My 8th grade Gifted class has been reading the book Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I think they really like this book, and many of the different activities we have been doing as we read it. My students always seem to remember one or two different activities that we do in a unit that stand out to them. Sometimes they stand out to me as well, but sometimes they don’t. But, I believe that this activity is one we both remember. We are building a FIRE!
To begin this activity we have to go back a week ago. Last week we read about the scenery where our main character, Brian Robeson is stranded. Being stranded in the Candian Wilderness, we had to find out from the book what kinds of vegetation the would run into. After re-reading the section we walked around our school campus and gather a box full of dead leaves, twigs, small branches, and dead bark and pine needles. These materials were as close as we could get to what Brian had at his disposal. I also gather 5 balls of cotton to act as birch bark material. We placed these items in my room to dry out for a week.
So today we took our materials and went outside. I also added two large tin cans. One we would build our fire, the other for water to put the fire out. I showed the students how to work the flit stone that I had. we hit it with a small chisel to make the sparks. After all the students had a turn in striking the flint, we began to make our fire.
I had my students fine-out the cotton just as Brian did with the birch bark. They each took a chance on getting the cotton ball on fire. Which they did on time at all. We then put small pieces of leaves, and other matieral into the can with the fire to keep the fire going.
One cool thing, we that my principal came over and asked what we were doing. My students explained that we were re-enacting the scene with Brian. She was amazed that my students could recall the details of the book, and explained everything we did. She was really impressed. I have to say I was as well.