Welcome to the Stage 4 Technology Mandatory, Fire-Ed Up Unit of Work. This is a resource site setup to support teachers to implement the Fire-Ed Up Program.
Fire-Ed Up is funded by the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer, developed from Central Coast Council’s Award Winning program and produced by the Hunter Innovation and Science Hub.
Unit Background –
Australian Fire Danger Rating System
In 2022 Australia introduced a new fire danger rating system providing clearer and more accurate information to communities at risk of bush fire. The Australian Fire Danger Rating System brings together the latest science and knowledge of fire behaviour, is supported by extensive community research, and is the most significant change to the fire danger rating system in more than 50 years.
The previous fire danger rating system was found to be approximately 40% accurate whilst the new reporting system is now more than 60%, but there is room for improvement.
Utilising STEM technologies and local environmental insights to enhance your community’s bushfire danger rating system.
Get ready to be tech heroes for your town!
1. Design folio
Students are to complete a design folio that captures their journey through the iSTEM engineering design process in developing digital solutions related to making the Australian fire danger rating system more accurate.
2. Prototype design solution
Students are to produce a digital design solution prototype that can be used to improve the accuracy of the Australian fire danger rating system. This could include modifying the Fire-Ed Up kit or may involve the development of new or different technologies.
Gear up to use Raspberry Pi microcomputers to recreate and improve how we predict bushfires with the Australian fire danger rating system.
- Tweak the Code
Modify existing code to get better at predicting fires using local data.
- Explore the tech
Discover how digital twins, satellites, and drones can help in bushfire safety.
You’ll become mini tech experts, using cool gadgets to make a difference in keeping our community safe from fires!
Becoming a Fire Researcher
Just like the real fire authorities in Australia, we’re going to become field researchers. Our mission is to gather important data from the great outdoors to help us understand the risk of bushfires in
Your Mission as a Field Researcher
Step into the shoes of these experts. With a keen eye and precise instruments, you’ll collect data that’s vital for predicting a simulated local FBI and AFDR.
Here’s what we need to know:
- Temperature: How hot is it outside? Fire loves heat, so this is a big one.
- Wind Speed: Strong winds can whip a small flame into a raging fire.
- Humidity: Dry air means plants dry out, and dried-out plants burn faster.
- Fuel Load: This is all about how much stuff could burn in an area.
- Fuel Moisture Content: Wetter fuel doesn’t burn as easily, so we need to know how dry it is.
- Land Slope: Fire climbs uphill quickly, so the steepness of the land matters.
- Vegetation Type: Different plant types burn in different ways. Knowing what’s around is key.
You might be gathering this data at our school, a nearby field, or another interesting environment. Keep your eyes open and your instruments ready!
Using Your Data
Once you’ve collected our measurements, we’ll use this data
later in our program to simulate what the FBI and AFDR might be for our local area. It’s like creating a mini fire forecast station right in our classroom!
iSTEM Engineering Design Process
The iSTEM process developed by the NSW Department of Education is an industry-recognised engineering design process and scaffolds the understanding and application of design thinking.
iSTEM Process Guide
In this document, each stage/cog of the iSTEM process is outlined with key questions to ask students and possible actions your students would need to undertake when completing each stage of the process.
Selecting Your Team
In this document, we discuss what makes a good team and students undertake a skills audit. Teachers may use the Multiple Intelligences survey to help inform the skills audit. Students then select their team and assign roles based on skills.
Video Based Resources
The following are a mixture of Fire-ED Up original video resources and others that you might find useful.
Unpacking the Fire Danger Rating System
Dr David Clarke, Fire Behaviour Analyst at the NSW Rural Fire Service explains the science behind the AFDRS (14:53 minutes)
Why the Fire Danger Rating System was updated?
Dr Meaghan Jenkins, AFDRS Manager at the NSW Rural Fire Service discusses the reasons for the update of the AFDRS (14:03 minutes)
New technologies in bushfire management
Deb Sparkes from AFAC National Projects and Innovation speaks about the upcoming technologies being used to manage, predict and prevent bushfires (21:36 minutes).
Fire 101 – Ben Newsome Fizzics Education
Ben Newsome from Fizzics Education demonstrates some scientific experiments that explain the basics of fire and a fun and educational video. (15:27 minutes)
How to use an Anemometer (Kestral)
How to use a Kestral to measure wind speed, humidity and temperature, thanks to Rumbalara Environmental Education Centre (0:45 minutes)
How to use a clinometer
How to use a clinometer to determine the slope of the land, thanks to Rumbalara Environmental Education Centre (0:15 minutes)
Interview with Nick De Leon – Constraints
Ted Tagami CEO of Magnitude.io talks with Dr Nick De Leon from the Royal College of Art in the United Kingdom about design thinking for space. Nick discusses the importance of finding the right team and understanding the constraints on your design. (9:20 minutes)
Traditional Knowledge – Cool Burning
For tens of thousands of years Australian Aboriginal peoples have actively managed the savanna using fire. Their knowledge of the seasons and local conditions enable them to produce the most effective cool burns. These cool burns benefit both the environment and the Aboriginal traditional way of life. (2:28 minutes)
Australian Fire Danger Rating System
Core Electronics Fire-Ed Up Guide
NSW RFS – Fires Near Me Website
Bushfire Prepare WA Government
CSIRO Guide to rate of fire spread models for Australian Vegetation
Australian Bureau of Meteorology
NSW Rural Fire Service – Neighbourhood Safer Places
NSW Department of Education – Bushfire and Grassfire Risk Ratings Categories
Mindtools – Brainstorming
iTEachSTEM – Orthogonal Sketching
iTEachSTEM Pictorial Sketching
iTEachSTEM Annotated rendered sketches
iTEachSTEM – Making a Prototype
iTEachSTEM – Iterate and Test
Online RFS Bushfire Survival plan
Bushfire Survival Plan PDF version
NSW RFS Firefighter Pocketbook – Android
NSW RFS Firefighter Pocketbook – IOS
Hazards Near Me – Android
Hazards Near Me – IOS
Himawari-8 Satellite Viewer Introduction Video
Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Satellite Viewer Site
Spatial Information eXchange
NSW Department of Education – Digital Learning Selector
Splat3D – Drawing the core 3D Shapes Playlist
AVA Define and Identify – Dr Nick De Leon from the Royal College of Art