Today was the second day of the Forces of Nature project, and our first real disaster. Students walked into the classroom to find their desks set up like a real FEMA office. And at each desk was an email. “Dear FEMA employees, my name is Patrick Connors, head of the California State Fire Department. We’ve had an outbreak of severe fires recently outside of Los Angeles, in Bishop CA, and outside of Sacramento. Local fire crews and town fire departments are overrun. We need your immediate assistance…”
Their task today was to help plan the defense of California against three separate wildfires. Students had to consider the population distribution in California, the state’s climate, today’s weather and wind direction, etc. By replying directly to the email, students were able to advise the state on how to deploy their firefighting forces. They had access to 12 fire trucks, 2 fire-line crews, 2 helicopters, and 1 airplane. And their task was to deploy all of these forces in the most intelligent way possible. Which fire will spread the fastest? Which fire will affect the most people? Where she we dig our fire-lines? These were not questions with easy answers. For a copy of all of the project materials, please click the links below.