The Gold Rush

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The lesson introduces students to the Gold Rush, which was part of the westward movement in the United States.  Many students may have heard of the term “gold rush” but most likely do not know of its origins.  The lesson may be used in conjunction with lessons related to the westward movement, the Louisiana Purchase, and other similar lessons.

The Gold Rush Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about The Gold Rush
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

Help students understand the excitement and anticipation of the westward movement using a lesson all about the Gold Rush.  Many students may have heard of the term “gold rush”, but most likely do not know of its origins.  This lesson features a cross-curricular opportunity for the students to incorporate narrative story writing into their social studies class.  The lesson will be the most effective when used in conjunction with lessons related to the westward movement, the Louisiana Purchase, and other similar lessons.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction

  1. Display the word: Eureka!  Ask the students for the meaning of the word.  Ask students if they have ever heard the word before and where or why.
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students to name a mineral that has a high value.
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students if they would ever go in search of a fortune.  Why?
  4. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce The Gold Rush.
  5. Distribute The Gold Rush content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final discussion statement for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  6. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Allow sufficient time for students to discuss, take notes, create a rough draft and final copy of the two stories. (Students may write out or type the stories.)  Encourage students to use imaginations but include facts and information from the content pages or other resources, as well as using the five senses.  What would it be like if they were there?
  7. Once completed, sharing may be done using one of two options: Students meet with other pairs of students to share the stories or each pair of students read the stories aloud to the class.  Assessment should be based on a typical writing assignment.
  8. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  9. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  10. In closing, ask students to: Tell about a time when you made a discovery or had a great idea and could have yelled “Eureka”.

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions.

Additional Resources: 

Many more teaching resources in Download!

Want more social studies resources? Check out our other Social Studies Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Social Studies