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Lesson Plan #: AELP-SFY0006
Author: Patti Emley
School or Affiliation: Louisburg Elementary Middle School, Louisburg, KS. Date: 1994

Grade Level(s): 5, 6


  • Health/Safety

Overview: In Hatchet , by Gary Paulsen, Brian experiences life without all the comforts of home. After the storm and the tail of the plane is visible, Brian remembers there is a survival kit on board. This activity allows the students to become aware of what they think should be in that survival kit.

Objectives(s): Students will be able to:

1. Work in groups of two or three, and list the things that they might need to survive in the wilderness of Canada.
2. List the items in order of importance of need to be able to survive.
3. Narrow the list down to twelve items.
4. Construct a replica of this survival kit.


1. Divide into groups of two or three.
2. Choose a record keeper for your group.
3. Brainstorm about items you might need to survive in the wilderness of Canada.
4. Agree on a list of twenty items and list them in order of importance of necessity.
5. Now narrow the list down to twelve items.
6. Using construction paper make a replica of your survival kit.

Tying It All Together:

After the kits are made and displayed, read the chapter that tells what Brian found in the kit from the plane.  Compare your kits to the one Brian found.  Discuss why some of things are alike or different.  Discuss why some of our items were not in Brian’s kit.  Vote on the ideal contents. Have a staff person from the American Red Cross or local fire department make a presentation, and ask them to analyze your class survival kit choices.

Useful Internet Resources:
Outdoor Action Guide to Hypothermia and Cold Weather Injuries

FEMA for Kids (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

FEMA for Kids – Teacher’s/Parent’s Guide


Ski Patrol Web

Winter Camping & Hypothermia

Winter Survival film – A short documentary on how to survive outdoors in winter.