CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Fighting Fires - A Risky Business

History, Social Studies
3 to 4 lessons
To explore the role of fire-fighting personnel and technology in Canada over the past 50 years
Students create a museum display depicting the jobs, technology, and risks associated with fighting fires.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students to watch or listen to news programs to find examples of everyday heroism. After a week, ask for examples and discuss with the class how heroic acts happen every day all around us.

Outline the Opportunity

Divide students into nine groups and assign each group one of the following jobs associated with fighting fires: patrol pilot, smokejumper, initial attack team, Rapattack team, forest fire researcher, forest ranger, forest fire lookout, computer software program designer of forest fire research, and GPS technician.

Present the following scenario: You are members of a historical society that has been hired to make a visual display for a new Firefighters Museum. Your display must include the following information about your assigned job: tasks associated with the job; tools, technology, and resources needed to perform the job; the effectiveness of the technology; the time period for the technology used; and the risks associated with the job.

Direct students to the topic Fighting Forest Fires on the CBC Digital Archives website to find the necessary information about their job. Remind students that they can use the search engine on the CBC Archives website to find additional information.

Revisit and Reflect

Have students set up their displays. Hold a "gala opening" of the Firefighters Museum and invite school administrators and members of the local fire department to attend. Students should be prepared to describe their display and answers questions.


Students can take pictures of the displays and gala opening and post the pictures and accompanying text to the school's web page.

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