Lynn Ann Wiscount, Erin Halovanic, Vince Mariner
English Language Arts, Life Science, Forestry and Agriculture, Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Middle School
  • ELA
  • Forest Fires
  • POWER Library
  • Powerlibrary
  • Science
  • Wildfires
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Forest Fires / Wildfires

    Forest Fires / Wildfires


    This lesson is about forest fires and wildfires.


      Lesson Objectives

      Students will be able to:

      • Understand the components of fire.
      • Understand how forest fires impact the environment.
      • List and explain the wildfire stages.
      • Discuss ways to prevent fires and recommend ways of protecting homes and communities.
      • Determine design ideas and content for an educational flyer / brochure.
      • Design a flyer / brochure to share their ideas and research.

      Warm Up / Introduction

      Insructor Notes:

      To introduce the topic of wildfires, students should be broken down into groups.  Each group will be assiged a specific topic about wildfires. These topics are:

      • Fire behavior
      • Science of wildfires
      • Wildfires 101
      • How wildfires spread
      • How wildfires help
      • Causes of wildfires

      Each group will use the Note Taking Graphic Organizer and record what they know about the specific topic they were assigned.  

      Groups will watch the appropriate video for their topic and record key points and details so they can share them with the other groups.  These should be recorded on the Note Taking Graphic Organizer.

      In addition to the key points, groups should also write down any new words they hear in the vocabulary section of the graphic organizer.

      Once they have finished the video, the group should discuss what additional questions they have and record those as well.

      Videos can be replaced with others you may already have access to.

      Extended Activity: Vocabulary words can be used for an online matching game after they look up their definitions.  Online platforms that can be used includes WISC-Online and Quizlet.

      Assessment: Assessment on this activy will be completed using the Group / Teamwork Rubric.

      Activity Directions:

      • Your instructor will break your class into small groups and assign each group a topic.
      • As a group, discuss what you know about the topic and record the results in the appropriate section of the Note Taking Graphic Organizer.
      • After your notes have been recorded, watch the video that has been assigned to your small group.  Record any key details and vocabulary words that your group has learned from the video.
      • Discuss and record any additional questions your group still has that need to be answered on the topic.

      Upon completion of the Note Taking Graphic Organizer by each group, volunteers will share what the group learned about each topic. 


      Research / Explore Activity

      Instructor Notes:

      Students should use their researching and critical thinking skills to locate answers to questions about wildfires.  They will record their findings on the Research Notes Graphic Organizer.

      Assessment: Assessment for this activity can be done by using the Research Rubric.

      Activity Directions:

      • Using the POWER Library (if you are in Pennsylvania) or other resources, and your researching and critical evaluation skills, locate answers to the questions below.
        • Can wildfires be prevented? If so document how.
        • Research the role of wildfires in the ecosystem. What benefits and risks do they have?
        • Research the various ways they fight wildfires. Are there different ways of fighting a wildfire based on their stage and type?
        • Is there a specific season when wildfires occur?
        • Do wildfires have any health risks to humans? Animal habitats?
        • Why is forest rehabilitation important after a fire?
        • Where did the major wildfires occur in the United States over the last 10 years?
      • Use the Research Notes Graphic Organizer to record your findings and citation information.


      Reinforcement / Creation Activity

      Instructor Notes:

      Students will be asked to present the information in a three-panel visual aid.  This brochure will be used as a teaching tool to help educate others about forest fires / wildfires.

      As the instructor, you should tell the students how sophisticated the brochure should be.  Should they include graphics or should they be all text. Convey to the students what items will be mandatory.  Additional lines may need to be added to the rubic for other elements.

      A brief overview of the steps needed to create a trifold may need to be reviewed.

      The trifold / brochure can be created using paper and markers or on a computer using a computer program such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

      Assessment: Assessment can be done using the Rubric for Creation Projects.

      Activity Directions:

      • You will now take on the role of the instructor and create a trifold / brochure that contains key facts and details about the topic you just learned about.  Sections that should be included in the brochure are:
        • Wildfire basics
        • Where wildfires occured in the US
        • Prevention & safety tips
        • Wildfires role in the ecosystem
        • Affects on humans and animal habitats.
      • This trifold / brochure will be used a a teaching tool to educate others about wildfires.
      • The trifold / brochure should be attractive and neat.



      Instructor Reflection:

      • Refect on the lesson plan and document what worked for you, what did not work for you, and what you would change for the next time you utilize this lesson.


      • It is now time for you to reflect on the wildfire lesson.  Using the Wildfires Lesson Reflection handout, reflect on the following questions:
        • What have I learned about this topic?
        • What surprised me about this topic?
        • What interested me the most about this topic?
        • What did I find most difficult?