Overview Lessons & Materials Pre Mission Prep. Mission Day Assessment Student Pages

Scope & Sequence

Interdisciplinary Approach

Unit : How to Apply  

Lesson 5 & 6 : Analysis of Yellowstone

Basic Readings


Recommended Readings

  • Yellowstone Forest Fires
  • Forest Fires
  • How They Work
  • Fire Management
  • Yellowstone
  • Map of Yellowstone
  • Yellowstone Fire
  • One Year After
  • Six Years After

Homework Due

  • Completed resume. Article Review Questions.


  • Students learn about forest fires in general and the Yellowstone fire in particular.


  • Day 1: 20 min. Students review forest fire articles
  • 20 min. Students investigate forest fires in sphere groups
  • Day 2: 20 min. Students review forest fire articles
  • 20 min. Students investigate forest fires in sphere groups


  • Articles
  • Yellowstone Analysis
  • Sphere Analysis worksheets


  • The science of forest fires: how they may start, fire suppression issues, types of forests, what leads to risk of fire, results of fires, acid rain
  • Vocabulary: coniferous, tropical rain forest, evergreen, underbrush, fertile, ground litter, saplings, debris, fire suppression, habitat
  • Event to sphere interactions for forest fires
  • Short- or long- term event to sphere interactions for forest fires


  • Students are able to describe the short-term and long-term impact of the Yellowstone forest fire on their sphere and other spheres.
  • Students complete the two analysis worksheets.

Discussion Tips
Say things along the lines of, "You have read and begun to discuss the Yellowstone fires as an Earth system science event. Now sharpen your focus. Write your statements of fact about the effects of the Yellowstone fire upon your sphere. Consider the effects as they change over time. Be prepared to write clear statements to describe the immediate effects, the effects after one year, and the effects after six years on the Yellowstone Park and the area surrounding it. What did you learn about Yellowstone fires that you find surprising? Do you think the Forest Service was right to allow the Yellowstone fires to burn? What were the alternatives?

Special Comments
The answers to the questions in the analysis worksheets are not specifically addressed in the readings. The students will have to infer their response based upon what they know. A review of the composition of the various spheres might help some individual students. How a teacher concludes this section depends upon many variables including time, teaching goals, class motivation, etc.

Teachers of previous e-Missions have found the creation of mission patches a motivating opportunity for students to express their creativity. Ideas fostered here lead to other creative ideas during the weeks leading up to e-Mission day. In a team teaching environment this is also an opportunity to draw other teachers into the project. The NASA Web sites are particularly helpful in showing past NASA mission patches.

Students meet in their ERTs to discuss each other's investigation of forest fires. They each offer their sphere's perspective of the effects of the fire. They discuss how four different perspectives might give their team a big picture of the impact of the fires in Yellowstone. Then they read and discuss the materials on the Yellowstone fire.

Basic Homework


Recommended Homework

  • All pieces of the application should be completed and mailed to Challenger. For homework, any remaining pieces need to be finalized and brought to the next class for mailing. If this has been done already, have the students begin readings for the next unit on volcanoes— Your Task, Volcanoes, Volcanic Dangers, How Volcanoes Work, Volcanoes and Montserrat. Remember the Article Review Questions.

See the Careers section of the Launch Pad. There are some valuable resources here to encourage students to begin thinking about careers as technicians, engineers, programmers, specialists, and scientists. Note: To view "Extensions", select "Show All in upper right pull-down menu on student website.