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California Gold Rush - 4th Grade: Lesson 1

First of 8 Lessons about the California Gold Rush

Alek Majtenyi

on 22 May 2018

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Transcript of California Gold Rush - 4th Grade: Lesson 1

What would you do for $1,000,000?
What you need to know:
California Common Core Standards
Timeline of Events
1848 to 1855
Where the real "gold" is at:
The Mining Life
How would you get rich during the Gold Rush?
The success of finding gold drove up prices for everything. While the average worker might make $6 to $10 per day, food and supplies could cost much more than that. Many people spent 6 months earnings, or more, just getting to California. When they arrived, they could not afford basic supplies.
"Dear Mother," R.A.F.T.
You are a California gold miner in 1849 writing a friendly letter back home to your family. Based on the information and images in this presentation as well as any additional resources, tell your family about your mining life. Your letter should be 2 paragraphs and include a drawing illustrating one aspect of your new life.
"Der be gold in dem der hills!"
Know the Lingo!
- to test ore with a chemical to find out how much gold is in it
boom town
- a town that grew fast as a result of mining
- a piece of ground of a certain size which no one has a right to mine except the person who owns the ground; boundry marked with a stake or pile of rocks.
claim jumping
- a form of robbery wherby a rightful owner of a claim is forced to abandon it by threats, violence or murder
- a rocking device used in placer mining for separating gold from rock and gravel
- any trace or sized particle of placer gold
- very fine particles of placer gold
- a small piece of placer gold
fool's gold
- iron pyrite that made many miners think they had found gold
- specifically those people who came to mine for gold in 1849, but now means all who came to mine for gold in California during the gold rush
mother lode
- a huge deposit of gold running through quartz in the Sierra Nevada foothills
- lumps of gold of medium to large size
pay dirt
- clay, sand or gravel with gold in it
- a bag used to carry money or gold
- a mineral in which gold is often found
- rocks and gravel piles left over after mining an area
The California Gold Rush
Travel thousands of miles on a boat for months from away from your home and family?
Work at a job that pays only $10 a day?
Live in a small tent without electricity or running water through hot summers and freezing winters?
Eat only beans, bacon or wild game like deer for every meal?
Face disease, hard labor, and death on a daily basis?
And there is no guarantee that you will get the money!
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.HIST-SOC.4.3.3. Analyze the effects of the Gold Rush on settlements, daily life, politics, and the physical environment (e.g., using biographies of John Sutter, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Louise Clapp).
January 1848: James Marshall finds gold at Sutter's Mill
August 1848: The gold rush begins
1849: The coming of the 49'ers
June 1849: A government is formed
December 1849: San Francisco becomes a booming metropolis
January 1850: The Compromise of 1850 is passed
1850: The gold runs out
1855: California bans hydraulic mining
Lesson Objectives
After completing this unit, the student will compare the experience of life during the California Gold Rush to his or her own life.
Home Sweet Home
Who Made It Happen
John Sutter
James W. Marshall
Sam Brannan
Henry Wells & William Fargo
Levi Strauss
Mark Twain
Leland Stanford

More information:
In Search of Gold!
The Life and Times of Miner 49ers
Live in Canvas tents
Cook food over an open fire
Eat beans, bacon or local game
Scurvy was common (lack of fruits/vegetables)
Rarely bathed or washed clothes
Danger of tent or town being destroyed by fire
Heavy rain and snow during the winter months
Sickness and colds were common
Group Discussion Topic:
How is this "home" different from your house?
In what ways is it similar to your home?
On The Road Again
Routes to California
Distance: 3,000 miles
Estimated Travel Time: 3 to 7 months

32,000 people traveled West this way
Less expensive than traveling by ship
Traveled by wagons pulled by oxes or mules
Most common cause of death: diseases and sicknesses such as cholera, mountain fever, pneumonia, and diphtheria
By Land
The Oregon Trail
By Sea
The Panama Shortcut
Distance: 7,000 miles
Estimated Travel Time: 2 to 3 months

Shorter and faster than Cape Horn route
Trip began in Caribbean on a bungo, a Panamanian canoe
Landed and set out on mules or horses through a jungle
Many died from diseases like Malaria, yellow fever and cholera.
Final step is long boat ride from Panama City to California.
By Sea
Around Cape Horn
Distance 15,000 miles
Estimated Travel Time: 4 to 8 months

Cost ranged from $100 to $1,000
Cramped rooms on ship
Dangers included monstrous waves, frigid temperatures and high gusts of wind.
Considered the safest way to California
Writing Prompt:
Choose ONE of the following prompts and respond in your writing journal:
Describe 5 ways the journey from the East Coast to California would be different today verses 1849?
How would you travel now?
Does the distance change? Does the time?
Would the journey today be more comfortable or less? Why?
If you were a gold seeker which of the 3 routes would you choose to get to California?
List 5 reasons why you would choose the route you chose
William D. Wilson, writing to the "St. Joseph Valley Register," on February 21, 1849, gives the following schedule of prices at Sutter's Fort:
Flour, per barrel .......... $30 to $40.00
Salt Pork, per barrel .......... 110 to 150.00
Salt Beef, .......... 45 to 75.00
Molasses,.......... 30 to 40.00
Salt Salmon .......... 40 to 50.00
Beans, per pound .......... .20
Potatoes, .......... .14
Coffee, .......... 20 cents to .33
Sugar, .......... 20 cents to .30
Rice, .......... 20 cents to .30
Boots, per pair .......... $20 to 25.00
Shoes,.......... 3 to 12.00
Blankets .......... 40 to 100.00
Transportation by river from San Francisco to Sacramento, he says, was $6 per one hundred pounds. From Sacramento to the mines by team at the rate of $10 for every twenty-five miles.
John H. Miller, writing to the "St. Joseph Valley Register," October 6, 1849, gives the following prices at Weberville, 60 miles from Sacramento:
Wagons .......... $40 to $80.00
Oxen, per yoke .......... 50 to 150.00
Mules, each .......... 90 to 150.00
Board, per meal, $1.50, or per week .......... 21.00
Beef, per pound .......... 40 cents to .75
Salt Pork, per pound .......... 40 cents to .75
Flour, per pound .......... 25 cents to .30
Sugar, per pound .......... 30 cents to .50
Molasses, per gallon .......... $2 to 4.00
Mining Cradles .......... $20 to 60.00
Mining Pans .......... $4 to 8.00
Practice with a Partner: Cost of Living
At $10/day, how many days would you have to work to afford a pair of boots? A blanket? Oxen? 50lbs of flour? 3 gallons of molasses? 2 mining candles?
Additional Resources:
Primany Sources: http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/three/
RAFT Template: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/printouts/RAFTWriting.pdf
Learning Objective
: Students will analyze the effects of the Gold Rush on settlements, daily life, politics, and the physical environment.
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