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VIC

Subject:

Mathematics

Year level:

Level 6

Suggested timing:

15-20 minute session to outline concepts and a 20 minute session for students to work on assigned problems

Required resources:

Handout

Eucalypt regrowth on tree after Black Saturday bushfires

Activity 4 - Fire area

This activity is a part of the Mathematics in nature: understanding bushfire resource.

Eucalypt regrowth after Black Saturday bushfires. Photographer: Robert Kerton. Source: Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY 3.0 

Building off activities 1 to 3, students will explore fire area measurement in hectares, relating it to familiar concepts like the size of a football field. They'll work on problems that involve approximating real fire shapes using common geometric shapes (rectangles and triangles) and calculating fire area in hectares based on these approximations.

Step by step guide

Step 1: Explanation of fire area

Fire area is usually measured in hectares. Introduce hectares (relate it to the area of a football field, for example). Give examples that illustrate conversion from square metres or square kilometres to hectares. 

Step 2: Students undertake mathematical problems

Students answer the worksheet questions that require them to approximate the shapes of real fire scars (the fire shapes in the example worksheet are traces of actual fire perimeters, including the Murrundindi fire on Black Saturday 2009) using familiar shapes (i.e. rectangles and triangles) and use these to approximate the area of real fires (converting to hectares). 

Related activities within this resources:

Eucalypt regrowth on tree after Black Saturday bushfires

Activity 1 - The shape of fire

In this activity, students explore fire intensity, its impact, and the role of wind in shaping fires through video, group discussions, and real-world examples.

Suggested timing:

20-25 minute class discussion (including 5-minute video), followed by 10 minutes looking at handout and group discussion of the questions

Required resources:

Handout

Eucalypt regrowth on tree after Black Saturday bushfires

Activity 2 - Linking fire shape to wind speed

This builds on Activity 1 and the concept that wind-driven fires have a roughly elliptical shape.

Suggested timing:

20-30 minutes for students to work on assigned problems and 15 minute follow-up discussion.

Required resources:

Handout

Eucalypt regrowth on tree after Black Saturday bushfires

Activity 3 - Fire spreading on hills

Building off activities 1 and 2, students will explore the concept of fire spread on hills.

Suggested timing:

15-20 minute session to outline concepts and a 30 minute session for students to work on assigned problems.

Required resources:

Handout

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