In my Fourth Grade class, I wanted to make learning about Gold Rush fun! Usually, kids feel icky about history because it tends to me reading and memorizing facts. For the Gold Rush unit I created, I implemented a lot of hands-on activities and games, as well as some light reading and worksheets. No memorizing dates and names!
Here are some pictures from one of the fun activities we did. I took some bins, filled them with sand and moss and water. Then I added some beads (representing fools gold) and pennies (representing gold). I added a lot more beads, since we had been talking abut how fool's gold was much more plentiful. Also, groups did not get the same numbers of beads and pennies, to showcase how some miners would find a lot and some would hardly get any. In any case, they all dug in and got their hands dirty! I had them come up to me, the 'claims office' when they thought they were done and we recorded how many they found.
I wish I could post the packets I created, but I put together a couple copyrighted things mixed in, so I'll just post the links to those:
Day 1: Introduction: primary sources activity from tpt
Day 2: lesson one from EEI about Sutter's mill
Day 3: myths and motivations from workbook + come up with your own myth about gold
Day 4: AU Gold from education.com workbook + "Is it Gold?" from the workbook
Day 5: I Saw it First card game from education.com
Day 6: lesson 2 from EEI (panning for gold, pictured above)
Day 7: Going West, and What Would You Bring from workbook
Day 8: lesson 3 from EEI (reading excerpts from Clapp's letters during Gold Rush)
Day 9: math integration (Sam Brannan's Store, Business Plan, Bartering Game) from workbook and education.com
Day 10: lesson 4 from EEI (new mining methods and mercury)
Day 11: lesson 5 from EEI (the debris debate, students mock a court case)
Day 12: settle a dispute workbook page
Day 13: lesson 6 from EEI (visit from a 'californio')
Day 14: californios and marginalized peoples from workbook + use discrimination graphic organizer from tpt resource
Day 15: gold rush board game
Day 16: wrap it up (write a letter home, finish extra pages, etc.)
Extra pages in packet (for early finishers):
find your way to California (workbook)
important people during the gold rush (tpt)
word search (tpt)
price of gold (tpt)
Download my free resource (my title page and extras page, as well as worksheets to go along with EEI):
This was such a fun activity to do with 2nd Grade! First, we learned all about bird beaks and how they're adapted to get certain kinds of foods. We read the book The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay by Narelle Oliver to help illustrate this. That week in science lab, they each got either a plastic spoon beak, a tweezers beak, or a clothespin beak to try and get food. I gave them gummy bears, gummy worms, and jelly beans to make it more fun. Then, the next week in science lab, they got to make their own beaks using a variety of recycled materials brought in (and a few things I got at Trash for Teachers). They had so much fun, and got really creative!
I will link to my lesson plan and worksheets here, when I put them on TPT!
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from 2nd Grade at Paseo del Rey Natural Science Magnet. Not only were the kids amazing, but I had the best Master Teacher I could have asked for. She was kind, supportive, and a great teacher. She wasn't just a mentor either, I feel we worked really well while co-teaching; our teaching styles just matched! Teaching 2nd Grade here changed my mind about the grade I wanted to teach - I am now 2nd Grade all the way!
We built bird beaks from recycled materials, we "oldified" ourselves for the 100th day of school, and we had a great celebration on my last day with lots of hugs and a few tears!