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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Videos, 51 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Lesson Plans, 45 minutes
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Colorado


Google Docs, PDF

Youth Climate Story: Pine Beetles and Wildfires in Colorado

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  • This short video shows the sadness of home loss and wildfire devastation in Colorado from a youth's perspective.
  • In the video, Xiuhtezcatl describes how trees dying due to pine beetle infestations are fueling wildfires near his home in Boulder, CO.
  • The "Analyzing the Rise in United States Wildfires" lesson plan is included with this resource.
Teaching Tips


  • This video contains powerful images to relate the emotional toll of losing a home due to a wildfire.
  • The following lesson plan supports students in visualizing wildfire data on a graph.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with creating line graphs and the dependent vs. independent variables.
  • To access the lesson plan after the video, teachers will need to sign up for a free account and log in.


  • English classes could use this lesson, as students read about climate change and write about the connection between climate change, wildfire frequency, and temperature trends.
  • Teachers may want to spend a few moments linking the rise in pine beetle populations to changes in weather patterns linked to climate change.
  • If students don't live in an area affected by wildfires, discuss other ways ecological imbalances have impacts to humans (e.g., invasive species out-competing local wildlife that may have economic value or the loss of riparian habitat leading to more severe flooding events).
  • Teachers may need to support students in graphing with a double y-axis.  If this is too challenging, students could graph the wildfire data on a separate graph, rather than the provided graph on the worksheet.

Scientist Notes

More information about the ecology of pine beetles and the relationship to climate change can be found on the USDA Forest Service website.

  • Mathematics
    • Data Reasoning and Probability (9-12)
      • HS.DR.C.8 Identify appropriate ways to summarize and then represent the distribution of univariate and bivariate data multiple ways with graphs and/or tables. Use technology to present data that supports interpretation of tabular and graphical representations.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 7.ESS3.2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • HS.ESS3.1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • Social Sciences
    • Geography (K-12)
      • HS.49 Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.
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