RI.6.1 – RI.11-12.1 and RST.6-8.1 – RST.11-12.1: Cite (strong and thorough) textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
During the course of the game, players will develop plans, discuss those plans with each other, and sometimes disagree about the best course of action, or whether an action is legal or not. In all these activities, players will need to make use of the written rulebook, the information on individual cards (both text and iconography), and their own past experiences with playing the game. Sometimes this will be done as part of an internal conversation, where players evaluate what is possible, and what is useful. Sometimes this will be an external conversation, as when players debate the merits or legality of individual actions or broad strategies.
RI.6.2 – RI.11-12.2 also RST.6-8.2 – RST.11-12.2: Determine central idea(s) or conclusions of a text (including how they interact and build on one another), to provide a complex analysis of how those idea(s) are conveyed through particular details. Also, provide a summary of (complex concepts, processes or information presented in) the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
All of the above discussion of holds true for both gameplay and ecological content. As players gain experience, they will construct internal models of the game system, as well as the way that other players are likely to act within that system, using inference to develop a big-picture understanding (the forest) from the individual rules and cards (the trees).
At the same time, players who have learned the game will be able to cite game rules and cards in explaining ecological processes. Natural curiosity may prompt such discussions of real-world patterns and processes. However, if not, educators and parents may also encourage such discussion and reflection through prompts and leading questions.
RI.6.3 – RI.11-12.3: Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
Each game consists of a sequence of relatively unimportant actions and events. However, when these actions and events are considered together, broad ecological principles emerge. Understanding of these principles is necessary for success within the game. Thus, the competitive nature of the game encourages players to carry out this analysis, and understand the consequences of potential choices and interactions. At the same time, when players reflect on past games, they will develop improved understanding of gameplay (and the analogous ecological processes). Thus, a desire to be successful will naturally motivate players to carry out this sort of analysis, to understand the connections among in-game choices in order to be more successful in future games.
RI.6.7 – RI.11-12.7: Integrate (and evaluate) information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue, address a question, or solve a problem).
In Fire and Flora, the rulebook describes a framework for the game, but the detailed behavior of individual cards is printed only on those individual cards. Most of the information in the rulebook is in the form of prose, while most of the information on the cards in the form of keywords and icons. Players must integrate information from among these varied sources and formats in order to understand the allowable choices, the consequences of those choices, and be successful in the game. At the same time, a corollary consequence of this knowledge integration is that players will will develop an understanding of real-world ecological issues and processes.
SL.6.3 – SL.11-12.3 : Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims (by evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence), and distinguish claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not (in part, by identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced).
This is a physical game which was specifically designed to promote interaction. During the game, players will negotiate trades, form and break alliances, attempt to persuade each other of the utility of various courses of action, and occasionally disagree over the legality or utility of actions and strategies. When listening to proposals and arguments, players must use their knowledge of the game rules, and of the speaker, to evaluate the integrity of the speaker’s arguments, and the possible motivations behind those arguments. Only by doing so, can players make good choices and be successful in the game.
SL.6.4 – SL.11-12.4: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details (including opposing perspectives); use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
Conversely, in order to persuade others to make trades or to take particular actions, players must form persuasive arguments. To do this, players will have to use their knowledge of the game rules, the current game state, and the personalities of the other players; and then present those arguments in an effective manner.
RST.6-8.3 – RST.9-10.3: Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks (attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text).
As Fire and Flora is a physical game, the players must implement the rules themselves. Given the variety of different cards in the game, the implementation is a moderately complex procedure, providing practice in carrying out multi-step instructions. For example, whenever one player draws a Fire Event, each player must determine which of their Lands were burned in the fire, and then update the state of each Plant Card that was burned in that fire. Since each Plant Card includes an explanation of the way which that the plant responds to fire, the result is always clearly defined. However, as the response may vary from plant to plant, players must pay attention to detail in order to accurately implement the game.
RST.6-8.9 – RST.11-12.9: Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Fire and Flora is a text, an experiment, and a simulation. In a very concrete sense, the game is an actual text in that information on gameplay and nature are presented in the rulebook, and on the cards (through keywords, icons, and flavor text). At the same time, the game rules are a simplified model of a real world ecological system. Over multiple games, players may experiment with different strategies, and observe the results.
By synthesizing what they have learned from these various sources, players can become more successful in playing the game. Thus, the competitive nature of the game provides motivation for this synthesis. At the same time, the understanding that results from that synthesis will also provide players with useful knowledge about the real-world ecological systems that are modeled in the game.