The Topic: 
Gold Rush

Easier - A gold rush happens when people hear that gold has been found. They then rush to seek their fortune. Gold is a soft, yellow precious metal that is very valuable. Some people use gold as money. The California Gold Rush is very famous. Thousands of people moved to California after gold was found by James Marshall at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848. Although it took a year for the news to reach the east coast, by 1849 thousands of 'forty-niners' were mining for gold. Most miners used a shallow pan to find flakes of gold in streams.
Harder - Although there have been many gold rushes, the California Gold Rush brought over 200,000 new people to California in just a few years. Most miners went home broke. The real money was made by freighters and merchants who brought and marketed supplies. Levi Straus 'struck it rich' by making and selling durable pants.
Many novice prospectors mistake pyrite for real gold. Pyrite is often called 'fools gold.'
"Gold Fever" has happened around the world. The British immigrants who came to Australia for the 1851 gold rush were called 'diggers.' In 1886, a part-time prospector in South Africa named George Walker started one of the world's biggest gold rushes. Another well-known gold rush occurred in the the Klondike and Alaska.
Although most people think of Fort Knox, Kentucky as the storage place for gold, there's actually more gold at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. This gold is owned by individuals and nations from around the world.
Discovery of Gold by John A. Sutter
This website provides a firsthand account of when gold was first found in California. It includes many links to other sources from the Museum of San Francisco, including a detailed timeline.
Related Website:
2) James Marshall: California's Gold Discoverer
Gold Rush! - California's Untold Stories
Take a virtual tour of the Oakland Museum of California's excellent exhibit.
Gold Rush (PBS)
Explore the gold rush through the PBS series. This site includes lots of classroom resources.
Related Website:
2) Gold Rush
Gold Rush
Explore the Sacramento Bee's celebration of the 150th anniversary of the gold rush.
Similar Websites:
2) And The Rush Was On (San Jose Mercury News)
3) Gold Rush Sesquicentennial (The Sacramento Bee)
Choose a role and use the links below to solve the problem or create a project.
Key Events. Create a short skit that highlights the key events of the California Gold Rush. You might find some good ideas by reading the historical overview at the The Discovery of Gold in California website.
Art of the Gold Rush. Explore the Art of the Gold Rush pages. Copy and paste a picture into your word processor and write a short story that could go with the painting. Include facts from the time period. Harry Fonseca is also a well-known artist who creates abstract paintings about the gold rush. Create your own abstract about the gold rush using Adobe Photoshop or another paint program.
Letter Writing. Most of the forty-niners were many miles from home. They used letters to communicate with their families. After reading some of their letters, create your own gold rush family and write a letter.
Traveling. If you lived in New York and wanted to seek your fortune in 1849 California, would you take the land route or the water route? Why? Trace the routes on a map and hold a debate about the pros and cons of each route.
The Untold Stories. Many gold rush stories ended in sorrow. Many people went home with empty pockets. Even worse, some people died. The lives of the Native Americans living in the area changed forever, and the life of new immigrants such as the Chinese was difficult. Women, African Americans, Mexicans, and Japanese also had stories to tell. Examine the "untold stories" and "people stories" of the California Gold Rush. Create a poster that highlights an individual or group.
Virtual Trip. Plan a trip to California Gold Country. Use MapQuest to plan a trip from your home to Sacramento, California, then into the gold mining areas.
Complete a Gold Rush WebQuest. Select or adapt the procedures from one of these webQuest sites: 
1) Eureka! Journals of a Gold Rush! (Australian Gold Rush) by J. Clark (Grade 5)
2)Gold: All That Glitters (Grades 3-5) by K. Pegors
3) Gold Rush Players! (Grade 4)
4) Gold Rush WebQuest by M. R.Rebtoy
5) Front Page News: The Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush (Grade 5)
Website By Kids For Kids 
By the Great Horn Spoon! (1999 ThinkQuest Project)
Dig into an exciting learning exploration of the California Gold Rush through Sid
Fleischman's historical novel, By the Great Horn Spoon! Explore all answers to get the most out of your gold rush adventure. 4th grade bilingual students are encouraged to read the Spanish text.
California Gold Rush (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
The whole thing started when some workers at Sutter's fort, found some gold back in 1848. Click and explore.
Carcross Community School's Web Site
This site includes pictures and information on the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush.
Not To Be Missed Sections:
2) Chilkoot Pass
3) Dawson City
4) 1898 Gold Rush
Great Rush (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
Learn about the Gold Rush and how the miners traveled to California.
Klondike Gold Rush (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
100,000 people left for the Klondike. 40,000 people made it to Dawson City. 4,000 people found gold. Learn more here.
Our Gold Country Community (Deer Creek School's Gold Rush Project, Nevada City, CA)
This school site traces its roots in the Gold Rush and has pictures, timelines, biographies of significant people, and lots of other Gold Rush information.
Several More Websites
California God Rush
This homepage was created for the students of Mrs. Atkinson-Adams Introduction to U.S. History class. It provides an overview to the gold rush and its effects.
California, 1948 by P. J. Kiger (Discovery Online's Wayback Machine)
Travel back in time and be there to see the beginnings of the gold rush. Read about John Sutter, James Marshall, and Samuel Brannan.
California's Gold Rush Country
Here you find a brief history and great pictures of Gold Rush country, as well as a map which shows the way many people took west.
Related Websites:
2) The California Gold Rush (California Natural Resources)
3) California Gold Rush Country
Comstock Lode by E. Gibson at Suite 101
Learn about the silver strike on Mount Davidson in western Nevada. The Comstock Lode was not a single mine but a huge geological formation of ore which many shafts sunk into it.
Gold Fever in the Desert at DesertUSA
This site describes the lure of gold and introduces the lost mines of Pegleg Smith and Jacob Waltz, 'the Dutchman.'
Gold Rush Chronicles at the Goldminer Mall, Placerville. CA
This site provides a compilation of historical information on the California Gold Rush Era, c. mid to late 1800's.
Gold Rush to British Columbia (Part 1) by E. Gibson at Suite 101
By 1858 the California gold rush was about played out and prospectors were ready to move on to the next big strike.
Related Websites:
2) Gold Rush to British Columbia (Part 2) by E. Gibson
3) Mining in Montana by L. Principato
4) Striking It Rich in Leadville
Gold Rush Trail
This site contains a special report from the San Francisco Chronicle by a reporter and photographer who are retracing the steps of many people along the Gold Rush Trail.
Great American Gold Rush
This site has pictures and comments to go along with the timeline of events during the Gold Rush.
Ghosts of the Klondike Gold Rush
Pan for nuggets of fascinating information about the Klondike gold rush here. You'll find a time line, a photo gallery, lots of interviews and anecdotes, and even a calendar of commemorative celebrations that reaches into the next century.
Related Website:
2) Klondike Fever
Land of Glittering Dreams
This site contains letters and photographs from life during the gold rush.
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
Here you can read about the history and examine photographs of the gold rush.
Primary Gold
This site explains that gold is found in primary and secondary deposits.
Virtual California Gold Country
Travel along Highway 49 and visit the old mining camps, see the sights, and learn their history,
Women in the Gold Rush
This page is sponsored by award-winning author and recognized authority on women in the gold rush, J. Levy. Here you find diaries and more.
Website For Teachers 
California Gold Rush (Grade 4)
The class is divided into four cooperative learning groups (teacher directed). The four sections / groups are: life before the gold rush, the discovery of gold, the key people, and the actual mining for gold. Students will reenact and explore various parts of the gold rush in a video, hands-on activities, and the publication of a magazine from the 'Gold Rush Era.'
Gold Rush by B. Barnes (Grade 4)
This unit plan covers the effects the California Gold Rush had on settlements, daily life, politics, and the physical environment.
Klondike Gold Rush (Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest)
These curriculum materials consist of a variety of original documents related to the Klondike gold rush and Seattle and a set of maps of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
Klondike Fever (Grade 6-8)
Lesson plans for studying the Klondike.
Oh, California: Traveling to the Gold Rush (Houghton Mifflin Social Studies)
Students research the experiences of those who traveled to California during the Gold Rush by land and sea, then create an annotated map showing what they have learned about each route.
claim jumper
pack train
Cape Horn
Levi Strauss
"gold fever"
John A. Sutter
'saw the elephant'
Yerba Buena
James W. Marshall
'fools gold'
'White Fan
'Call of the Wild'
Oregon Trail
Chilkoot Pass
Dawson City
Isthmus of
Dead Horse Trail
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson. Updated by Nancy Smith 6/01.