Illuminations: On Fire

# On Fire

Wildfire and wildfire environments provide interesting applications of the measurement and algebra standards. This unit introduces the components of a fire-safe and fire-wise environment. Students create a fire-wise location through calculations and measurement of percent slope, defensible space distance, and various vegetation separation distances. The unit plan culminates with students designing a fire-wise property and testing their fire-wise IQ.

The majority of information in this unit was taken from Living With Fire: A Guide for Homeowners (5 MB, PDF), generously provided to Illuminations by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

### Math Content

• Organizing information into charts and graphs
• Modeling an event with a probability simulation
• Determining lines of best fit
• Identifying correlations between variables
• Measuring angles

### Individual Lessons

Lesson 1 - Heating Up

In this lesson, students will discover the havoc that wildfire can cause. After learning about the factors that contribute to the spreading of a wildfire, students will use a probability model to determine the portion of a forest that might be destroyed by fire.

Lesson 2 - Investigating Fire Environments

Students consider the meaning of the term variable, both in a mathematical and an everyday sense, by considering a text‑based "equation." Data regarding flame length, vegetation and fire speed will be organized in a table, and students will investigate correlations between variables using scatterplots and lines of best fit.

Lesson 3 - Creating A Firewise Defensible Space

Students will learn about creating defensible space around a home using a series of fire protection zones. Students will then draw the zones that surround a house and estimate the area of each zone.

Lesson 4 - How Steep Can You Be?

In this lesson, students consider the construction of a tool that will measure percent slope. They then use ideas about percent slope to determine recommended defensible space distances near a home.

Lesson 5 - Burning Questions

This is the culminating lesson for this unit. Students use information from a quiz, along with what they learned in the previous four lessons, to write a summary and finalize a property sketch. Students measure their own progress in a final activity by Testing Their Firewise IQ.

### NCTM Resources

 More and Better Mathematics for All Students
 © 2000 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a public voice of mathematics education, providing vision, leadership, and professional development to support teachers in ensuring mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students. The views expressed or implied, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official positions of the Council.