Lesson Plan

California Gold Rush

Gold - It changed California forever.
Adina S.
Technology coordinator
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to explain how the Gold Rush transformed the economy of California, including the types of products produced and consumed, changes in towns (e.g., Sacramento, San Francisco), and economic conflicts between diverse groups of people.

Social Studies
Grades 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Student look at images of gold and miners that came from different backgrounds. In a Google Form, students type in 10 nouns they think about when looking at these images. Those words are copied from the Google Form Spreadsheet and then used to a create a Wordle word cloud. Students then comment on what words did or did not appear in the word cloud as well as an questions they now have. These are recorded on a class chart.

2 Direct Instruction

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students are divided into small groups based upon one of the questions generated in the "Hook" part of the unit. As students participate in lessons and read about the California Gold Rush, they use Google Docs to record the notes that help answer that question. Using the comment feature students can ask one another questions and the teacher can monitor progress, provide encouragement, and clarify any misunderstandings. 

3 Guided Practice

Groups collaboratively create a Haiku Deck presentation of their group's question and the facts they have learned. These presentations are shared with the class. Once all the presentations are completed, The class as a whole then refers to the original list of class questions and determines what has been answered as well as if there are any new questions. These questions can either be answered by the teacher or researched by students.

4 Independent Practice

Students create a new Gold Rush song in GarageBand based on the information they have learned. These songs are shared in class and posted on the classroom web page.

5 Wrap-Up

At the end of the unit, students will post their group Haiku Deck presentation and GarageBand Gold Rush song on their Google Site portfolio. They will also include a reflection about what they have learned about the Gold Rush, as well as what went well and what they would change about their efforts during the unit.