unit Gold Mining uses historic primary source materials (link) to help
students go back in time to understand how gold was mined. The activities
are organized around three questions: How do I get the gold? What was
a gold miner like? Is that legal? Students explore photographs and actual
manuals from the Alaska gold rush era for clues about the rigors of gold
mining. Students consider how laws change over time to reflect the needs
and attitudes of the people.
State Content Standards
State Content Standards addressed in Gold Mining: Students should:
that cultural elements, including language, literature, the arts, customs
and belief systems, reflect the ideas and attitudes of a specific time
and know how the cultural elements influence human interaction (History:
bias in all forms of communication (Eng/L.A: E3)
how and why maps are changing documents (Geo: A3)
how places are formed, identified, named and characterized (Geo: B2)
and assess local, regional and global patterns of resource use (Geo:
the necessity and purpose of government (Gov/Civ: A1)
the basic concepts of supply and demand, the market system and profit
excellent hands-on activities are highly recommended for this unit. Visit
the AMEREF website
for the Alaska Resources Kit: Minerals and Mining. Go to the Curriculum
Modules. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and print out two activities
for your classroom that help students understand the gold mining process:
Getting the Gold (pages 40-43) and Stake a Claim (pages 44-47) Allow 1-2
hours for each of these activities.
Extension Ideas for the theme Gold Mining
1: How do I get the gold?
- You may
wish to print out the miners manual "Gold
Dust: How to Find it and How to Mine it " as a reference for
your classroom. It shows the type of information available to the Alaska
gold seeker in 1898.
web sites that provide additional help in understanding gold mining.
- Ask students
to compare what they are learning about Alaska's gold rush with other
gold rushes, such as the
California gold rush. Students may keep a chart of things that were
the same and things that were different. (Similar characteristics might
include: placer mining, men, traveling from other places, etc.)
2: What was a gold miner like?
students to brainstorm their ideas about miners before starting the
activities in this section. Help them understand bias and stereotypes
by comparing their initial ideas with what they discovered after reading
the various documents.
- Who profited
from gold mines?
your students uncover the clues that the four documents reveal.
1: Print out copies of the four documents. Divide the class into
four teams. Each team is given one document and must try to list
as many things as they can about the people, places and events in
2: Teams share what they have learned from their document.
3: Ask each student to write down what they think the story might
have been. (A reasonable answer would include the facts that Mr.
Pine bought additional stock after the letter was sent. Inferences
might include that the meeting was very successfully and the stockholders
were convinced that the company was going to earn money in the future.)
4: Students may enjoy creating a story about the mining company
with information about where the gold was discovered, how it was
mined and how the stockholders benefited. Or perhaps the students
think the company was not successful and that the stockholders lost
all of their money.
activity helps students better understand the economic system where
shareholders can profit from a company without being involved in
the daily work.
students explore the stock market system through Alaska
Native Corporations or the Alaska
Student Learning: Gold Mining
of selected standards and activities uses Delia's Dilemma (from Question
3: Is that legal?) to help you evaluate
how well the students are mastering the standards. This example can help
you design appropriate projects or other activities that demonstrate standards-based
learning. For additional assessment ideas see Assessment and Scoring Guide
student progress toward standards: Example
using activities in Delia's Dilemma
who meet the standards demonstrate through discussion, writing or
that cultural elements, including language, literature, the arts,
customs and belief systems, reflect the ideas and attitudes of a
specific time and know how the cultural elements influence human
discuss the 1890's attitudes about women and wives regarding the
ownership of property. Students should be able to recognize that
the laws have changed due to the belief system about women's rights
in America today. Students should be able to extend the concept
so that they understand differences in laws in other countries regarding
women's rights reflect the current attitudes and belief systems
in those countries (Students may research a country about the legal
rights of women to own property.)
bias in all forms of communication (Eng.L.A.:E3)
articulate the personal point of view of Delia about ownership from
her letter to the Governor; student is able to identify key phrases
from the letter that show Delia's bias
how and why maps are changing documents (Geo.:A3)
use one or more maps to predict with 2-3 logical reasons which route
the Governor should choose for his reply letter.
how places are formed, identified, names and characterized (Geo.:B2)
make logical predicts about the way Circle City was named. (The
miners thought they were above the arctic circle.)
and assess local, regional and global patterns of resource use (Geo.:E2)
make logical conclusions about why Delia's claim was being challenged
by the other miners. (The claim had gold and was valuable.)
the necessity and purpose of government (Geo.C:A1)
give 2-3 reasons why Delia's belief in the Miner's Association,
law books, and letter to the Governor helps maintain order.
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