February 24, 2021
Learning with Fire: Georgia School District Partners with Xplorlabs and Local Fire Department
In science education, context is key: Students more effectively learn when they understand how concepts are applied in the real world. This philosophy is exemplified in the partnership between Xplorlabs, Cobb Schools, and Cobb Fire in Cobb County, Ga.
The partnership is founded on the Xplorlabs: Fire Forensics module, which includes an online Investigators Academy and a combination of virtual and hands-on activities for students. These activities illustrate fire dynamics such as the fire triangle and STEM principles such as scientific argumentation. Students apply their new knowledge in the context of a burn scene investigation.
Through the Cobb County partnership, fire service professionals and middle-school teachers join forces in the classroom to ensure safety during lab activities, help students engage with the material and introduce students to potential career paths. Fire service professionals can share further real-world context for the subject matter from the module.
“What makes the Xplorlabs program so innovative is that it is a true partnership between (UL Research Institutes), Cobb Schools and Cobb Fire,” said Dr. Sally Creel, the STEM Innovation Supervisor at Cobb County Schools. “When I can bring in people who do something for a living into the classrooms, that’s where it really makes sense to kids about why are they learning this.”
Students said that the fire service professionals were engaging as guest educators, and that learning with experts in the classroom helped them better understand the curriculum.
The fire service professionals were also encouraged by the partnership.
“It gave me more passion to teach. Hopefully from this, [the students] will understand what firefighters deal with and how it is important for us to know how fire works and how to put out fires,” Silvino Moura, a Cobb County firefighter and paramedic, told Cobbcast. “Who knows, maybe one day they will apply to be a firefighter with Cobb County.”