Marcia Eymann visited the Center for Sacramento History and talked about the California gold rush. The California gold rush began in 1848, when gold was found at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought 300,000 people from across the U.S. and abroad to California.
In 1824 gold was discovered in California sparking the California Gold Rush. New settlers from around the United States and the world migrated to California. This lesson explores the origins of the California Gold Rush and its impact on the lives of different groups present at the time. Video clips include the perspectives of 49ers, women settlers, Chinese immigrants and California Indians.
Begin class by posing the following questions to your students:
Review the students' answers to the warm-up questions. After doing this, have the students view the following clip and answer the associated questions. Students can also use the Gold Rush Handout linked below to answer this and the other questions in this lesson.
HANDOUT: California Gold Rush (Google Doc)
VIDEO CLIP: California Gold Rush and the 49ers (4:00)
After reviewing the students' answers and addressing any misconceptions, have the students view the following video clips about different groups of people during the Gold Rush. Students will answer the questions associated with them.
VIDEO CLIP: Settlers' Life during the Gold Rush (3:38)
VIDEO CLIP: Businesses during the California Gold Rush (2:17)
VIDEO CLIP: Women during the California Gold Rush (1:58)
VIDEO CLIP: Native Americans During the California Gold Rush (2:41)
After reviewing the students' answers, have the students create a diary entry from the perspective of someone living during the Gold Rush. Students will recount a day in their life that addresses the issues brought up in the previous video clips. They should include information about the following:
As an exit slip, have the students answer the following question:
Map a Gold Rush Town- Using information from the videos, create a map of a gold rush town like the map of Sacramento from the video clip. Include businesses, people and activities that were present at the time.
Create a General Store Advertisement- Create a poster advertising a gold rush town's general store. Include representation of what types of goods and services were needed in these towns.