Preview - Animal Behavior Lab (Isopods)

Systematically investigating the spread of a forest fire

Let's investigate how the density of the trees affects the spread of a forest fire. 

We will first generate some data using the model and then visualize it using another computational tool called CODAP.

Let's follow an experimental design that is described below:

Research Question: How does density of trees in a forest affect spread of a forest fire?

Hypothesis: As the density of trees in the forest increases, the percentage of forest burned will increase linearly. (That means, if density of trees doubles, the percentage of forest burned will also double)

Let's test our hypothesis using the model.

Change the values of density systematically. Record the value of 'percentage forest burned' in the data table. Make sure that you press 'setup' button every time you do a trial. Make sure to run each different value of density twice and finally, make sure you record values for each experimental trial. 

CODAP will automatically plot the average of the two values that you will record. 



Please answer the questions below.

Write some observations about the graph of 'density' vs 'percentage burned'.

Do you think that the evidence that we gathered with our experiment supports our hypothesis?

Explain your answer to the previous question.

Spread of a forest fire is an emergent phenomenon. Below a certain density, the fire does not spread much, however when the density crosses a 'tipping point' or threshold, the fire engulfs almost all the forest. 

The tipping point in this model falls within which of the following density ranges?

Between 30 and 40
Between 40 and 50
Between 50 and 60
Between 60 and 70

Can you give an example of another such phenomenon with a tipping point? 


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