Magazine article Technology and Children

Wilderness "Home"

Magazine article Technology and Children

Wilderness "Home"

Article excerpt

Wilderness "Home" Book Paulsen, G. (1987). Hatchet. New York, N.Y: Simon and Schuster. [195 pages; ISBN 0-689-80882-8].

Summary of Book

As Brian Robeson flies in a single-engine plane to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness, thoughts of his parent's divorce trouble him. The pilot briefly allows him to fly the plane. Later, when the pilot suffers a massive heart attack and dies, Brian must somehow land the plane by himself. He manages a wobbly landing in a nearby lake. Using the resources of only the clothes he is wearing and a hatchet he received from his mother as a parting gift, Brian has to find shelter and figure out how to stay alive.

Design Brief: Using Creativity for Survival

Suggested Grade Level: 4-6

In the book, Brian must survive in the wilderness using only his hatchet and his creative mind for resources. In order to survive, Brian had to provide shelter, food, and fire. Now it is time to challenge your creativity and survival skills. Build a scale model of a lean-to or other structure that would keep small animals like skunks or porcupines out of your shelter. Limit yourself to the natural resources that would typically be available in the wilderness.

Teacher Hints

1. After discussing powers of observation with your students, take a walk around the playground or classroom to locate "sharp" resources. Sharp objects could be used to dig holes that would anchor the corners of his shelter or provide him with edible roots. During another walk, have students pick objects that could help Brian in the wilderness, including such things as vines to help him lash his shelter poles together or larger rocks to make a big "HELP" message in a large area of bare ground.

2. Plan a nature walk to further children's knowledge of science and nature and give them a sense of Brian's wilderness "home." Relate to the story by discussing natural shelter areas such as caves, rock outcroppings, or the bases of big, uprooted trees that could be used in an emergency. Use the Internet to research uses for plants in your area, such as jewelweed to stop the itching of poison ivy. What berries are in your area and when are they ripe? …

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