The Science behind Wildfires - A STEM lesson for elementary school students

Grade Levels
K - 5th
Formats Included
  • PDF
7 pages
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Wildfires are a natural part of the ecosystem, but they can get out of control and cause lots of damage.In this STEM lesson, learn about the fire triangle , what causes wildfires and what it takes to put a fire out. Wildfires may be considered a natural disaster but they are also a necessity in nature . In this lesson we also learn why naturally occurring wildfires are necessary to keep the ecosystem in balance 

Students will use Project based learning to build a fire triangle, break the fire triangle and then share their project with other students for questions and feedback. Students will also conduct a science experiment to understand more about the components that create the fire triangle.

As they progress through their projects, let see..

What students figure out

  • How are wildfires started ?
  • What are the three things needed for a fire to burn and what is the fire triangle ?
  • How can you break the fire triangle to put out the fire 
  • Why are naturally occurring wildfires necessary?

Students will also follow the story of Lady Black fire , a beetle and Woody Black back a woodpecker to better understand the ecological benefits of wildfires for animals and plants.

The lesson uses an inquiry based discussion centered around understanding more about the fire triangle and the science behind wildfires.

This lesson is created on PADLET , an online collaboration tool that allows students to post answers in a flexible format and engage with the lesson in a flow thats easy to follow .


Materials needed for the lesson include everyday art materials that are cheap and easily available.Please refer to the lesson's main page for the suggested list of materials.

DURATION : 75 mins ( recommended)


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Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment. Examples of the environment affecting a trait could include normally tall plants grown with insufficient water are stunted; and, a pet dog that is given too much food and little exercise may become overweight.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. Examples of evidence could include needs and characteristics of the organisms and habitats involved. The organisms and their habitat make up a system in which the parts depend on each other.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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