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New Wildfire and Climate Change Module for High School Teachers

By Kelly Steinberg

This spring (2022), Asombro is publishing a brand new education module for high school teachers in the Southwest. Climate Change and Wildfire investigates the link between rising temperatures, increased drought, and wildfire in the forests, grasslands, and shrublands of the Southwest. Through three activities over five days, teachers and students build and burn model ecosystems, interpret and communicate data and discuss mitigation strategies.

Middle school students try out ecosystem models

This module joins three existing climate change education modules published through the Southwest Climate Hub. Each lesson examines the causes and consequences of climate change and increasing fire risk. Each lesson breaks down one aspect, cause, or effect of climate change into bite-sized pieces for students and places it in the context of the Southwest. Through discussion and investigations, students draw connections to the risks and impacts fire has on their community and highlight the real-world applications of what they are learning.

Wildfire Lesson

This local approach to a global issue engages and empowers students in unique and sometimes surprising ways. As educators, we expected to draw students in with flashy headlines and dramatic pictures of massive fires that have dominated national headlines but instead found ourselves going into depth about the smaller, local wildfires that occurred just down the road. At the end of an especially lively class discussion, a teacher let us know that the student who had led most of the discussion and offered up an idea or thought for every question was usually one of the most reluctant students in the class. He was currently failing most of his classes, although we would never have guessed it that day based on his thoughtful comments and questions.  

These lessons and more are available at https://swclimatehub.info/education and http://asombro.org/climate/

Join us for TWO teacher workshops on these wildfire lessons and other climate change resources this summer! Workshops options for in-person or online. More information will be posted at https://asombro.org/teacher-workshops/

“The students loved when I asked them to guess which ecosystem had a greater fire risk, when they were wrong they were all shook, it was really exciting for them to learn that way, by making a guess and being wrong, then finding out why. The lessons are super manageable and really cool.” -Teacher participant