English Class Prepares Students for Wilderness Survival
While it is widely known that reading and discussing literature can open minds and virtually transport students to different places and times, one usually doesn't expect to actually practice wilderness survival skills in class. However, ninth-grade students in Mr. Lang's English class 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.
The students in Mr. Lang's class refrained from the extremes of the novel; they did however, build fires and erect tents on the lawn of Mrs. Borst's faculty residence. Students used fire strikers to ignite a fire and Payton M. succeeded in igniting a fire with a magnifying glass. To the satisfaction of many a student, old homework served as kindling. The students appreciated the experience and Mr. Lang would like to develop the activity further, perhaps by incorporating a modified spear to represent hunting for food, as the boys in Lord of the Flies had to do.