Adventure and Survival curriculumI have inheirited an elective course in our Language Arts department called "Adventure and Survival". The previous teacher left some of her files, but I am having...

Adventure and Survival curriculum

I have inheirited an elective course in our Language Arts department called "Adventure and Survival". The previous teacher left some of her files, but I am having some difficulty organizing it and creating a curriculum that fits my style. The first book is "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer, followed by "Into Thin Air"... After that she left nothing.  Additionally, the timeline shows 8 weeks (we have an alternate day schedule of 88 minutes.) That seems too long to read this (and keep their interest).

Any ideas/suggestions/help would be welcomed. Do you teach these books? Are there other non-fiction or fiction works you could recommend?  This class is for juniors and seniors who are not taking the AP classes.

 

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Sounds fun!  I suggest "The Most Dangerous Game" as a good short story.  You might also want to consider having kids read a biography of their choice that demonstrates adventure.  I'd also include some classic adventure stories, like Treasure Island or Robinson Crusoe.

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

You could look at Naturalism unit. This would include "To Build a Fire" (London), "The Open Boat" (Crane), Summer (Wharton), and McTeague (Norris- Read this first, you may find a little to advanced for students).

Outside of that, the other suggestions you recieved were wonderful as well.

pacorz's profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Hatchet is probably a bit beneath the reading (and entertainment) level of high school juniors and seniors, but many may have read it in elementary or middle school and you could use it as a starting point.

Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card), would be a different twist on the "survival" theme, as it takes into account a lot more of the psychology of survival and isn't even set on Earth.  Never had a student who didn't love that book though, so any chance I can get to work it into a curriculum, I take.

Another idea is to find (and you'd have to be very creative with some Google searches) those survival skills tests written by experts in different survival scenarios.  I have one I like to use about surviving a plane crash.  Students must work alone and then in groups to put a list of 14 items in order of importance for survival.  The entire activity could be done in one class period (with 88 minutes), but the lessons could go on and on.  I know they write them for different situations (or send me your email address and I could give you the one I have) and believe they could be found online.

Ender's Game! What a great suggestion. Every kid I've ever talked to about it loved it also.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Hatchet is probably a bit beneath the reading (and entertainment) level of high school juniors and seniors, but many may have read it in elementary or middle school and you could use it as a starting point.

Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card), would be a different twist on the "survival" theme, as it takes into account a lot more of the psychology of survival and isn't even set on Earth.  Never had a student who didn't love that book though, so any chance I can get to work it into a curriculum, I take.

Another idea is to find (and you'd have to be very creative with some Google searches) those survival skills tests written by experts in different survival scenarios.  I have one I like to use about surviving a plane crash.  Students must work alone and then in groups to put a list of 14 items in order of importance for survival.  The entire activity could be done in one class period (with 88 minutes), but the lessons could go on and on.  I know they write them for different situations (or send me your email address and I could give you the one I have) and believe they could be found online.

kiwi's profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

The movie of Into The Wild is quite good too. Similarly, you could look at the Tom Hanks film Castaway. Non-fiction study could involve research into famous historical survival stories and, of course, students could plan their own survival tasks for the reality show. Good luck with your plan - sometimes a clean slate is easier to work with, honest!

 

pacorz's profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Jack London's short story To Build a Fire is a classic that would fit your topic; I'm thinking that interspersing a few short stories would help keep the student's interest, and also would give your flexibility while your work your way through the course for the first time.

Never Cry Wolf is an excellent book as well as a great movie. Perhaps you could have students compare them?  Also, check out author Gary Paulsen's website for some other useful ideas and materials.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I am also thinking of Hatchet, which is an excellent story of one boy's survival in the forests of Canada. Certainly Into the Wild is an excellent book and one that discusses the need to isolate ourselves from society through looking at one young man's tragic attempt to do just that. You also might like to think of My Side of the Mountain.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Into the Wild is an excellent novel and you should probably teach it as part of the class. The Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Treasure Island, immediately comes to mind as another source, but it is really more suitable for middle school students; ditto Theodore Taylor's The Cay. Another good choice might by Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

wombat7's profile pic

wombat7 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Jack London has a number of short stories you may want to read, "To Build a Fire" being a classic. A novel you may want to consider is Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void". There is a documentary film by the same title. Simpson's use of language and his story set the book apart from many others. There are also numerous interviews that can be found on the web. In addition, there is a DVD called Enough Rope: true Survival Stories. It is a collection of interviews Andrew Denton did on his TV series Enough Rope. You may want to view with your students some of these survival stories.

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