Wednesday, July 24, 2024
To Build a Fire

To Build a Fire

by Mark Warner
0 comment
Ages: 7-11
Sam Collins

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

Watch this video with your children, and then try some of our teaching and activity ideas below.

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 change 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?

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