Hi Elizabeth. That’s really exciting – FOSIL works so well when you build skills from one unit to the next in this way. Of your two questions I prefer “Are all forest fires a natural disaster?” because it has so much more scope for exploration and therefore a richer Wonder stage. It contains the “Can a forest fire ever be good for the environment?” question, so if this is an angle the teacher is particularly keen to pursue then she can guide it in that direction, but (off the top of my head) it immediately also raises questions such as:
What is a natural disaster? How do the effects of a forest fire compare to those of other natural disasters?
What is disastrous about a forest fire? How does it affect people, plants, animals and the whole ecosystem? Long term and short term consequences? Local, national and global consequences (environmental? economic?)?
Are all forest fires ‘natural’, or do people sometimes set fire to forests either by accident or on purpose? If on purpose, does it have the effects they intend?
Can forest fires ever have beneficial effects? Beneficial for who?
Obviously the class won’t end up investigating all these areas, but the point of a really good question is that it should have more angles than you can possibly cover in one inquiry!
We would love to hear how the planning for this unit progresses. Please do keep us updated.