Teacher's Guide

DAILY LIFE

Theme

      The unit Daily Life uses a variety of historic primary source documents to help students image what life was like in a gold rush boom town. Activities are organized around three questions to help explore how a boom town is created, the services people needed in a mining town and the types of crime found in early gold mining towns. The activities provide an opportunity to extend student thinking into economics and the civic responsibilities of living in Alaska.

Alaska State Content Standards

     Alaska State Content Standards addressed in Daily Living: Students should:

  • Understand that history is a narrative told in many voices and expresses various perspectives of historical experience (History: A6)
  • Use historical data from a variety of primary resources and secondary research materials (History: C2)
  • Evaluate content from the speaker's or author's perspective (Eng/L.A: E2)
  • Understand the necessity and purpose of government (Gov/Civ: A1)
  • Establish, explain and apply criteria useful in evaluating rules and laws (Gov/Civ: E4)
  • Be aware that economic systems determine how resources are used to produce and distribute goods and services (Gov/Civ: F2)
  • Understand the role of self-interest, incentives, property rights, competition, and corporate responsibility in the market economy (Gov/Civ: F9)
Assessing Student Learning: Daily Life

     Selected activities from the website demonstrate how you can evaluate student learning in selected standards. You may wish to design one large project that combines standards. For additional assessment ideas see Assessment and Scoring Guide model.

Assessing student progress toward standards in Daily Life

Standard:

Students who meet the standards demonstrate through discussion, writing or project

Understand that history is a narrative told in many voices and expresses various perspectives of historical experience (History:A6)

The Edgren Saga: Chapter 4: A Tragedy

Student can select one of the documents used to tell the tragedy (newspaper, poem or letter) and explain the personal point of view of the writer (journalist, friend of the family or husband)

Use historical data from a variety of primary resources and secondary research materials (History:C2)

The Edgren Saga: Chapter 4: A Tragedy

Student can read and explain the information in each of the following: personal letter, government document, photograph, newspaper article.

Evaluate content from the speaker's or author's perspective (Eng.L.A.:E2)

How is a town born?

Student writes a letter to a friend to explain his or her decision to move to either Innoko or Skaguay. 2-3 reasons from the newspaper articles are cited.

Understand the necessity and purpose of government (Gov/Civ.:A1)

How is a town born and Are all towns created in the same way?

Using the charter from Nome and the by-laws from Teller students write an advertisement for one of the cities encouraging new people to live there, citing 2-3 problems the new city document plans to correct.

Establish, explain and apply criteria useful in evaluating rules and laws (Gov/Civ.:E4)

Was there a lot of crime?

After reading and discussing the Court Docket in Nome student creates a campaign poster that calls for new laws to "Clean up Nome". The poster contains 2-3 reasons for new laws based on evidence from the Court Docket.

Be aware that economic systems determine how resources are used to produce and distribute goods and services (Gov/Civ.:F2)

Understand the role of self-interest, incentives, property rights, competition, and corporate responsibility in the market economy (Gov/Civ.:F9)

Who gets the mail?

After reading and discussing the telegrams student creates newspaper articles reporting on the events. Articles include 2-3 reasons why the Seattle businessmen wanted mail service increased (inferred); why the new service to Iditarod was a threat to the people living in Nome; and an economic projection for the futures of both Nome and Iditarod.


Additional Resources
Getting Started

     Before you begin the unit, make a chart that lists what your students already know or believe to be true about a boom town. Use the list during the unit to find out if the item on the chart was actually a fact or a myth. Record the source that proves or disproves the item. Students can use the information from the chart to write an essay "The Truth about Boom Towns".

     Students will be gathering information about a number of gold rush towns. Have students select one of the towns and do additional research about it, including finding current population numbers, important reasons why it was settled, what jobs opportunities are there today, a current picture, etc. Use the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development's Community Database online for current information. Ask students to evaluate the sources they use to do their research. What makes one source more valid than another? Students should be able to defend their answers based on what they are learning about primary source materials.

Classroom Extension Ideas for the theme Daily Life

Question 1: How is a boom town born?

  • Use the Alaska Geographic Alliance web site to locate background information about land uses.
    • Ask students to write a letter to a friend to explain his or her decision to move to either Innoko or Skaguay. 2-3 reasons from the newspaper articles should be included.
  • When does a town become official?
    • Ask your students to list the purposes of government. Review the definition of a charter [a written statement of basic laws or principles; constitution].
  • How does a town survive the boom and bust of gold?
    • Help the students analyze the photograph. Study the photograph and form an overall impression. Examine individual items. List the people, objects and activities they see. Make inferences (reasonable conclusions) about what life must have been like in Nome, judging from the photograph. Encourage students to ask questions that they would like to have answered, based on what the photograph shows them.
    • Find and compare other photographs of Nome from the same era. One Internet site uses 3-d glasses to see Nome in the gold rush era. Clickable view of Nome.
  • Are all towns created in the same way?
    • Using the Charter from Nome and the By-laws from Teller ask students to write an advertisement for one of the cities encouraging new people to live there. Students should be able to cite 2-3 problems the new city document aims to correct.
    • Extend your students' use of maps. What Do maps Show?

Question 2: What services did people need?

  • How do you stay in touch?
    • Help students make the connection between the post office and telegraph service during the gold rush era and overnight express and email today. How much is service worth? Have students investigate and compare the costs of mailing letters in 1900 and today.
  • Who gets mail?
    • After reading and discussing the telegrams have the students create newspaper articles reporting on the events in the telegrams. Articles should include 2-3 reasons why the Seattle businessmen wanted mail service increased (inferred); why the new service to Iditarod was a threat to the people living in Nome; and an economic projection for the futures of both Nome and Iditarod.
  • What shall we do for fun?
    • Ask students to list all of the activities they enjoy doing in their free time. Brainstorm a list of what they think people did during the gold rush that was similar or satisfied the same needs. Instead of watching a video, what would people in a boom town have done in 1899? Use the list of activities and have students do a "spend a dollar activity". Each student has one dollar to spend for items on the list. Everything on the list costs 10 cents each time you do it. After each student has spent his or her dollar, add up which activity is the most popular, i.e. the activity with the most money. Discuss what activities the miners may have placed the highest value on when they were in the wilderness.

Question 3: Was there a lot of crime?

  • After reading and discussing the Court Docket in Nome students create campaign posters that call for new laws to "Clean up Nome!" The posters contain 2-3 reasons for new laws based on evidence from the Court Docket.
    • Discuss what a crime is with students. Using a list of situations with criminal behavior, [John stole Bill's wallet.], have the students rank the crimes by those they consider most serious. Extend the crime lesson by substituting real crimes listed in the docket for the ones modeled in the lesson.


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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.