October is National Fire Prevention Month, and I’ve partnered with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to share some wonderful free resources you can use to help you integrate fire safety procedures into your instruction.
Sparky’s Brain Busters App (Featuring Multi-Player & Classroom Modes)
One of the newest resources from the NFPA is their free mobile app, Sparky’s Brain Busters. iPhone users can check out Sparky’s Brain Busters on iTunes and Android phone users can download it from the Google Playstore.
Like previous iterations of this app, the latest version features Sparky the Dog, who is NFPA’s fire safety mascot. The app features a game which is as entertaining as it is educational: students win by answering trivia questions about various subjects (including fire safety) and earning all five badges before the clock runs out.
You begin the game by spinning the wheel which will lead to a trivia question in one of these categories: Social Studies, Math, Science, Fire Safety, and Sparky’s Choice (which is a combination of all the others.) Three correct answers in a row will earn you a badge, one of the five that you have to collect in 2 minutes. The clock actually stops after a question has been answered and while you are spinning the wheel so the game is not that rushed or stressful.
Here’s a 30 second overview of the game, which you can show your class to introduce the app:
You can encourage students to ask their parents for permission to download the app on their devices at home, and play outside of class. In addition to solo mode, the game includes a multiplayer mode where the kids can challenge each other, and students may enjoy competing for fun after school.
There’s also a classroom mode for large group game play. In classroom mode, you as the teacher can set the difficulty of the questions and choose the time limit for answering the questions: no limit, 15 seconds, and 30 seconds.
If you’ve never used a multi-player game like this in your classroom before, don’t be afraid to try it out! The game’s interface is simple and intuitive plus, and instructions for how to play each mode are also provided. Give it a go at home first before taking it to the classroom, and you’ll see how easy it is!
More Free Fire Safety Apps for Kids
Don’t forget to check out the NFPA’s original apps, especially for younger students. Sparky’s Birthday Surprise and The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms have really engaging interactive stories. Check out my review of the apps here, or get download links here.
Free Lesson Plans on Fire Safety and Fire Prevention
In addition to the Sparky’s Brain Busters app, the NFPA also created lesson resources.
The Sparky School House website features original, downloadable lesson plans and interactive games on fire safety for PreK- 5th grade.
You’ll find parent letters, activity sheets, and complete lesson plans for the videos and music videos the NFPA features.
Free Music & Videos on Fire Prevention and Fire Safety
The Sparky School House website also features excellent educational videos. For upper elementary students, I particularly like the one about the Chicago Fire of 1871, which clarifies misconceptions about how the fire actually started. In the video, Laura Tarshis, creator of the I Survived series, interviews Casey Grant of NFPA.
There are also videos for lower elementary students featuring Sparky, including this one which shows the gear that firefighters wear:
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