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Literature and Survival Skills
While it is widely known that reading and discussing literature can open minds and virtually transport students to different places and times, it is rare to actually practice wilderness survival skills in English class. However, ninth-grade students in Mr. Lang's English classes had the opportunity to do just that!
This survival skills activity follows the students' study of William Golding's Lord of the Files. In the novel, a plane of British school boys is shot-down over the Pacific Ocean during wartime, leaving only the children, all boys, to fend for themselves on a deserted island. The boys must find their own water, food, and shelter. They form their own society on the island and face power struggles and mounting tension between civilized society and savagery.
While the students in Mr. Lang's class refrained from the extremes of the novel; they learned to start fires and erect a shelter on the lawn of Mrs. Borst's faculty residence. Students used fire strikers to ignite a fire and got dried leaves and grass smoking with magnifying glasses. Campbell C. and Solveig C. were each the first to start fires during their class periods. To the satisfaction of many, old homework served as kindling for these initial fires.
The students loved getting outside and, as one student cried out after successful fire ignition, “If this isn’t female empowerment, I don’t know what is!”