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VIC

Subject:

Mathematics

Year level:

Level 6

Suggested timing:

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

Required resources:

Handout

Eucalypt regrowth on tree after Black Saturday bushfires

Activity 3 - Fire spreading on hills

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 and 2, students will explore the concept of fire spread on hills. They'll be presented with the idea that fires spread faster uphill, work on problem-solving exercises, calculate geometric sequences, and apply their knowledge to understand the rate of fire spread on slopes.

Step by step guide

  1. Students are introduced to the notion that fires spread faster uphill. They are given a handout that explains that a fire doubles its rate of spread for every additional 10 degrees of slope, and presented with an example or two. 

  2. Students answer the worksheet questions that requires: calculation of up to four terms in a geometric sequence (doubling from a flat ground rate of spread), calculating flat ground rate of spread (via successive halving) from a given rate of spread on a 20 degree slope, measurement of angles using a protractor and then using the measured angle to answer questions about rate of fire spread on a hill. 

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 4 - Fire area

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.

Suggested timing:

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

Required resources:

Handout

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