Mrs. Julia Polak’s Reading Mastery Novels class at Exeter-Milligan just finished the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. It is the story of a 13 year-old boy who becomes stranded in the northern Canadian forest after the bush plane in which he is a passenger crashes. Brian survives for 54 days before being rescued. He encounters bears, wolves, a skunk, and a porcupine. Brian gets quills stuck in his leg, and must pull them out himself.
In order for the students to understand about porcupine quills, Mrs. Polak contacted Dave Erdkamp from Exeter, who contacted some other hunters through the Internet, and Nancy Haefer from Moscow, Idaho, sent the class some quills to examine under the microscope. Mrs. Polak had the students draw what they saw in the microscope so the students would better understand how loosely the quills are attached to the porcupine’s tail and body, and also how hard they are to remove!
Dave Erdkamp also loaned the class a moose antler from a forest moose, similar to the one that tried to kill Brian in the book. Forest moose are smaller than moose we are familiar with, but the students realized what strong neck muscles it would take to hold up two of them!
The class wrote thank you notes to both Ms. Haefer and to Mr. Erdkamp for sharing the wildlife artifacts with us.
Janey Erdkamp and Kaitlyn Vavra draw the porcupine quills as they appear in the microscope. Mrs. Polak’s reading class was reading the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.
Josie Kresak and Mitchell Manning examine their porcupine quill under the microscope in Mrs. Polak’s reading class.