Survival Stories

Lesson 11


Analyze how Brian’s “figuring out food” contributes to the structure of the story. 

Readings and Materials

  • Book: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (pp. 113–120, 161–170)  pp. 113 – 120

Subscribe to Fishtank Plus to unlock access to additional resources for this lesson, including:

  • Enhanced Lesson Plan
  • Essential Task Guide
  • Student Handout Editor
  • Vocabulary Package


Target Task


Writing Prompt

How does Brian’s “figuring out food” contribute to the sequence of events?

Mastery Response


Create a free account or sign in to view Mastery Response

Key Questions


  • How do the stories about the bear and the wolf contribute to the overall structure of the story? 

  • What is the purpose of the phrase “gone down and down” on p. 116? What does it reveal about Brian? 

  • How does the scene on p. 116 contribute to the overall understanding of the story? 

  • On pp. 118–119 the author uses short sentences. Identify the short sentences and explain why the author chose to include them. 

  • On p. 119, Brian states that “He had done food.” What does this mean? Why was this important? 

  • At the end of the chapter, Brian says that he is full of “tough hope.” What is the difference between tough hope and hope? What does it reveal about Brian? 

  • Summarize the excerpt. In your summary, be sure to describe how the characters in the story respond to the main challenges. Also, be sure to determine a main theme of the excerpt. 



infuriating     (adj.)

describes something that makes you very angry

exulted     (v.)

to feel or show great happiness



  • Background information: Brian is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Read about how Brian learns how to survive in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a hatchet.



Read pages 121-138. What mistakes did Brian make? What did he learn from his mistakes? What can we learn about wilderness survival from Brian's mistakes? 

Enhanced lesson plan

Enhanced Lesson Plan

Get recommendations on pacing and lesson structure, as well as suggestions for meeting the needs of a range of learners. Download Sample

Common Core Standards

  • RL.5.2 — Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

  • RL.5.5 — Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

Sprial Standards