Lessons focused on wildfire make science relevant to high school students
Extension develops curricula and training programs in wildfire and natural resources management for Nevada high school students
Students from Sparks High School study vegetation on a hillside that burned in 2017 and 2021 as part of a Living With Fire curriculum lesson. Photo by Megan Kay.
As wildfires continue to challenge Nevada and the West, educators and firefighting agencies are teaming up to make sure teens gain an understanding of the complex issues surrounding wildfire and natural resource management, and develop a workforce ready to tackle these issues. Along the way, students gain an increased appreciation for classroom science concepts they are required to learn.
Extension has developed a Living With Fire Wildfire Science Curriculum for high school science classes, with biology and earth science units already available online and more units in the works. Thirty-five teachers have been trained to teach the material and have taught lessons to more than 1,200 students.
“The kids could relate to the curriculum and why it’s important to learn about these things,” Carson City High School teacher Julie Koop said. “It was rigorous, but that’s what learning needs to be. Having the firefighters there and people from Extension, and the career readiness component, that was also really beneficial for the students.”
Extension faculty are ready to help more teachers incorporate the curriculum into their science courses this fall. And, they’ve embarked on a program that will allow sophomores at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology (AACT) in Reno to become firefighters upon graduation, as well as earn college credits.