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During the week of December 7th, 2020, 27 educators from six districts across the Eastern Washington region attended a three-day online workshop, Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Fire, with Pacific Education Institute’s FieldSTEM Coordinators Mike Nepean and Megan Rivard along with PEI Faculty, Randy James.

Set up of the fire table lab

To begin the workshop series, participants learned about the ClimeTime proviso and PEI’s storyline project. Participants centered on the Indigenous perspective by reading, Fire is Medicine and thinking about their own experiences with fire. Participants examined the effects of fire on the climate and how prescribed burns can be used as a management tool to mitigate catastrophic fires.

The second session introduced participants to Randy Burke and Forrest Ownbey from the Washington Department of Natural Resources; they shared information about the role of fire as a forest management tool, prescribed burns, and the impact of historic fire suppression. Randy James demonstrated a fire table lab that models the behavior of fire on various terrain and a soil activity that illustrated how soil is impacted by intense fires that burn organic material from soil.

Fire table lab modeling the behavior of fire on a sloped terrain.

In the last session, educators were introduced to Jason Ramos, author of Smokejumper, and learned more about his career, smoke jumping, his perspective on the management of fire over time and catastrophic fires in Washington.

Discussions were conducted around science education and three-dimensional formative assessments. Participants were introduced to PEI’s Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Fire to teach climate science in developmentally appropriate, locally relevant ways. After the workshop, a participant shared this sentiment, ” I will use the resources shared in this training as well some of the lessons. I liked the experiments/activities that were shared during this training. I think my students would find the match activities extremely entertaining.”

PEI will be facilitating another Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Fire workshop in February 2021.