Multisensory learning: 6th grade science

Over 6,500 wildfires have burned California in 2018, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the US Forest Service.

Our 6th grade students are currently working on their Fire and Forests Unit in science, learning about strategies and techniques for fighting fires, or letting them burn according to natural cycles.

Thanks to a Kirby alumni firefighter, they experienced firsthand how quickly fire can spread.

We are fortunate that two Kirby alumni serve our community as part of the Felton Fire Protection force; Ian Jones and Zach Ackermann. Firefighter Ackemann visited Kirby to talk with students about wildfires. After his presentation, and some very astute questions by our class, we went outside to see how a grass fire burns.

Using a patch of grass and earth from our own campus which we moved to the blacktop for safety, we saw how quickly dried grasses catch and just how fast flames move across light, flash fuels.

Next week we’ll return the charred (and cooled) patch of turf to its original location. Moving forward, we’ll periodically observe how the burnt ground recovers, and how the plants in our specific local habitat are able to return and regrow.

Learning that involves multiple senses provides more stimuli, helping create deeper connection to the material. Seeing fire burn in real life created a dramatic demonstration students will remember, permanently anchoring the material from our unit in their minds. We are thankful to be in a community with such amazing alumni who are committed to sharing their knowledge with young learners.