Adirondack Fire Towers: Are They Worth Saving? (part 1) How Can You Become Involved? (part 2)
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Grade: 7 - 12
Class: Art, ELA, Social Studies, Science
Author: Sandra Hildreth
Retired - Madrid-Waddington Central School
NYS Content Area Standard:
The Arts:
Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Social Studies:
History of the United States and New York
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Human HistoryNatural History
Performance Indicators:

ART: #1 - Creating Art: Students know and use a variety of sources for developing and conveying ideas, images, themes, symbols, and events in their creation of art

SS: #1 History of U.S. & NY - Students investigate key turning points in New York State and United States history and explain why these events or developments are significant. 

ELA: #1 - Listening, Reading, Speaking & Writing for Information & Understanding - Students compare and synthesize information from different sources; Students use standard English for formal presentation of information, etc.

MST: #4 - Science: Key Idea 7 - Human decisions and activities have a profound impact on the physical and living environment. Students describe the effects of environmental changes on humans and other populations.

Keywords: fire towers, forest preserve history
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: Part 1: There once were 57 firetowers in the Adirondack region - most are gone - some are being adopted by groups that wish to restore them. Should they be saved? How do they fit in with land use plans? Part 2: As residents, how can we become involved and what can we do to help? (Can be adapted for any grade level and topic area)

May be adapted for any class or grade level. It could be a stand alone project or be linked to others. Would work great if done as an interdisicplinary project involving several teachers and classes.

The Challenge:

 Part 1. Research the fire towers in your area - are any still there? Should they be there? Select a specific one and prepare a product that will communicate how you feel about it's existance. Choose a side. (Suggested products: poster, letter to the editor or government representative, tv announcement, powerpoint presentation, etc.)

  Part 2. If you wish to support the restoration of a specific firetower, work individually or in small groups (3-5) to create a product or performance that could be used for fund-raising and/or be educational for the audience. Donate fund-raising efforts and/or products to appropriate Fire Tower Restoration group or organization.

Resources (to be added later)

Teachers need to set time limits and establish specific requirements. A field trip or visit from someone associated with the tower could be helpful and informative.

Product/Performance Suggestions: 

  • a "book" about the fire tower consisting of historic fact and personal recollections - could also include photos and/or student artwork 
  • a student researched trail guide for the fire tower containing informative historic, scientific or educational material, photos, or artwork 
  • publish a "newsletter" about the fire tower featuring student researched information and/or artwork and photos 
  • design a logo to use on T-shirts or posters to raise public awareness about the fire tower
  • produce fund-raising posters
  • have an art exhibit about the natural and/or human history of the fire tower
  • creat a website about the tower and restoration project
  • a song, play, or musical performance about the fire tower
  • a board game about fire towers
  • other?
Quality Standards:

Fire Tower Product/Performance

 Part 1:

  • Product accurately describes location of selected fire tower
  • DEC land use designation is specified
  • A side is taken on the status of the firetower & the choice is clearly supported & effectively communicated

 Part 2:

  • Based on accurate factual information (teacher provided and/or student research)
  • Useful for fund-raising and/or educational purposes
  • Involves the community
  • Communicates a positive reason for saving/restoring a specific fire tower
  • Completed by the deadline
  • Is useful
Product Quality Checklist
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Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

 Part 1: Based on accurate factual information (teacher provided and/or student research), incuding DEC land use designation


 Takes a side that is clearly supported and communciated


 Part 2:  Based on accurate factual information (teacher provided and/or student research)


Useful for fund-raising and/or educational purposes


 Involves the community


 Communciates a positive reason for saving/restoring a specific fire tower


Completed by the deadline


Display of some sort created for the school.


This Challenge has not yet received any recommendations.

Sandra Hildreth said:
If you have ever used this challenge in your classroom - please leave a comment. Thanks!