To Build a Fire

Age Range: 7 - 16

Genre(s): Adventure

A man finds himself confronted with his own mortality and his inability to force Nature's hand.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Write a prequel to this story. Who is the man? Where did he come from? Where is he trying to go?
  • Write an alternative ending for the story.
  • Think of words and phrases to describe this landscape.
  • Think of synonyms for 'cold'.
  • Pause the video at different points (e.g. 0:38, 0:57, 1:06, 2:20 and 2:30). How is the man feeling? What is he thinking? How might his mindset be changing as his situation worsens?
  • Retell the story from the man's point of view.
  • Read the original story by Jack London and compare it to the animation. Which do you prefer?
  • Write some narration to accompany the animation.
  • Use the text at 0:12 as the starting point for your own story.
  • Write a character profile about this man.
  • Pause the video at different points and write a sentence / paragraph to describe what is happening.
  • Write a 'flashback' sequence where the man thinks about something that has happened to him in the past.
  • Write a newspaper report about the man who went missing in the Klondike River Gold Fields.


  • Estimate the temperature of the air / water in the animation. How does this compare to the temperature where you are now?


  • How can the man try to keep himself warm? What materials are good for insulation?
  • What is fire? How does it help us? How can it be dangerous?


  • Create your own animated version of this story. You could use stop-motion animation tools or multimedia software.

Design Technology

  • Design a shelter to keep the man safe and warm in this dangerous environment.


  • Can you create your own black and white winter scenes like the ones in the background of the animation?


  • Listen to the background music. What instruments can you hear? What atmosphere does the music evoke?
  • Could you compose your own movie soundtrack to accompany this animation? Read this page for some useful advice.


  • Where is the Klondike River? Can you find it on a map? How far away is it from where you live?


  • Can you find out more about the Klondike Gold Rush?


Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.