FireWorks is an educational program about the science of wildland fire, designed for students in grades 1-10. The program consists of a curriculum and a trunk of materials, including laboratory equipment, specimens, CDs, books, and kits of specialized materials for teachers. FireWorks reaches approximately 2,000 students per year.
Wildland fire provides a rich context for education because understanding of fire requires integration of several important concepts: properties of matter, ecosystem fluctuations and cycles, plant and animal habitat and survival, and human interactions with ecosystem. FireWorks content focuses on the physical science of fire behavior, human influences on fire, and fire ecology in the northern Rocky Mountains and North Cascades. The curriculum has also been adapted to Colorado ecology (implemented by Colorado Project Learning Tree) and ecology of the Missouri River country (from the northern Rocky Mountain Front to the tallgrass prairies).
To increase student understanding:
To enhance scientific literacy and critical thinking about science-related social issues among students, FireWorks aims to increase student skills in:
Story Time is a series of narratives illustrated by feltboard materials, appropriate for children at the preschool and primary levels. The four Story Time modules describe ecology, succession, and fire for forests dominated by ponderosa pine, forests dominated by lodgepole pine, forests dominated by subalpine fir and meadows with whitebark pine, and ecosystems in the Missouri River Basin.
Story Time modules include instructions and templates for constructing feltboard narratives, materials, and backgrounds. Stories can be told in a single session or divided into chapters. Breaking it up may keep students more fully engaged and offer them time to absorb the complexity and/or investigate the ecology before moving on.
Creepy crawly fires: Feltboard kit for ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir forest-This feltboard story describes the fire ecology of ponderosa pine forests of the Northern Rockies and Intermountain regions. The focus area extends from the northern Rocky Mountains to the Northern Cascades and includes the “intermountain” region between these two mountain ranges.
Roaring tree-top fires: Feltboard kit for lodgepole pine/subalpine fir forest-This feltboard story describes the fire ecology of lodgepole pine forests of the Northern Rockies and Intermountain regions. The focus area extends from the northern Rocky Mountains to the Northern Cascades and includes the “intermountain” region between these two mountain ranges.
Rollercoaster fires: Feltboard kit for whitebark pine/subalpine fir forest-This feltboard story describes the fire ecology of whitebark pine forests of the northern Rocky Mountains and the Northern Cascades, including the “intermountain” region between these two ranges.
Dancing fires in Missouri River Country: FireWorks "Story Time" for the Northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain Front-This feltboard story describes the varying patterns of fire that can be found in the ecosystems of the vast Missouri River Basin.
Please see the FireWorks Trunk Contents in the Downloads & Users Guides box to assemble individual activities. We also provide a tutorial for making your own Story Time materials.
Educator workshops are offered each year to teach educators, community leaders, and agency communicators how to use FireWorks. Two research projects have shown that FireWorks increases student and adult understanding of wildland fire (see FireWorks: Hands-on Education).