Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University
When is money important, and when does it affect our lives? When gold was discovered in California, new settlers came with dreams of striking it rich. Some made their fortune in gold, while others learned that the best gifts come when a person is giving to others. This lesson will be completed by 3rd graders as a supplemental activity supporting the first story in the 3rd grade Scott Foresman basal reading book.
Overview/ Materials/Historical Background/LOC Resources/Standards/ Procedures/Evaluation/Rubric/Handouts/Extension
2.A. The learner will understand how literary elements and techniques are used to convey meaning.
2.B. The learner will read and interpret a variety of literary works.
GOAL 3: Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.
3.B. The learner will compose well-organized and coherent writing for specific purposes and audiences.
3.C. The learner will communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.
GOAL 4: Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations.
4.A. The learner will listen effectively in formal and informal situations.
4.B. The learner will speak effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience.
GOAL 5: Use the language arts to acquire, assess and communicate information.
5.A. The learner will locate, organize, and use information from various sources to answer questions, solve problems and communicate ideas.
5.B. The learner will analyze and evaluate information acquired from various sources.
Procedures Back to Navigation Bar
Session One – Introduction to Gold Rush – Boom Town Unit:
During whole group instruction - Teacher Read Aloud about California at the following “Library of Congress – Explore the States” website: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/es?section=es&subject=ca&x=11&y=10
Whole group discussion about the state of California, Boom Towns, and the Gold Rush while completing a KWL chart.
Students will create a “GOLD” folder to keep their work in. The folder will be clearly labeled with student’s name and the title: GOLD RUSH – BOOM TOWN.
During computer time, students will go to the following website and read the 3 page short story “Pioneer Life in Sacramento November 25, 1849.”
After reading the story, students will listen TWO TIMES to "The Days of Forty-Nine," an old Gold Rush song: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/jb/reform/gold_3
Students will complete the “Sound Recording Analysis Worksheet” for the Gold Rush song “The Days of Forty-Nine” and place it in their “GOLD” folder.
Sound Recording Analysis Worksheet
Students will complete the “Photo Analysis Guide” for the “Gold Miner” Photo and place it in their “GOLD” folder:
Handout of Gold Miner photograph.
Students will complete the “Writing Activity for… Exploring the Photograph: What Have You Learned?” and place it in their “GOLD” folder.
Writing handout for exploring the photograph. Session Four:
During computer time students will go to the following website, click on the year 1859, and complete the activities as if they were a gold miner. This mining activity begins in Colorado and ends in California:
http://www.usmint.gov/kids/timeMachine/ After finishing the Colorado mining activities, students will click on the “California Gold Rush” icon and print out the fact page about “Gold in California.” Students will put their name on the fact page and place it in their “GOLD” folder.
Wrapping it Up!
During whole group instruction teacher will review the components of this learning experience with students. Students should have the following completed work in their “GOLD” folders:
Writing Activity for Exploring the Photograph: What Have You Learned? (worksheet)
Fact page about California Gold Rush printed from the United States Mint website.
Completed student KWL chart
Revisit the KWL chart from the beginning of this learning experience and fill in new information as necessary. Students will complete their KWL charts and place them in their “GOLD” folder.
Evaluation Back to Navigation Bar
Students will be evaluated using the rubric for “Gold Rush – Boom Town”
Extension Back to Navigation Bar
Students can return to the United States Mint website and explore the many other learning games and activities.
Back to Navigation Bar When is money important, and when does it affect our lives? When gold was discovered in California, new settlers came with dreams of striking it rich. Some made their fortune in gold, while others learned that the best gifts come when a person is giving to others.
Session One – Teacher Read Aloud from this website:http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/es?section=es&subject=ca&x=11&y=10
Nicknamed the "Golden State," California is the third largest state in area after Alaska and Texas. The discovery of gold and the immigration in 1849 of thousands of "forty-niners" in search of the precious metal helped California's admission into the Union in 1850. Today, California, land of the giant redwoods, has the highest population of any state in the nation and is America's principal agricultural state. It is also the home of Hollywood, the center of America's movie and television industry. Its capital is Sacramento and the state flower is the golden poppy.
Session Two - Students will be reading the following short story when they visit this website:
Pioneer Life in Sacramento
November 25, 1849 Page 1 -Did you ever wonder what it would have been like to head for California during the Gold Rush? In 1849, after the announcement that gold was discovered in Sutter's Creek, 40,000 people, called forty-niners, traveled to California by sea. Thousands more traveled across land. They were lured by the prospect of finding gold and riches. Yankee trader Franklin A. Buck was among those who headed west to seek his fortune. Just 20 years old, Buck left his job in New York and set sail for California in January 1849. On November 25, 1849, he wrote a letter to his sister Mary about his experiences in the boomtown of Sacramento City. Buck opened a supply store there and business was booming like the town!
Page 2 -Though homesick, the young forty-niner wrote to his sister, "I have not come 20,000 miles to turn around and go right back again like some persons who have been here and gotten homesick." Young Buck told Mary about the success of his business. "Week before last," he boasted, "we sold out of our little store $1,500 worth of goods. All cash trade in one day. Tell Joseph to beat that . . . The flour that I bought in San Francisco for $18 per sack (200 lbs) we sold for $44 and are all out." Among those seeking gold in California in 1849, many went home again penniless. But merchants, like Buck, who provided supplies for the miners, tended to do well in the golden West.
Page 3 - Buck described for Mary the growing town of Sacramento City, consisting of "more than 800 framed buildings, besides the tents." The California weather, he told her, was great. "Today is Sunday. Gloomy November, probably, with you, but here the weather is splendid, not cold enough to need a fire." Despite his enthusiasm, Buck could not conceal his homesickness, and how he missed his family. "I should like to be at home on Thanksgiving Day. I suppose you have had or will have one about this time. (Bake me a turnover!) Be sure and write me all about it. I look forward with great pleasure to spending a Thanksgiving with all the family once more in my life." Have you ever felt homesick? If you were a forty-niner, would you have felt like Franklin Buck?
Session Four – Students will print this fact page off the following United States Mint website:
Gold was found in California in 1848, but the rush didn’t really begin until about a year later because communication was slow and people weren’t sure they could believe the reports.
When President Polk confirmed the discovery, many people left everything to make their fortunes in the West. They came not only from the East but from all over the world.
In those days, gold, silver, and copper were the basis of America’s money and all our coins were made from one of these precious metals.