Hatchet

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is a survival story, but it’s also a tale about a boy beginning to learn about adult ideas.

Activity: How would you survive?

Have each student write a story about being in a survival situation all alone. They must include:

    • How they arrived at a remote location
    • Describe the location, including plants, animals, and climate
    • What resources or tools came with them to the location
    • What resources or tools can be found or made at the location
    • How they would obtain food, shelter, and protection from nature
    • What dangers they might encounter
    • How they would attempt to be rescued
    • How long they think they could survive in such a setting

The narrative can be a short response or a longer work of art or creative writing. Students should share their work and discuss whether their story is plausible or fanciful.

Activity: What vitamins do you need to survive?

This activity is designed to help students understand why the human body needs vitamins. Students will fill out a chart that lists vitamins, their function, and the food sources which provide these vitamins. Parents and teachers can decide how much detail to go into based on student understanding and ability. It may be better for younger students to only research a few vitamins, whereas older students can learn about the entire list. Students should do as much research on their own as possible.

Begin the activity by defining of a vitamin:

A vitamin is a nutrient that a living thing needs in order to function properly. Vitamins can almost never be made by the organism itself, so they must be obtained through its diet.

Next, provide students with a copy of this chart and instruct them to fill it out after performing research about which parts of the human body are affected by vitamins and which foods are rich in these vitamins. Answers will vary, as vitamins have many different functions in the body and they are found in many different food sources. After this activity students should be able to explain various sources of vitamins, how those vitamins support proper functioning of the body, and why it is important to eat a varied diet to obtain proper nutrition.

Advanced students can also write a research essay answering the following prompt:

In Hatchet, Brian spends fifty-four days eating only choke cherries, raspberries, hazelnuts, fish, grouse, and rabbit. What vitamins would he have been able to obtain from this diet? Which would have been missing? What would be the long-term effects of a diet with these vitamin deficiencies?

Little Women – Part 1

In this episode, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott gets knocked off its pedestal. It’s okay if that makes you angry. I can handle the hate mail.

Activity:

Make Amy’s Pickled Limes

Materials needed:
Fresh limes
salt
water
saucepan
half pint mason jars with bands and lids (slices from about one and a half limes will fit in each jar)

Note: If you are making limes for use in a standard classroom, you may wish to use a larger jar to avoid having to clean multiple jars or waste bands and lids. A quart sized jar would hold enough lime wedges for one classroom. Smaller jars are recommended if only a few limes are needed at a time as they have the best taste and texture when eaten very soon after the jar is opened. Also, be sure to prepare the limes three to six weeks before they are needed for a lesson.

Get a saucepan and mix water and salt. You will need a scant teaspoon of salt per cup of water. Warm the water just enough to allow the salt to fully dissolve. Stir to mix it evenly. Let the water cool to room temperature.

Thoroughly clean the mason jars and lids with hot soap and water. Rinse and drain the jars and lids.

Wash the limes. Slice each one into eight wedges of equal size. Gently pack the lime wedges into the jars to fill them, but leave a quarter inch of space at the top. Pour in enough salt water to cover the limes. Put on the lids and screw on the lid bands tightly. Label the jars with today’s date and put them in the refrigerator. Each lime wedge has about 2.5 calories and no added sugar, but they pack just as much flavor as any sugary sour candy.

Allow the limes to pickle for at least three weeks. Treat them like any other kind of refrigerator pickles — they will not keep more than three months as they haven’t been processed. Once the jars are opened it is best to eat the limes right away. Drain and discard the salt brine, then serve the lime slices while reading or discussing Chapter 7, “Amy’s Valley of Humiliation.” Be sure to discard the rinds appropriately to avoid infuriating the teacher.

Music in this episode

The following songs are mentioned in Little Women and were used as background music:

“Come Ye Desconsolate” with lyrics by Thomas Moore and music by Thomas Hastings
“He That is Down Needs Fear no Fall” with lyrics by John Bunyan
Selections from Wilhelm Meister with lyrics by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and music by Franz Schubert

Theme music: “The Hazel Dell” by Derek B. Scott