Surviving in the Wilderness

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13907

Do you like to go hiking or exploring? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you got lost? How long could you survive? Get some tips here, and learn how to analyze an informational passage.


Comprehension, Practical Life Skills

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

In 2019, eight-year-old Leia Carrico and her five-year-old sister, Caroline, wandered away from their home in California. They soon got lost in the forest. It was rainy and cold, and they had no food or water.

Two days later, when rescuers found them, they were calm, healthy, and not injured.

  • How do you think they survived?
  • What would you have done?

Below is an informational passage about the Carrico girls, which also includes information about how to survive if you find yourself in their situation.

After you read it, you will analyze the passage.

  • What does it mean to analyze a piece of writing?

It means to think about it, break it down into its parts, and closely examine those parts.

As you read about Leia and Caroline, notice how their story is presented. Then, as you read the tips on wilderness survival, notice how the ideas are introduced and the examples are given.

You might want to write down some notes to use in the Got It? and Go! sections.

Leia and Caroline were very fortunate. More than 250 volunteers from the area went out to search for them. Two members of the team followed some boot prints in the mud. After a while, they heard a crackling noise. "Dad?" the little girls cried out. The firefighters called back and replied, "We're right here!" Their voices led the firefighters to the huckleberry bush they had huddled under for shelter.

Leia and Caroline had no idea when they set out on their walk that they would spend two days alone in the woods, but they were not unprepared for the adventure. They had gone on camping trips with their parents and participated in 4-H, a club where kids learn by doing hands-on projects. They also watched some movies about people who were lost, and they remembered some important rules. These rules are good for everyone to know, whether you plan camping, hiking, or just exploring your neighborhood.

If you find yourself lost, experts at AllTrails recommend the following steps.

  1. Look around you and gather some information. Is there any danger near? Decide if finding a safer place or staying right there would be better. If you're lost and know that people are looking for you, it's probably best to stay where you are. That makes it easier for people to find you.

  2. Is there any shelter nearby? A thickly wooded area, a cave, an overhanging cliff, or even a large downed tree can be a good place to find shelter from rain or snow. If you cannot find a natural source of shelter, you can build one with tree branches and pine boughs.

make-shift shelter

  1. Look around for materials to make a fire. You'll need two sticks and some small, dry leaves. Rub a stiff and strong stick up and down the grain of a larger stick. This will create glowing embers. Put the leaves and moss on the embers, then blow gently on the pile to make it flare up.

man making fire

  1. Look for water. Find water close to its source. That means finding water from a river or spring, not a pond where it's been sitting for a while. You can also drink water from the leaves of a tree after it rains.

wet leaves

  1. Look for wild berries to eat. If you see birds or small animals eating it, eating it is probably safe, but don't eat white berries. Also, look around for nuts such as pine nuts (from pine cones), acorns, and walnuts.

black berries

Leia and Caroline did almost everything the experts suggested. After wandering for a while, Leia realized they had better stay in one place because she knew her dad would come looking for them. The girls stayed under a log the first night but got wet. The next night, they huddled under a huckleberry bush and used Caroline's jacket as a shelter. They stayed close together to keep warm and tried to think happy thoughts about being with their family again.

Leia began trying to start a fire, but when the sun suddenly came out, she decided the sun would keep them warm enough, so they didn't need a fire. The girls had carried some granola bars on their walk and had eaten them early on. They didn't find anything to eat in the forest. But for water, they drank rainwater from the huckleberry leaves as their parents had once taught them.

  • Are you ready to answer some questions about Leia and Caroline and the wilderness survival tips?

Move on to the Got It? section.

Image - Button Next