Hikes to Fitchburg is a book that lends itself to many possible
activities for students of all ages. The older the student the more
in depth the teacher may want the student to study with regard to
the life and times of Henry David Thoreau. This Website offers a
variety of activities which may be expanded to involve students
in guided or independent learning that allows for integrating literature,
science, language arts, social studies, art, music, and mathematics.
Students may produce a PowerPoint presentation on the book and what
they have learned as Henry the Hiker, or the friend and his experiences.
Directions for creating a PowerPoint slide show are included. In
order to read and print the pdf files you will need Adobe Acrobat
Reader. The images may look distorted in Adobe Acrobat Reader, but
when printed they are very clear.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
may use Microsoft Word to write poetry, descriptions, and information
with borders and other stylized features. They can also insert photos,
illustrations and graphics. Directions for creating documents are
may be written in scrapbooks created by students. The writing may
be done in word processing, printed and then cut and pasted in the
books. This would allow for individual styles of fonts and custom
design of the journal. Leaf pressing and nature sketches might be
included in the student journal/scrapbook. See the scrapbooking
sites for details and ideas on scrapbooking.
treasure hunt will reveal many interesting tidbits about the book.
an 1852 Map of Concord, have students find locations.
information from articles about the Fitchburg Railroad, challenge
your students with a few math problems.
the book as tie-in to problem-solving. Here is a unit designed by
a math teacher in Kentucky. You will need Acrobat Reader.
David Thoreau lived in Concord with great writers and thinkers during
the transcendentalist era of the mid 1800s. Although younger students
may not be ready for much of the original reading, they can relate
to the philosophies of marching to a different drummer (Thoreau)
living off the land and not needing so many material things that
we miss the beauty of nature (Thoreau and Walden Pond), learning
by being actively involved (Alcott), and self reliance (Emerson).
book, Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, is enjoyable at any level.
However, once one realizes that Thoreau's philosophy has been beautifully
illustrated in a picture book it is even more appreciated. Thoreau
liked to juxtapose things and the book does just that on each page
with Henry on one side and his friend on the other. If one knows
that Thoreau loved to hike, press leaves in a music book that he
carried with him, travel with a knapsack to collect things, used
a walking stick notched to measure, and played a flute, then one
can appreciate how the author/illustrator conveys this in twenty-eight
illustrated pages. Allow students the delight in examining each
illustration. Let them discover Henry David Thoreau by searching
each picture for clues to Thoreau's interests. Then complete the
Web activity on Henry Hikes to Fitchburg and see how the author
portrayed Henry David Thoreau's life and times in this book.
how we introduced the Take a Hike with Henry Activity.