Factors in Wildfires
There are three components that affect wildfires, temperature, wind, and moisture. Ask your students to come up with these components. Since they have watched this episode and/or segments they should be able to come up with at least one, if not all of these components. Have a brief discussion, allowing students to share the components they came up with, decide as a class which ones are valid or not valid and why.
Provide students with the three maps on pages 11–13 of the PDF lesson plan. Have students work in groups of three to analyze the maps. They will need to work together and be able to answer questions about all three maps.
Pose these questions for the students:
- What is the map about?
- What does the x and y axis tell you?
- What does the key tell you?
- Decide if the trend line is downward or upward and whether or not that is a positive or negative for our earth system.
- Summarize in 2-3 sentences, what the data tells the investigator (student). In essence, put the data into words.
Share out as a class. Allow students from each group the opportunity to share the responses to one or two of the questions associated with one of the three maps.
Again students will work in their groups of three to reanalyze the maps checking for a correlation between the three data sets, temperature, precipitation, and drought. Students need to answer these two questions in their science notebooks:
- Is there a correlation between the data presented in all three maps? Yes or No, and explain.
- If there is a correlation is it negative or positive – meaning is this good news for earth systems or bad news? Negative or Positive, and explain.
- If there is a correlation, what is the connection to wildland fires? Do the trends lead us to predict an increase or decrease in wildland fires? Increase or Decrease, and explain.
- What would your predictions for CO2 be based on your response to question 5C. *Special Note* Students may or may not understand the word “correlation” from math class. If needed, provide the following information for the term correlation.
“co” = together “relation” is Latin for bring back
When two or more sets of data are strongly linked together, there appears to be a connection or relationship among the data sets.
As students are working together in their groups to answer these questions, provide the class with charts as a way to share the direction the class is leaning in their understanding. Do this for each question in the series. Use tally marks or strip Post-Its for the charts.
After students have completed working in their notebooks and have placed their responses on the 5 charts, spend some time talking about the responses to each question. The desired outcome is that all groups see evidence of a correlation between all maps and that this correlation negatively effects the earth’s systems and will increase the quantity and severity of wildland fires. Lastly, you want students to conclude that with increased fires come increased CO2 in the atmosphere which contributes to climate change.