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BuRied Alive!
How 33 Miners Survived 69 days deep under the Chilean desert

by Elaine Scott

Mining is a collaborative effort between all the members of a team. How do you think this helped the miners survive their ordeal? Luis Urza, Don Lucho to his team and Bossy Boots to his mother, is credited with keeping the men going during their many days underground. One of the ways he did this was by insisting that the men eat all of their meals together even though they were each given only two spoonfuls of tuna, a sip of milk, a bite of cracker, and a tiny morsel of canned peach a day(p. 20). Why did he do this? Why did the men continue to organize their days into work shifts in the mine when they were trapped?
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Book Summary
Elaine Scotts account of the ordeal of the thirtythree miners trapped 2,300 feet below the Chilean desert in the San Jos mine collapse is riveting, moving, and informative. Weaving the chronological narrative of the miners story with technical information about how they were rescued, this incredible book offers many entry points for all kinds of learners. Scott seems to anticipate what readers will be curious about and has stocked the book with information not only about the technology used to free the miners but also about the details of their daily lives underground. Buried Alive! is a wonderful tribute to the thirty-three men whose plight captured the attention of the world.

One of the miners, Edison Pea, ran and exercised while trapped in the mine, he said, to be an active participant in my own salvation (p 23). How did running contribute to his struggle to be rescued? When Mario Seplveda cried in the mine, he walked away from all of the others. Why? What would you miss most, if you were trapped with the miners? Just as the miners had to cooperate, collaborate, and rely on one another, so did the people working on getting them out. What strengths did different people bring to the project? The tubes used to send and receive messages and supplies are called palomas, or doves. The rescue capsule was named the Phoenix, after a bird that is reborn from ashes. Why do you think these names are meaningful? What setbacks did the teams experience while drilling? How did they overcome them?

Discussion Questions
These questions might also be used as essay topics. There had been concerns about the safety of the San Jos mine for years before the collapse in August 2010. Why did the owners do nothing to address these issues? Explain.

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children Houghton Mifflin Harcourt www.hmhbooks.com

d i s c u s s i o n

G u i d e

BuRied Alive!
How 33 Miners Survived 69 days deep under the Chilean desert

by Elaine Scott

Camp Hope, where the families of miners lived while they were waiting for the miners to be rescued, was full of childrenhow were they supported during this difficult time? How did they participate? What challenges do the miners face postrescue? Why? Can you imagine what it would be like to talk to only thirty-three peoplesay, your classmatesfor months? What kinds of challenges would you face? In her afterword, Scott says that this story has helped her appreciate her own freedoms. How does it help you appreciate yours?

Essay topic: Ask students to compare and contrast rescue plans A, B, and C in their own words. What were the benefits and drawbacks of each? Science: Buried Alive!, and especially the diagram of pulleys on p. 59, provides wonderful context for engaging in a study of pulleys. Either with a science kit or with simple found supplies such as string and spools, ask your students to work in teams (just as the miners did) to explore how pulleys allow us to easily raise and lower heavy objects. Math: Buried Alive! is a great source of real-life context for word problems. Using situations in the book, create word problems for your students that demonstrate ways that math is used in the real world. The problems content will depend on your students math needs. You might, for example, create problems that ask students to determine how much tuna each miner would get if they have (x) cans for (x) days. You might ask students to determine how much cable would be needed to lower a rescue capsule (x) feet underground, etc. Social Studies: Mining is an ancient profession that has taken place nearly everywhere in the world. With your students, research the history of mining in your area.

Teaching ideas
language Arts: In the authors note at the back of the book, Elaine Scott describes the process she went through to research and collect accurate information about the San Jos mine disaster. In the context of a research project of their own, discuss with your students the different sources of information she used and the importance of both finding and becoming a reliable source. As your students research, ask them to use a variety of sources, as Scott did, in order to provide the most complete picture possible. Ask your students to pick a local news event to research and write about. Ask them to include primary source interviews, as Scott was able to do with Greg Hall. Buried Alive! is a wonderful mentor text to use within a study of nonfiction narrative. Study the book with your students from a writers perspective. What do they notice? How does she make it exciting? What different nonfiction features does the book include that students could try out in their own writing?

This guide for discussion and classroom use was written by Zoe Ryder White.

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children Houghton Mifflin Harcourt www.hmhbooks.com