This second lesson includes a podcast (A) with script, to be played following the
“hook”. The students are called upon to research the social, economic and political
problems during the Gold Rush. They will interview citizens involved in the controversies
in an attempt to learn the details and facts of the issues, and the cause and effect
of the actions of the citizenry. Note: This lesson will take up to four 50-minute
periods to allow for research, group collaboration and presentation.
Materials and Resources Needed
California History Social Science Standards
4.3 Students explain the economic, social, and political life in California from the
establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War, the Gold
Rush, and the granting of statehood.
Analyze the effects of the Gold Rush on settlements, daily life, politics, and the
Study the lives of women who helped build early California (e.g., Louise Clapp).
4.4 Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing
the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development
since the 1850s.
Explain how the Gold Rush transformed the economy of California, including the types
of products produced and consumed, changes in towns (e.g., Sacramento, San Francisco),
and economic conflicts between diverse groups of people.
California English-Language Arts Standards
Structural Features of Informational Materials
2.1 Identify structural patterns found in informational text (e.g., compare and contrast,
cause and effect, sequential or chronological order, proposition and support) to strengthen
Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
2.2 Use appropriate strategies when reading for different purposes (e.g., full comprehension,
location of information, personal enjoyment).
2.3 Make and confirm predictions about text by using prior knowledge and ideas presented
in the text itself, including illustrations, titles, topic sentences, important words,
and foreshadowing clues.
2.4 Evaluate new information and hypotheses by testing them against known information
2.5 Compare and contrast information on the same topic after reading several passages
2.6 Distinguish between cause and effect and between fact and opinion in expository
Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
2.0 Students deliver brief recitations and oral presentations about familiar experiences
or interests that are organized around a coherent thesis statement. Student speaking
demonstrates a command of standard American English and the organizational and delivery
strategies outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0.
Using the speaking strategies of grade four outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard
2.2 Make informational presentations:
- Frame a key question.
- Include facts and details that help listeners to focus.
- Incorporate more than one source of information (e.g., speakers, books, newspapers,
television or radio reports).
California English Language Development Standards
Part 1: Interacting in Meaningful Ways
P1.4.1 Exchanging information and ideas with others through oral collaborative discussions
on a range of social and academic topics
- Supporting opinions
a. Support opinions by expressing appropriate/accurate reasons using textual evidence
(e.g., referring to text) or relevant background knowledge about content, with substantial
- Selecting language resources
a. Use a select number of general academic and domain-specific words to create precision
while speaking and writing.
Common Core State Standards
Speaking and Listening
- Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups,
and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly
draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas
- Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
- Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and
make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.
- Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light
of the discussion.
- Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media
and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker or media source provides to support particular
- Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized
manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main
ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
- Plan and deliver a narrative presentation that: relates ideas, observations, or recollections;
provides a clear context; and includes clear insight into why the event or experience
California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards
1.0 Artistic Perception: Processing, Analyzing, and Responding to Sensory Information Through the Language
and Skills Unique to Theatre
Students observe their environment and respond, using the elements of theatre. They
also observe formal and informal works of theatre, film/video, and electronic media
and respond, using the vocabulary of theatre.
Development of the Vocabulary of Theatre
1.1 Use the vocabulary of theatre, such as plot, conflict, climax, resolution, tone, objectives, motivation, and stock characters, to describe theatrical experiences.
Comprehension and Analysis of the Elements of Theatre
1.2 Identify a character’s objectives and motivations to explain that character’s
1.3 Demonstrate how voice (diction, pace, and volume) may be used to explore multiple
possibilities for a live reading. Examples: “I want you to go.” “I want you to go.” “I want you to go.”
2.0 Creative Expression: Creating, Performing, and Participating in Theatre
Students apply processes and skills in acting, directing, designing, and scriptwriting
to create formal and informal theatre, film/videos, and electronic media productions
and to perform in them.
Development of Theatrical Skills
2.1 Demonstrate the emotional traits of a character through gesture and action.
Creation/Invention in Theatre
2.2 Retell or improvise stories from classroom literature in a variety of tones (gossipy,
sorrowful, comic, frightened, joyful, sarcastic).
2.3 Design or create costumes, props, makeup, or masks to communicate a character
in formal or informal performances.
5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications: Connecting and Applying What Is Learned in Theatre, Film/Video, and Electronic Media
to Other Art Forms and Subject Areas and
Students apply what they learn in theatre, film/video, and electronic media across
subject areas. They develop competencies and creative skills in problem solving, com-munication,
and time management that contribute to lifelong learning and career skills. They also
learn about careers in and related to theatre.
Connections and Applications
5.1 Dramatize events in California history .
5.2 Use improvisation and dramatization to explore concepts in other content areas.
Careers and Career-Related Skills
5.3 Exhibit team identity and commitment to purpose when participating in theatrical
Suggested K-12 Pathway for College, Career, and Civic Readiness
Dimension 2, Change, Continuity and Context
D2.His.4.3-5. Explain why individuals and groups during the same historical period
differed in their perspectives.
Causation and Argumentation
D2.His.14.3-5. Explain probable causes and effects of events and developments.
- How have the natural resources of the area affected the growth, and landscape of the
- How has the growth of the area affected the economic, social and political life of
the citizenry? Include the cause and effect.
- In what ways is the Rule of Law necessary for peaceful coexistence?
- Students will analyze the major social, economic and political life, the physical
environment and effect on the diverse population during the Gold Rush period.
- Students will read articles about the challenges facing the populace during the Gold
Rush period and will be able to locate information, determine cause and effect, compare
and contrast information, and make predictions based on what they have read.
- Students identify a character’s objectives and motivations to explain that character’s
- Students demonstrate the ability to effectively collaborate and work together following
agreed upon rules for group behavior.
These objectives will be assessed through a dramatic interview performed in groups,
notes students have taken on readings, and contributions to the collaborative process
of the group.
|The Who What When Where and Why of the assigned conflict is clearly described.
|“Character” was maintained and believable. Use of props and simple costume pieces
|Facts and details focused on assigned questions are provided, including why individuals
differed in their perspectives
|The cause and effect of the social, political, economic and/or physical characteristic
of the topic is clearly communicated.
|Effective collaboration including listening, speaking, adding points to conversation
in an organized manner.
Learning Activities (2-3 full periods, approximately 50 minutes each)
HOOK (10 MINUTES)
Begin by dropping the “gold” to the ground in different areas of the classroom and
then announcing, “Thar’s gold in them thar hills ~ come git it fer yerself.”
- (You may want to keep some of the gold to yourself. After the discussion if there
is anyone who did not get their fair share, you can give them a few pieces!)
- Students jump up and grab as many pieces of the “gold” as they can before they are
all gone. Use your bell, or “attention-getter” to calm students down and have them
get to back to their seats.
Slide 7: Have a discussion with students. You can ask them to start by describing what happened
and how it made them feel. You can probe if necessary, with the following questions:
- Did you have trouble getting as much gold as you wanted?
- Did you feel that others were getting more than you?
- How did that make you feel?
- Why do you think this happened?
PODCAST (15 MINUTES)
Play the Podcast.
- Do you see any connections to the problems discussed by the children, Praiseworthy
and Mrs. Clapp, and what just happened here in our classroom as we scrambled for gold?(People get anxious when they are want something and there is a limited amount. Some
“take over” and don’t give others a chance. When there aren’t any rules, people can
act pretty wild!)
EFFECTS OF THE GOLD RUSH ON DAILY LIFE
DIRECTIONS (5 MINUTES)
Slide 8: Teacher: You heard Praiseworthy tell the children that they were going to need to learn
more about the details of the issues affecting daily life if any problems were going
to be solved. In order to be informed, will need to do some research.
After the research all members of your group will read your challenge handout and
create a performance about your assigned issue.
Before this happens, individually, (or in pairs) I am asking you to read the handout
I will give you ~ all members of the group you are in will also read this handout.
Please take notes on the details on the Graphic Organizer. Do your best thinking, and search through the resources I will give you to find
the details and facts! (Close reading techniques recommended) Teacher articles below:
When we have finished this, we will meet in groups, establish rules for our collaboration,
and get to work on your challenge.
READING, UNDERLINING AND CIRCLING (15 MINUTES)
Slide 9: Teacher: Please read the article(s) I have given you, (either separately or in pairs with
another person in your group). Underline key words and circle words you do not understand.
*Heterogeneous Groups: 1) Travel, 2) The Life of a 49’er and Mining, 3) Women of the West, 4) Immigrants, Migrants, Native Americans, 5) Law and Order.
*Note: Group 3 could all be girls as they will enact the lives of prominent women
of that time. However, there could be a boy who helps tell the story, a miner interacting
with the women, or a relative, friend of the woman.etc.
*Note: If you have texts, access to the internet, or additional books applicable
to their topic, it would be great for them to add to the information offered in their
handout by doing further research.
CONTINUED INDEPENDENT WORK (20 MINUTES)
Slide 10: Teacher: Then read the article again and ask yourself, (or with your partner), What is the
overall idea or theme of the article. Go through and take notes, answering the questions
Then complete the graphic organizer: Who is involved, What is happening, Where it
is happening, When it is happening and Why and How you think this has become an issue.
You may need to read the article several times. Specific questions are at the end
of your article to help guide you.
CLOSURE (5 MINUTES)
We will work with our groups at our next study period and you will be able to see
if there is any information others had that you want to add, or if you can help others
“fill in the blanks”.
- You will have a specific group challenge, so you need to be a specialist in this area!
- Be ready for your group work tomorrow ~ recommend repeat reading at home!
PART 2 OF LESSON 2
WORKING TOGETHER IN GROUPS (40 MINUTES)
You will have a specific group challenge, so you need to be a specialist in this area!
But you need to know how you will work in the group. Group students.
ESTABLISH ROLES (5 MINUTES)
Slide 11 and 12: Once you have discussed each role, in groups, students decide upon roles, or teacher
chooses roles for group: Leader, Recorder, Time Keeper, Presenter, or Errand Monitor.
GROUP RULES (5 MINUTES)
Slide 13: Students take on roles assigned as they create rules to “live by” for their group,
- Be prepared
- Give everyone a chance to speak before you speak again
- Everyone participates
- Be respectful of the roles of each member in the group
- Stay on task
COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE(OPTIONAL FOR GROUP PRACTICE) (20 MINUTES)
Slide 14: Review this slide with sentence starters and handout, explaining that this is the way collaborative groups speak to one another
to be most productive. We will practice using these sentence starters with a discussion
topic. Each member of the group picks up one of the sentence starters and adds to
Slide 15: The slide is presented showing a “California Mystery Animal”. Students use the sentence starters to have a civil discussion about the questions
asked on the slide, practicing with collaborative speaking and listening.
When it is their turn, they pick up a face down “Sentence Starter Card” and add to
the discussion. Only when everyone has had their turn, may the sentence starter cards
be put back in the middle of the group – face up…adding more discussion and more practice
with a chosen sentence starter.
Ask the group how this worked for them; what were the challenges using the sentence
starters? Can they see how using the sentence starters during the group work may
be helpful? Why, why not?
Students will want to learn more about this “California Mystery Animal.”
CHALLENGES (10 MINUTES)
Slide 16: Using your new collaborative skills and roles, in groups, discuss the article you
have read: What was the overall idea or theme of the article, and share your answers
to the other questions the article presented. (Ask students to use the new “language”
and sentence starters as often as they can).
CHALLENGES, CONTINUED (15 MINUTES)
Slide 17: Students are given their group challenge. They are to create a beginning, middle
and end to their challenge presentation. Those who play the beginning “freeze” when
finished, middle players begin and “freeze”, etc. Students are told that they are
not to write out “scripts”, but after taking notes on what happens in each section
of the play, decide what their parts will be and “play” the parts even if the words
are not exactly the same each time (improvisation). As they work together and agree
upon the content of the beginning, middle and end, and then practice, they are asked
to remember to have discussions using the sentence starters and the group roles already
established. (Reinforce students positively for using sentence starters and proper roles, as they discuss how to “frame” their play.)
*If the challenge is not clear, or children need more reinforcement regarding breaking
their story challenge into three parts you can use Goldilocks and the Three Bears as an example: What happened in the beginning of the story (setting, characters and
conflict established) in the middle (rising problem) , at the end (resolution). Ie: Beginning: Goldilocks is hungry and finds an open door, eats the food, breaks a chair and
falls asleep on the bed (one of the group members acts this out), Middle: Bears come home and find porridge eaten, chair broken and Goldilocks in Little Bear’s
bed and are very upset(three or four group members play the middle part), End: Goldilocks wakes up and runs from the house, sorry to have caused trouble, and very
afraid of the bears.
Encourage the students to use props, find appropriate costume pieces at home, and
continue to practice so that they feel more confident.
PART 3 OF LESSON 2
PRACTICING PRESENTATIONS (20 MINUTES)
Students practice their beginning, middle and end presentations ~ checking the rubric to be sure all of the essentials are within the presentation. Has their dialogue made very clear the Who, What, Why, Where, and When, and How of
their issue? They bring props and costume pieces from home to help with their five-minute presentation.
Note: rubric above includes presentation and collaboration skills.
PART 4 OF LESSON 2 (50 MINUTES)
Showtime! Groups present to the class. Each member of the class audience is to create
a question based on either the Who, What, Where, Why and When, or How, and given extra
“gold” or recognition if they are able to begin their question with a sentence starter,
and if the question is not an “obvious” answer that has already been presented.
Class audience is expected to tell the group, prompted by the teacher ~ the theme
of the challenge presented, and major details of the conflict in addition to the question.
(Hand out some blank graphic organizers for note taking; students may use the bottom
for their question.)
Group calls on some from the audience to ask questions about the issue presented ~
and answers questions. The questions from the student audience are turned into the
teacher following the presentation.