This lesson can overlap as students are reading the book, participating in all lessons
and beginning to play parts, if you are sure to limit the vocabulary to that which
they have already encountered in the book or unit. The learning activity helps students
to understand deeper meanings of words as they discover “links”. This can be repeated
as a warm-up, or an activity at different times during the school day once students
understand the process.
- How has the growth of the area affected the economic, social and political life of
- Students will understand the vocabulary helpful in describing the economic, social,
and political life during the development of California.
This objective will be assessed through teacher observation and feedback as students
|Active and productive engagement in activity through oral collaboration
|Discussion clearly demonstrate links, indicating understanding of vocabulary and concepts
|Supports opinion with accurate reasons
Materials and Resources Needed
(Approximately 40-50 minutes, and/or shorter intervals at different times in the unit
or during reading of the book)
HOOK (10 MINUTES)
Slide l8: Both in reading the book and in our activities, there are many vocabulary words that
we had never heard before! Some are words that were related to mining and the Gold
Rush “times”, and others are used in our everyday lives. Can anyone think of a word
right now that was completely “strange” to you when you first heard of it? (Give
think time, students look through notes from unit).
How about the words “pay dirt”? What did this word mean during the Gold Rush?
Finding gold easily through mining, and making money
“Pay dirt” is now used in a casual way ~ “Fixing up my bike and selling it was like
“pay dirt”. (I made money easily)
PRACTICE (30 MINUTES)
1) I will give each of you a word page. You will look through your notes, and think
about what this word means. Keep thinking….how does this word relate to the Gold
Rush, i.e.: the economy, population, or the environment? Write some notes relating
to this vocabulary word in your notebook. Keep those thoughts!
2) Students move around and meet up with another person. They share their vocabulary
word with their partner and explain what it means. The partner paraphrases or summarizes
what they just heard. Then the other partner shares their word, and they switch roles.
Ring the bell, and they switch to another partner and go through the same process
Repeat this several times, so a number of vocabulary words are shared.
Slide 19: The students are directed to find a classmate whose word connects or links to theirs
in some way. For example, the words might be synonyms or antonyms, one might be an
example of the other, or both might be examples of some higher-order concept.
The goal is for the students to identify some way to connect their word with a classmate’s
word. When students find a link, they stand with their partner around the perimeter
of the classroom.
Example on slide: Pay Dirt + Profitable
After a certain amount of time, have those who have found “links” explain their reasoning.
If some are still in the middle of the room, they may find a link with what is shared,
or be assisted by the group and join a group on the perimeter, or team up with another
still in the middle. Each time a link is made, the students should give an explanation.
It is helpful to give a sentence structure: “Our words are related because _________.”
(Or connected, or linked because….)
This can be repeated with additional words, and/or the same words many times, with
different links, and/or a ’49er “conversation” between those who have found linked
Teacher continues to ask why, why, why!
Break your links: Who else could you easily have paired with? Why does this work?
CLOSURE: (5 MINUTES)
Before collecting your vocabulary pages, challenge the students:
Is there anyone who can come before the group and have a discussion using the vocabulary
words? Give them some think time with their partners and call on some students who
think they can accept the challenge!