Colorado or Bust!



Welcome to 1859! You are now a pioneer who has ventured to Colorado to join the gold rush in the mountains just outside of the state capital, Golden, Colorado. Over the course of 5 days, you are going to participate in several activities that will put you at the heart of one of the most famous events to ever occur in this state.

To prepare for this unit, you have been reading I Witness: Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 by Avi in your reading groups. Your reading should be completed before you begin this unit.

Day 1: Today, you will prepare for your journey into the mountains to look for gold. You will then plot out your course on a map that you will create yourself. Your map will be based on the five themes of geography, which you will identify and explain why the five themes are important to you as you live in Colorado during 1859.

1. Review essential vocabulary words and play hangman to get comfortable with them.

2. On a blank piece of poster board, or using publishing software, draw a fictional map of Colorado, circa 1859. Include the mountains, plains, towns, roads, rivers, lakes, and other features of the land that would have been prevalent in 19th century Colorado.

3. Use a key to designate the important locations on the map so a stranger to the land could find you if he needed to by using the map (for example, mark your settlement with a cabin, your gold mine with an X, and the route you plan to follow with a dotted line etc.)

4. Name the various features after members of your prospecting party, as is the custom when new territory is discovered.

Day 2: You will finish up your maps. You will write a letter asking a friend to join you in Colorado. You will use the information from your map with regard to the five themes of geography to persuade your friend to travel from a different part of the country.

1. Using Microsoft Word, write a letter to a friend who lives on the East Coast of the United States.

2. Use conventional letter form, including a greeting and a salutation.

3. Persuade your friend to come to Colorado with you to search for gold. Tell your friend where Colorado is located in relation to other states; what the region where Colorado is located is called; what the land is like; how pioneers have adapted to live in Colorado, especially in the winter; and how many people are coming to Colorado in search of gold

Day 3: Today, you will pair up with a partner and pretend you are being interviewed by a journalist from the future (2011). The reporter wants to know "why is the gold rush of Colorado important to me, 142 years in the future?" You will answer the reporter's question explaining the gold rush's impact on futuristic Colorado  and its residents.

1. One partner will act as the reporter and one partner will act as the pioneer.

2. Together, develop five questions that the reporter will ask the pioneer. The five questions should encompass the main question "why is the gold rush of Colorado important to me, 142 years in the future?"

3. Together, develop comprehensive answers to the five questions.

4. Using a web cam, digital video camera, or the video function on a phone, video tape the interview.

5. Publish your interview on YouTube.

Day 4: Gold was an extremely precious commodity in 1859, which is why so many people came to Colorado to search for it. It is still very important in today's economy. The reason it is so valuable is that it is rare. Today, you will understand how hard it is to find gold, what gold's role is in economics, and why gold is important to you as a pioneer.

1. Visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/goldrush/sfeature/game.html by clicking on the resource below or copying and pasting the address in your browser.

2. Choose one of the five characters on the game to represent you.

3. Play the game one time as practice.

4. Play the game a second time and write down how much gold (W) you have at the end of the game.

5. After you finish playing the game and have recorded how much gold you found, research the gold standard to answer the questions in #6.

6. On Microsoft Word, write down your answers to "What is gold's role in economics?" and "Why is gold important to you as a pioneer?"

7. If you finish early, play the Reel Gold game at http://www.funny-games.biz/reel-gold.html or click on the resource below.

Day 5: Today, you will use the gold you found yesterday to buy food for the next part of your gold rush expedition. This will be followed by a group discussion about supply and demand and scarcity.

1. Find where you wrote down how much gold you earned playing the game from yesterday. Write your name and how much gold you have on the board.

2. At the front of the room will be several big bowls full of popcorn.

3. The wealthiest classmates will get to get their food first.

4. The price will be 4 Ws (gold nuggets) for 1/2 cup of popcorn. You can choose to spend all of your money or you can save some.

5. After everyone has purchased his or her food, there will be a classroom discussion on what happened.

6. In your social studies journal, write a summary of what you did in this unit.

7. In your journal, Indicate what you intend to do next. Will you continue to search for gold? Will you go back home? Will you find a job in Colorado and settle there?

8. In your journal, describe your favorite part of this unit.

9. Complete quiz on WebQuest

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