible risk mitigation strategies for their communities.
  • Resource developed in collaboration with expert scientists - no CLEAN expert science review was needed.

About the Pedagogy

  • The lesson follows the 5E learning model, and encourages students to develop their own understandings from the scientific data that they analyze. Students share and synthesize information from multiple sources (e.g., news clips, expert interviews, text, maps) through a jigsaw activity.
  • The lesson culminates in a writing activity in which students design and present their local wildfire risk mitigation strategies in a letter to the editor. Both the teacher guide and student handouts are organized clearly and link to external resources, making it easy for the teacher and students to navigation the lesson.
  • Teacher slides, materials lists, standards alignment, learning goals, key vocabulary, and suggestions for bringing experts into the classroom are all provided.
  • Teachers may need to offer support in determining the big idea from the jigsaw activity.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • All links are active and current. No software is needed other than access to the internet.
  • Lesson materials (student handouts, slides, videos, data, etc.) are provided as website links and are available to download.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Entered the Collection: March 2021 Last Reviewed: December 2020

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