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HEART Force Wildfire Game

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

In this interactive game, students solve the challenges that their community faces during the course of a wildfire event by using available individual and community resources. Students work in three zone response teams to determine the responses they will take in each round as the wildfire situation evolves.

This activity takes one 60 minute class period.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • The game is moderately complex due to the number and types of resources and responses which players can choose. It is recommended that the facilitator and/or students watch the introductory video to become familiar with the structure of the game.
  • This game is designed to be played in a classroom setting after completion of an introductory unit on wildfires.
  • This game is played in teams of 4-5 and takes 50-70 minutes to play, but play can be split across multiple class periods.
  • Once materials and teams are introduced, play progresses through a series of three rounds in which a wildfire event occurs and worsens. As the wildfire threat moves closer to the community, teams are required to complete tasks to respond using the resources and skills they have available.
  • In each round, each team must determine which resource cards to play with for that round and then are given tasks to complete that do not necessarily match the resources they have chosen. Teams must use creativity and skill to solve as many tasks as they can.
  • Play can end after any round, but it is recommended to leave time for a brief reflection and discussion session at the end.
  • An extension could be to discuss the economic impact of wildfire.
  • It is a game that is relatable in the West and in wildland and National Forest areas.

About the Science

  • This resource provides an activity for exploring how people can prepare for and mitigate the effects of wildfire on their community.
  • The game emphasizes the impacts of natural hazards such as wildfire on human communities and the role of youth in an effective wildfire response.
  • The game helps students understand the steps and resources necessary to respond to a wildfire, and how community members can decrease their vulnerability to future wildfire events. It also emphasizes resilience and the need to plan ahead.
  • Resource developed in collaboration with expert scientists - no CLEAN expert science review was needed.

About the Pedagogy

  • The activity is a game in which players take on roles of community members and make decisions about which resources and skills they will use to respond to a wildfire event.
  • This game encourages the development of an understanding of how individual community members can contribute to wildfire response efforts.
  • Students develop reasoning and negotiating skills as they decide which resources and skills to apply to the completion of tasks and challenges.
  • This game encourages cooperation and collaboration between community members through the sharing of skills and resources to solve challenges. Students get points to cooperate with other teams.
  • This game is part of a larger curricula around wildfire and can be combined with case-study examples that prepare students to imagine what a wildfire in their community might look like, as well as providing activities to engage with wildfire data.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • A script is provided to guide the facilitator through the steps of the game.
  • Teachers may want to watch the online video tutorial on how to run the game.
  • The cards are black line mastered, such that being printed in black and white would be okay.
  • The community map in the video instructions is just an example. Teachers are encouraged to create their own community map for use in their classroom.

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

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