By Carolyn Jones
At Design Tech High, a charter school in Burlingame that’s affiliated with Oracle, students are analyzing the science behind the Tubbs Fire that raged through Sonoma County in October and creating blueprints for how the destroyed neighborhoods can rebuild in a way that could minimize impacts from the next fire.
The crash course in sustainability is an example of how, amidst the devastation and human suffering, teachers are using wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters to further students’ understanding of science, history and social studies.
“Drought, famine, fire, war — students get it. They see the connection between what’s on the news and these larger environmental issues,” said Andra Yeghoian, environmental education coordinator for the San Mateo County Office of Education, who teaches environmental science and trains teachers at Design Tech and other public schools in San Mateo County.