NOW and THEN there’s Fire and Ice – Week 2 bESTology

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NOW and THEN there’s Fire and Ice – Week 2   

From the Ice Age to the Roman Empire onward to the Middle Ages and now into the 21st Century, fire has been used to heat caves, smelt iron, cook food, heat water and much more. But not until the Roman Empire was a fire brigade established. Using buckets, pumps and poles, the Romans extinguished fires (THEN). Today, fire equipment is empowered by innovative technology (NOW). Imagine how advanced fire equipment will be in 2050 (THEN).

This week’s bESTology will “fan the flames” of THEN, NOW and THEN (past, present and future).


Firestorm of Brainstorming:

The famous Back to the Future movie series shared a glimpse of life THEN (past), NOW (present) and THEN (future). Evaluate each of the following fire related topics and brainstorm how each situation was accomplished THEN, NOW and THEN. Use the above resources to assist in your brainstorming session:

  • Delivering water to a fire – Ancient Rome, 2017, 2050
  • Chimney inspection – 1700, 2017, 2050
  • Fuel (energy) for fire engines – 1853, 2017, 2050
  • Transporting emergency responders to a fire – 1880, 2017, 2050
  • Safety protection – 1920, 2017, 2050

Choose three (3) of your own fire related topics and repeat the process. Conclude your brainstorming session by discussing how technology has influenced each topic and the impact technology will have on each in the future.

Fire and Rescue Journal:  

Identify one person from the past (THEN) and one person in recent history (NOW) who was “hot stuff” and made a significant impact on the fire and rescue industry. Write a paragraph documenting when and how they made their contribution.  Share your choices with your teammates and explain why you chose each one.

BEST Connection:

A BEST robot NOW would not be capable of extinguishing a fire using liquid ice but looking into the future (THEN) it may be possible. Devise a plan and include the following:

  • Illustrate how a BEST robot could collect, transport and disperse liquid ice safely
  • Determine the hazards of liquid ice coming in contact with the electrical system (battery, motors, cortex, servos, etc.)
  • Evaluate ways to protect each of the electrical components from liquid ice
  • Generate a list of new kit materials needed to make a liquid ice challenge possible

Compare and contrast your “smoldering” robot ideas to real-world fire trucks throughout history – THEN and NOW.

Community Connection:

Great balls of fire, it is time for a community Scavenger Hunt! Every community across our nation has a wealth of history connected with fire and rescue. Begin a quest to find the oldest and newest of each in your community:

  • Ambulance
  • Fire engine
  • Other responder vehicles
  1. Estimate the cost of the vehicle THEN and NOW.
  2. Compare the technology inside the vehicle THEN and NOW.
  3. Assess the materials to manufacture the vehicle THEN and NOW.

Post a photo on the BEST Facebook page of you and/or your teammates standing next to various emergency vehicles.

Hot Topic in the News this Week: In honor of the astronauts who lost their lives 50 years ago in the Apollo 1 fire, NASA opened an exhibit at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The hatch from the burning spacecraft will be the main draw. The hatch has been concealed for 50 years but is now going on display for the public to view. Learn more at

A Burning Question for a Firefighter:  Who determines the level of protective equipment needed at a particular incident? 

(We encourage teams to contact a fire fighter or visit a fire station and ask this question. Record the answer in your journal)

Bloom’s Taxonomy: ask, assess, choose, compare, conclude, contrast, brainstorm, determine, devise, evaluate, explain, find, generate, identify, illustrate, list, post, repeat, use, search share, write.
Workforce Skills: reading comprehension, active listening, critical thinking, speaking, active learning, writing, complex problem solving, equipment selection and evaluation, systems and materials evaluation, science, technology design.

Download a PDF copy of bESTology Week 2CLICK HERE

While the information contained in this website has been compiled from sources believed to be current and reliable, Friends of BEST in Alabama, Inc. (FBA) cannot be held responsible for any errors, omissions or content changes. Links made from this website are to reputable organizations at the time of posting. However, FBA cannot be held responsible for content on such linked websites. The existence of such links does not represent an endorsement by FBA of any views expressed or products or services offered.

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