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Home/Curriculum resources/Mathematics of bushfire/Activity 4 - Fire and climate

Subject:

Mathematics

Year level:

Level 9

Suggested timing:

40 minute discussion on concepts, theory and examples. One 30 minute session to work on problem set 1, and one 40 minute session to work on problem set 2 in handout. Problem set 2 can involve broader class discussion and students working in groups. 

Required resources:

Handout, Laptop/tablet and internet connection

Closeup of burnt Banksia plant with open seed pods after bushfire Blue Mountains Dharug country

Activity 4 - Fire and climate

This activity is a part of the Mathematics of bushfire resource.

Burnt Banksia Plant. Blue Mountains, Dharug country. Photographer: Andrew Merry. Source: Getty Images. Used under licence. 

In this activity, students will explore the concept of fire danger rating (FDR) and its classifications, along with the forest fire danger index. They'll analyse historical changes in fire weather conditions, interpret maps and statistics, and make informed decisions based on graphical and statistical data, enhancing their understanding of the relationship between fire and climate.

Required resources

  • Handout

  • laptop/device and internet connection

Suggested supporting resources

Step by step guide

Step 1: Introduce Fire Danger Rating

Introduce the concept of Fire Danger Rating (FDR) and describe how it is used by firefighters and to warn the community of bad fire days. Introduce classification of FDR. 

Introduce the forest fire danger index and discuss how it is calculated and how it is used in scientific studies. 

Step 2: Students undertake mathematical problems

Students will undertake mathetmaical problems from the handout that include:

  • Interpreting maps/statistics about changes in fire weather and fire danger rating. 

  • Examining the research output from an example that considers historical changes in fire weather conditions in Australia. 

  • Considering the different ways of condensing and interpreting data. 

  • Interpreting graphical/statistical output relating to changes in space and time. 

  • Making decisions based on graphical/statistical output. 

Related activities within this resources:

Closeup of burnt Banksia plant with open seed pods after bushfire Blue Mountains Dharug country

Activity 1 - The geometry of fire

In this activity, students study ellipses, apply the properties to understand wind-driven fires, and estimate fire areas using scientific notation for a comprehensive grasp of fire behaviour.

Suggested timing:

30-minute discussion on concepts, theory and example problems. Two 30-minute sessions to work on assigned problems in handout.

Required resources:

Handout

Closeup of burnt Banksia plant with open seed pods after bushfire Blue Mountains Dharug country

Activity 2 - Fire behaviour (Part one)

In this two-part activity, students will delve into the concept of head fire rate of spread and explore the factors affecting it, such as wind, temperature, humidity, and topographic slope.

Suggested timing:

40 minute discussion on concepts and theory. One 40 minute session to work on problem set 1 and one 40 minute session to work on problem set 2 in handout. 

Required resources:

Handout

Closeup of burnt Banksia plant with open seed pods after bushfire Blue Mountains Dharug country

Activity 3 - Fire behaviour (Part two) 

In this two-part activity, students will explore concepts like flame angle, flame height, and fire intensity, delving into the factors influencing them, such as fuel load.

Suggested timing:

40 minute discussion on concepts, theory and examples. One 40-minute session to work on problem set in handout. 15 minutes class discussion on the two inquiry questions listed below after watching the video.

Required resources:

Handout, Laptop/tablet, Projector

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