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Name _____________________________ Date: _______________ Period: ______________

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen


Building Background Knowledge
Somebody was screaming, screaming as the plane drove down into the water. Someone screamed
tight animal screams of fear and pain and [Brian] did not know that it was his sound, that
roared against the water that took him and the plane still deeper, down in the water. He saw
nothing but sensed blue, cold blue-green. . . .
Hatchet, pg29
Soon, you will be reading the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This activity will give you some
background knowledge about what happens in the book.
Go to: http://mrsbeckershatchet.wikispaces.com/ to start. Have fun!
About the Author write complete sentences
First read about the Iditarod. Then read about the author.
1.

Where did Paulsen live when he completed his first novel?


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What sport did Paulsen get involved with around 1983?


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How many books has Paulsen written for kids and adults?
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Why did Paulsen write the book Brian's Winter?


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It's important to decide whether an author is credible (or believable) when he writes,
especially when the book is about a situation that could be real. The book Hatchet is
about a boy who has to survive in the wilderness of Northern Canada by himself. What
things in Paulsen's background do you think would make you believe the situations he talks
about in the book?
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2.

The Plane Trip

Brian flies to meet his dad in a Cessna Skyhawk airplane. We see planes flying over school
all the time but they're usually very large ones. This plane is quite small.
Google "Cessna Skyhawk" and then click on Images in the upper left-hand corner to see
pictures of the plane. Pick one of the images and use it as a model to draw a sketch of the
plane below.

Below is a picture of what the control panel for an airplane looks like. Draw an arrow to
the instrument on the panel that you think would control whether the plane goes up or
down.

3.

Setting Location

1.

Put a dot on the map at the approximate location of Chantilly, VA and label it Westfield.

Go to:maps.google.com.
1. Put a dot on your activity sheet map at the approximate location of Chantilly and label it
"Chantilly".
2. Use maps.google.com to find Hampton, New York.
2.

3. Now, click on "Get Directions" on the upper left-hand side of the screen. In A Type in
Hampton, New York and in B type in Lac des Ouefs Canada and click "Get Directions".
Google won't be able to calculate directions because there are no roads between the two
locations but it will give you an idea of where Brian might have been.
4. Mark the location for Hampton, NY and for Lac des Ouefs on the map on your activity
sheet and label each of them. Draw a line between the two to show the route Brian might
have taken in the plane.
5. Now, click and hold someplace close to Lac des Ouefs on the map. The cursor will turn
into a hand. Use this to drag Lac des Ouefs to the center of the screen.
6. Zoom in using the "+" sign to see what Brian might have seen while he was trying to land
the plane. Click on the picture and use the "hand" to drag the picture around.
3

Based on what you saw in the satellite picture, how hard do you think it would be for
Brian to find a lake to crash into in the Canadian Northern Wilderness? Why?

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4.

Setting Biome
Taiga
o What is the temperature in the Taiga in the summer? _____________________
o Why do birds come to the Taiga each year? _____________________________
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Porcupine
o About how many quills does a porcupine have? ___________________________
o How does a porcupine use its quills to defend itself? ______________________
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Moose
o Why do you think a charging moose (one running towards you) would be very
dangerous?
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Black Bear
o What do black bears eat? __________________________________________

Kingfisher
o Why do you think watching the kingfisher made Brian think about making a spear?
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Ruffled Grouse (Fool Bird)


o What common bird is the Ruffled Grouse roughly the same size as?
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o What do young ruffled grouses often do in fall and early winter that might make
people call them fool birds?
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5.

Chokecherry (Gut Cherry)


o What animal loves to eat chokecherries?
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Heart Attack
What causes a heart attack? ___________________________________________
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6.

How to Make a Fire


Under Gathering Flammable Materials, read step #1. What can you make kindling out
of? (Hint: see list below step.) List four things that you think Brain would have found in
the woods.
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Next, go back up to the top of the page, Step # 1 Lighting the Fire
Click on How to Make a Fire With Flint and Steel or Quartzite and Steel.

7.

What happens when you strike (hit) the rock against the hatchet blade?
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Tools
What can you use a hatchet for? __________________________________________
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What can a bow and arrow do? ___________________________________________


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Survival
Score: ______
8.

Related Interests