Released by Lindale ISD

Lindale High School horticulture science teacher Rebecca Curry has seized what she believes is a great opportunity to bridge fiction and reality through practical lessons of wilderness survival.

With the release of the motion picture The Hunger Games and the long-standing popularity of the books, Curry wanted to build on the frenzy by using the storyline as a prompt to teach her students how to identify plants and berries for eating and other wilderness survival tips.

“All of my students have read the books, they are reading the books, they have seen the movie or they are planning to see it,” Curry said. “They are so caught up in the story that I saw this as a positive way to apply some type of variation with my horticulture science students.”

The Hunger Games is not part of the required reading for Lindale High School but so many of Curry’s students had read the book and asked her questions about plants mentioned in it, she wanted to build on their interests. Part of the novel focuses on the main character’s survival in the wilderness.

Mrs. Curry’s lesson plans in the coming weeks will include teaching students how to identify cultivated and uncultivated plants that are safe for eating.

“Cultivated plants are those you would put in your vegetable garden,” Curry said. “In some cases, they have counterparts that are native to wooded areas. My students will learn how to identify these native plants.”

Curry’s lesson plan will also focus on a five-part test for identifying plants that are poisonous. Students will also learn some more unusual means of survival in extreme situations. For example, one part of Curry’s lesson plans includes teaching students how to prepare acorns for digestion.

The class has already started some preliminary work in applying what students read in the novels to the lessons.

“We drew up an agricultural commodities map based on regions in the United States that mimicked a mention in the books,” Curry said. “My students wanted to learn what plants were native to east Texas that they could use for survival. Since that was one of the main elements of survival in the book, I thought it would be a valuable lesson for them.”

Curry said the lesson plans will become much more in-depth in about three weeks.

“I believe our kids will benefit from having these skills and working knowledge of what they can use for survival in this area of the state. Just as it was conveyed in the books, it really could be the difference between life or death in some situations. Agriculture and survival were intertwined in the novels and this is a great opportunity to keep our kids interested in education and science.”