A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Language Arts Lesson #1

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As you read the introduction to the Stowaway Adventure, did you imagine how you would feel if you were really in that situation?  What would happen if you had stowed away on a ship without your cell phone or laptop computer?  What if it was necessary for you to keep yourself hidden from the crew and you had no idea how long you would be at sea or where the ship was headed?  How would you cope with the unfamiliar environment and your own fears and apprehensions? 


You have been given a list of books whose main character is a boy or girl about your age who must deal with circumstances more even frightening than those of a modern-day stowaway.  For example, in Hatchet, 13 year old Brian Robeson is the sole survivor of a plane crash who must survive in the Canadian wilderness with only the clothes he has on and a hatchet. After you have read one of the books, do the activities listed below: 

1. How did the main character in your book manage to survive? What qualities were necessary for his or her success?  Work with a small group; find members who have read books different from the one you chose.  Discuss the obstacles and adversities that your characters encountered. Create a list of qualities that allowed them to persevere. Which qualities did they all have in common? 

2. The main character in your book had to survive in a dangerous situation by relying on his or her own ingenuity and inner resources. Write about a time that you overcame fear or took charge of a frightening or dangerous situation.  First describe your problem, then your response to it. 

3. Go to Eyewitness Accounts and read excerpts from the journal of Robert Scott , the Antarctic explorer who did not survive his journey. Imagine that the main character of your book had a journal; compose a page just as he or she would have written it.  Remember, this should be a first-person account written from your character's point of view. 

4. Write an essay explaining why your book would be a good movie. What actor or actress would you choose to play the leading character? Would you change the plot or the setting? For resources and tips on adapting books for the screen, ask your teacher to give you suggestions on using the information included in the Movie in the Making web site. 

5. Read what other students have to say about the book you read (205 students have posted reviews of Hatchet .)  Go to Amazon Books and type the name of your book in the Search space. Write your own review and post it to the site. 

6. Make a time line listing the events of the book in chronological order.