Teacher's Guide


Chapter 1: Gold Fever Reaches Wisconsin

     The Edgren Saga is presented in five parts and documents from the collection are arranged to compliment the main theme.

     Use it as a stand-alone activity or as part of the theme.

     Use the readings to assess student achievement towards the major goals in the theme: Discovery of Gold.

    Assessing student learning in Discovery.

     We have prepared an overview of selected standards and activities using the Edgren Saga to help you evaluate how well the students are mastering the standard. This is provided as one example to help you design appropriate projects or other activities that demonstrate learning.

Assessing student progress toward standards based on the Edgren Saga: Chapter 1: Gold Fever Reaches All the Way to Wisconsin


Students who meet the standards can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through discussion, in writing or in a project

When discussing or writing about the Edgren letters students are able to: (answers will vary)

Understand that history is a narrative told in many voices and expresses various perspectives (History:A5)

Explain that there are two different people who are telling the story. It is their view of going to the Klondike in 1898. Jesse is an educated man with dreams of finding riches in the gold fields. He is focused on the activities along the way. Mae is a newly married young woman who seems to be having an adventure, gives lots of details about the people and places, focuses on the day-to-day events along the way.

Know that cultural belief systems reflect the ideas and attitudes of a specific time and know that cultural elements influence human interaction (History: A6)

Explain that the writers come from another part of the United States, Mae sees her role as a helper to her husband, worries about how her family in Wisconsin, likes popular magazines, garden parties, dancing, singing, etc.

Use historical data from a variety of sources (History: C2)

Can put the events of Jesse and Mae's life in sequence from documents and newspaper articles

Use information to understand self (Eng/L.A : E1)

Use reflective statements:

How would I have felt about getting married and immediately going off to the gold fields?

Would I being willing to leave my family?

Use maps to locate places and regions (Geo.:A1)

Locate Madison Wisconsin, Seattle, and Klondike and forecast the route they will take.

Can predict possible route from Madison to Seattle.


Chapter 4: A Tragedy

     The saga is coming to an end. Discuss with students the problems with disease and lack of doctors in mining camps.

     Have the students research typhoid fever. Is it something we should be worried about recurring today? What conditions make it a problem? What other diseases might have been a problem back in 1899?

     Ask students to select one of the documents used to tell the tragedy (newspaper, poem or letter) and explain the point of view of the writer. Help students understand that someone created each document with a very different point of view.

Chapter 5: The Return to Wisconsin

     The poem tells the final chapter, that Jesse returns to Wisconsin and Mae Eldorado dies at a young age of tuberculosis.

     Although this family saga ends tragically, many gold-seekers stayed and helped create the Alaska we know today.

    If you have not visited the Alaska Gold Rush site that has the records of the miners who traveled to the Klondike, challenge your students to visit the site and see how many famous names in Alaska history they can find in the data bank. How many records can they find for the Edgrens? Click here to visit the Pan for Gold Database.

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Homepage I Alaska's Gold Lode I The Discovery of Gold I Traveling to the Gold Fields
Gold Mining I Daily Life Our Legacy I The Edgren Saga I Gold Rush Stories
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Alaska's Gold was developed through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission by the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, the Alaska Dept. of Education and Early Development.  1999.  All rights reserved.   Alaska Gold Themes written by Cristine Crooks, Alaska Consultants in Education.  Alaska's Gold Themes website developed by WEBDesign.