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Yellowstone Fires
Yellowstone Fires belongs to a series of online modules entitled Exploring the Environment. Emphasizing an integrated approach to environmental earth science through problem-based learning, the module asks students to assume the role of environmental biologist, and help several government agencies resolve the debate surrounding "let it burn" policies in national parks. The government agencies would like to know whether or not to allow naturally occurring fires in Yellowstone National Park to burn to their natural conclusion. The agencies are particularly interested in student recommendations based on an Earth System Science (ESS) analysis of a fire's impact on the air, land, water, and living things. To accomplish this goal, students are given five links to find information pertaining to wildland fire. The "Wildland Fires in Yellowstone" link provides students with a historical overview of past fires in the Park, provides specific information on the 1988 fires, and details fuel and fire management policies within the Park. The "Fire Science" link provides information on combustion, ignition, and fuel, and introduces the concept of the fire triangle. The "Yellowstone National Park" link provides a description of the Park's geology and physical geography. The "Remote Sensing" link provides a general description of remote sensing and a remotely-sensed animation of landscape change in the Park dating from September 1987 to October of 1988. Lastly, the "Wildland Fires" link explains the causes and effects of wildland fires. Many of the pages within the site provide hyperlinked background resources to investigate wildland fire issues in more detail. A glossary, references, related links, and a general description of the problem-based learning model compliment the site.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Case study
    • Guide for instructor
    • Problem set
  • Visual:
    • Imagery - remotely sensed
  • Text:
    • Glossary
  • Ecology
  • Environmental science
  • Forestry
  • Policy issues
Technical requirements:
QuickTime plug-in
QuickTime is only needed to run the remotely-sensed animation of landscape change in Yellowstone National Park.
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1997-2001 by Wheeling Jesuit University/NASA Classroom of the Future. All rights reserved. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or direct commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. However, copyrights for components of this work owned by others than the Center for Educational Technologies/ NASA Classroom of the Future must be honored as follows: abstracting with credit is permitted, but anyone copying information must abide by the terms and constraints of the copyright protecting all components.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-001-603
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: Dr Robert Meyers
Senior Instructional Designer, NASA Classroom of the Future