Illuminations: Smokey Bear Takes Algebra

This lesson introduces students to the many factors that play a role in creating a forest-fire danger rating index.

They will be looking at how we use a scale to quantify the abstract idea of forest fire danger. Using the real-world situation, students examine the meaning of the slope and intercepts of a line. To complete the activities related to these indexes, students should be comfortable with linear, quadratic and exponential functions and their graphs. Students’ facility with a graphing calculator is assumed. Students also use summation notation to do the activities relating to the Nesterov index. This lesson plan was adapted from the article “Smokey the Bear Takes Algebra,” which appeared in the October 1999 issue of the Mathematics Teacher.


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Science Topics
Math Topics
Algebra & Pre-Algebra, Equations, Functions & Graphs
High School, Educator
9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade

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Illuminations (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)

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