This interactive resource allows students to adjust several variables and watch a digital wildfire spread.
Students will gain beneficial understandings about the factors that impact wildfires and potential strategies for stopping their spread.
This simulation is an immersive experience for students learning about wildfires.
Students will enjoy playing with the different components of the resource in order to change the outcome of the wildfire simulations.
Teachers should spend time working with the simulation to get comfortable with all the aspects before presenting to students.
Clicking "Terrain Setup" at the bottom of the simulation is how students will adjust vegetation type and drought index across all three zones. Students will also adjust wind speed and direction this way.
Younger students may require more context before using the simulation.
To access the resource itself from the CLEAN website, click "Jump to this Simulation/Interactive."
The "Teaching Tips" section on the CLEAN website provides several strong ideas for implementing this resource in your class.
Cross-curricular connections can be made in social studies classes discussing the terrain in various regions or in health classes discussing the impacts and implications of wildfires on humans.
It may be best for students to begin the simulation using only one of the three Sparks—the points at which the fire begins. After initial play with one Spark, students can add a second and third Spark to see what happens.
Consider using this simulation as a whole-class activity with younger students. On the other hand, older students may enjoy the competition of working independently toward a goal (e.g., a contest to see which student can design the fire with the shortest duration or smallest burn area).
This resource is an interactive wildfire simulator where students can set the vegetation type and drought level of three different terrain zones. Students can also set the wind speed and direction. While this is obviously a very simplistic simulator, it powerfully visualizes just how rapidly fires can spread across the terrain. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS2: Earth's Systems
MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
ETS1: Engineering Design
HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
HS-ETS1-4 Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.