Fire Education Unit Plan
This educational resource package will assist teachers in promoting student learning through the exploration of outcome-based and diverse lessons plans that focus on locally relevant topics.
FireEd will bring the issues and excitement of forest firefighting to your classroom.
Even more important, students will learn some ways they can help prevent forest fires from starting and spreading in their communities. This resource was written by a B.C. teacher and forest firefighter, along with a project team of experts.
Unit Activity Preview: "Fire Starts"
Below is a sample of one of the many activities and corresponding Blackline Masters worksheets included in this unit plan. To view the whole Fire Education resource package, click the download button below.
- photo courtesy of BC Wildfire Service Facebook
Grade Level: Primary
Duration: ~45 minutes
Curriculum Link: Mathematics – visual representation & graphing data
Materials: All blackline master worksheets are included.
Evaluation form (blackline master #1)
Fire start information sheet (blackline master #3)
Fire starter role-playing cards – one for each student (blackline master #4)
Pie Graph sheets – one for each student (blackline master #5)
Prescribed Learning Outcomes:
Students will demonstrate their understanding that wild fires are started by both nature and by humans through the creation of a pie graph. Students will be able to describe that Lightning (and a rare chance of other natural causes) causes approximately 60% of wildfires.
Human activity causes approximately 40% of wildfires
The most important thing about human-caused wildfires is that they are preventable. The easiest way to fight a wildfire is to prevent it from starting.
Humans start wildfires in several ways, either by accident or intentionally. For example:
Open burning (such as campfires that weren’t put out properly)
Vehicle and engine use
Industrial activity that may cause sparks
Fireworks, Tiki torches
Discarding burning items (cigarettes and other smoking products like marijuana)
Historical information is here. Season summaries and historical fires of note across B.C. is here. Try to find a historical or current fire near your area that students may be familiar with.
The students will participate in a brief role-playing exercise that involves reporting wildfires using the icons we’ve included for cutting out in the blackline masters. Following this activity, the teacher will facilitate a class discussion regarding the various ways in which fires start in BC. Students will then complete a simple pie graph to illustrate this new knowledge.
Suggested Instructional Strategies:
1. Begin with a question:
“How do forest fires start?” Facilitate a class discussion that leads your students to the realization that fire starts can be categorized into two main groups: Human-Caused (40%) and Lightning (60%) starts.
2. Hand out a role-playing fire start card (cut out graphics from the blackline master #4) to each of your students so that there is an approximate 60% and 40% representation among the fire start graphic types, recognizing that human-caused have multiple kinds, from industry, rail, camping, smoking, arson and even cycling!
3. The teacher will play the role of the Provincial Forest Fire Reporting Center agent, “taking calls” from the class to report fires.
4. Each student who pretends to make a call must tell how their fire was started (as shown on their card icon).
5. Model how a pie graph is constructed, provide each student with a piece of masking tape and have the class post their fire start icon cards on a large model pie graph at the front of the class.
6. Hand out the pie graph sheets (blackline master #5) and provide some time for your students to independently practice this task.
This approximately 60/40 per cent pie chart graphic (backline master #5) is suitable for sharing individually or enlarging . . . or you can just draw one on a whiteboard and let students attach their role-play graphic cards to the appropriate area.
Students are evaluated on their ability to successfully craft a pie graph which represents the various two main causes of fire starts in BC’s forests (see blackline master #1 and appropriate rubric).
This unit plan was created in collaboration with FORED BC Society, Ministry of Forests, and professional wildland firefighters, working together to contribute their years of experience, knowledge, and passion about firefighting.
- copyright FORED BC Society, a sustainability education charity established in 1925