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Photo by raquel raclette via Unsplash




6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts


100 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

(Not So) Slow Burn: Teaching Climate Change Through Wildfires

Last Updated:
Apr 12, 2024
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In this lesson, students learn how climate change is making wildfires worse in Oregon and across the globe and create a wildfire solution for prevention or preparation.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students brainstorm their relationship with fire, review data on wildfires in Oregon, and reflect on why wildfires are increasing in frequency in Oregon.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students watch two videos and make connections between climate change and wildfires.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students learn about climate refugees, research prevention and preparation strategies, and create a presentation to promote one of these strategies.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson can be taught in a language arts class or a science class.

  • Students make a personal connection to fire before learning about climate change’s impact on wildfires.

  • Students promote a prevention or preparation strategy to share with their class, school, or community.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It would be helpful for students to have some background knowledge of what makes fire burn. The resources Heat and Fuel and Oxygen can provide more context for students.

  • The data in the sortable table titled, Oregon Biggest Fires, comes from this article. You can access the data by clicking, “Download the data.”


  • If teachers want to provide more context on active fires in Oregon, this map provides up-to-date information.

  • This video can provide additional information and also serve as inspiration for students to create their own presentations.
Scientist Notes

This lesson allows students to learn about the causes of wildfire and how they are induced by climate change. It also highlights locations at risk to wildfires in Oregon and ways students can develop tactics to promote effective management of wildfire events. The archival data on wildfires will enable them to interpret wildfire hotspots for contingency planning. This lesson is very engaging and is recommended for classroom use.


Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to Oregon standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on the Oregon Climate Education Hub.
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