This version of FireWorks focuses on selected ecological communities in the Sierra Nevada — forests dominated by conifers. These communities are often called lower and upper mixed conifer or lower and upper montane communities. To learn about some of the plants, animals, and fungi that live in these communities, see the essays in the FireWorks Encyclopedias (for elementary and elementary/middle grades).
Like all FireWorks programs, the Sierra Nevada curricula provide students with interactive, hands-on activities to study wildland fire. It consists of three curricula and trunks of materials for educators. The three curricula are targeted at the elementary, middle, and high school levels (and are great for adult learning too).
For more information about these curricula, the ecological communities, and educational standards, please see the Introduction. To access entire curricula or individual activities, select the links in the table below.
This table summarizes the content for each activity at each level. Read across the table to find similar activities for students at other levels.
|Entire Elementary Curriculum||Entire Middle Curriculum||Entire High Curriculum|
|Unit I. Introduction to Wildland Fire||E01. Visiting Wildland Fire in the Sierra Nevada||M01. Visiting Wildland Fire in the Sierra Nevada||H01. Introduction to Wildland Fire in the Sierra Nevada|
|Unit II. Physical Science of Wildland Fire||E02. Making Fires Burn or Go Out 1: Introduction to the Fire Triangle||M02. Where Does Heat Go? The Heat Plume from a Fire||H02. The Fire Triangle: Fuel, Heat, and Oxygen|
|E03. Making Fires Burn or Go Out 2: Demonstrating the Fire Triangle and Heat Plume||M03. What Makes Fires Burn? The Fire Triangle 1—Heat and Fuel||H03. The Fire Triangle, Combustion, and the Carbon Cycle|
|M04. What Makes Fires Burn? The Fire Triangle 2—Oxygen||H04. Heat Transfer|
|Unit III. The Wildland Fire Environment||H05. Fuel Properties|
|H07. Fire Spread Processes: Putting it all together: Heat transfer, fuel properties, and pyrolysis|
|E04. How Wildland Fires Spread 1: Experiment with a Matchstick Forest||M05. How Do Wildland Fires Spread? The Matchstick Forest Model||H08A. Fire Environment Triangle and Fire Spread: The Matchstick Model|
|H08B. Fire Environment Triangle and Fire Spread: The Landscape Matchstick Model|
|M06. Ladder Fuels and Fire Spread: The Tinker Tree Derby||H09. Ladder Fuels and Fire Spread|
|E05. Fuel Properties: The Campfire Challenge||M07. Fuel Properties: The Campfire Challenge||See H05.|
|E06. Effect of Wind: How Wildland Fires Spread||M08. Fire Behavior, Fire Weather, and Climate||H10. Fire Behavior, Fire Weather, and Climate|
|Unit IV. Fire Effects on the Environment||E07. Smoke from Wildland Fire: Just Hanging Around?||M09. Smoke from Wildland Fire: Just Hanging Around?||H11. Smoke from Wildland Fire: Just Hanging Around?|
|M10. Fire, Soil, and Water Interactions||H12. Fire, Soil, and Water Interactions|
|Unit V. Fire’s Relationship with Organisms and Communities||E08. Who Lives Here? Adopting a Plant, Animal, or Fungus||M11. Who Lives Here? Adopting a Plant, Animal, or Fungus||H14. Researching a Plant, Animal, or Fungus|
|E09. Tree Parts and Fire: The Class Models a Living Tree||M12. Tree Parts and Fire: “Working Trees” Jeopardy-style Game|
|E10. Tree Identification: Using a Key to Identify “Mystery Trees”||M13. Tree Identification: Figure out the “Mystery Trees”||H13. Tree Identification: Create a Dichotomous Key|
|E11. Recipe for a Baker Cypress Grove: Serotinous Cones|
|M14. Who Lives Here and Why? Modeling Forest Communities||H15. Forest Communities and Climate Change|
|M15. Bark and Soil: Nature’s Insulators|
|E12. Buried Treasure: Underground Parts that Help Plants Survive Fire||M16. Buried Treasures: Identifying Plants by their Underground Parts|
|Unit VI. Fire History and Succession||E13-1. My Tree Autobiography: Seeing History through Trees’ Growth Rings|
|E13-2. Story of a Fire-Scarred Tree||M17. Fire History 1: Long Stories Told By Old Trees||H16. Fire History 1: Long Stories Told by Old Trees|
|M18. Fire History 2: History of Stand Replacing Fire||H17. Fire History 2: History of Stand Replacing Fire|
|E14. Story Time: Fire and Succession||M19. Drama in the Forest: Fire and Succession, a Class Production||H18. Fire History 3: Fire Regime across a Sierra Nevada Landscape|
|Unit VII. People in Fire's Homeland||E15. Homes in the Forest: An Introduction to Firewise Practices||M20. Homes in the Forest: An Introduction to Firewise Practices|
|E16. Revisiting Wildland Fire||M21. Revisiting Wildland Fire||H19. Sierra Nevada Forests Today|
The Sierra Nevada FireWorks program was created in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory; Plumas National Forest; and the Plumas Unified School District.