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During the week of May 18th, 2020, 28 teachers from across Western Washington attended an online workshop series, Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Wildfires in Western Washington, with Pacific Education Institute’s FieldSTEM Coordinators, Julie Tennis and Hattie Osborne. The workshop began by honoring the Indigenous perspective of forest health and the role of fire, followed by participant engagement in an activity designed to encourage research of their local Tribal Nations.

Educators learned climate science content about wildfires, including the carbon cycle, the science of fire, the fire triangle, and the value of prescribed burns as a management tool. The series included a presentation from Forrest Ownbey and Randy Burke, Landowner Assistance Foresters for the Washington Department of Natural Resources, regarding the importance of prescribed burns as a management tool and the impact of suppression.

Participants sharing their carbon cycle work

Finally, educators learned more about using three-dimensional formative assessments in science and were introduced to PEI’s Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Wildfires in Washington to teach climate science in developmentally appropriate, locally relevant ways. One participant commented in their evaluation about aspects of learning they will use in the near future:

“The storyline for middle level as well as integrating the cultural perspective into our current teaching practices/curriculum. Wildfires are such a great integrative theme. Also, the facilitators use of technology was awesome! Loved the modeling!”

PEI was happy to make this workshop and resources available to a wide audience online during these challenging times.