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FireWorks curriculum and trunk materials

Abstract

FireWorks is an educational program about the science of wildland fire, designed for students in grades 1-12. The program consists of a curriculum and a trunk of materials, including laboratory equipment, specimens, and kits of specialized materials for teachers. 

Purpose

FireWorks provides students with interactive, hands-on materials to study wildland fire. It is highly interdisciplinary and students learn about properties of matter, chemical and physical processes, ecosystem fluctuations and cycles, habitat and survival, and human interactions with ecosystems. Students using FireWorks ask questions, gather information, analyze and interpret it, and communicate their discoveries.

The FireWorks program consists of a curriculum and a trunk of materials, including laboratory equipment, specimens, and kits of specialized materials for educators. While many of the activities can be used in any ecosystem, many are applicable to specific regions. FireWorks has specialized curricula to learn about:

Image of educational materials used in the Fireworks program.
Image of educational materials used in the Fireworks program.

Goals and Objectives

To increase student understanding:

  • of the physical science of combustion, especially in wildland fuels
  • that plant communities have many kinds of plants and animals, which change over time and influence one another
  • that fire is an important natural process in many ecosystems
  • that native plants and animals have ways to survive fire or reproduce after fire, or both
  • that people influence fire-dependent wildlands in the areas where they live
  • that people respond in different ways to fire-related questions

To enhance scientific literacy and critical thinking about science-related social issues among students, FireWorks aims to increase student skills in:

  • making observations
  • classifying information
  • measuring, counting, and computing
  • stating and testing hypotheses
  • describing observations, both qualitatively and quantitatively
  • explaining reasoning
  • identifying and expressing responses to science-related questions
  • working in teams to solve problems
  • critical listening and reading

 

Teacher Resources

Photo of educators using the Fireworks educational materials.
Photo of educators using the Fireworks educational materials.
Full curricula, as well as information on how to borrow FireWorks trunks, are available on the FireWorks website.

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).

Publications

Smith, Jane Kapler ; McMurray, Nancy E. , 2004
Parkinson, Tamara M. ; Force, Jo Ellen ; Smith, Jane Kapler , 2003
Thomas, Linda R. ; Walsh, James A. ; Smith, Jane Kapler , 2000