California Gold Rush Teacher Notes  

Created by:
Francisco Medina Caro
Santa Ana Unified School District

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UCI Summer Science Institute WebQuests - 2001

UCI Science WebQuests from all years

Suggested Grade Level: 3 to 6

Science Content Standards:

Earth Sciences

4. The properties of rocks and minerals reflect the processes that formed them.
As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: 
a. how to differentiate among igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks by their properties and methods of formation (the rock cycle). 
b. how to identify common rock-forming minerals (including quartz, calcite, feldspar, mica, and hornblende) and ore minerals using a table of diagnostic properties. 

Investigation and Experimentation

6. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.
As a basis for understanding this concept, and to address the content the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
a. differentiate observation from inference (interpretation), and know that scientistsÕ explanations come partly from what they observe and partly from how they interpret their observations.
b. measure and estimate weight, length, or volume of objects.
c. formulate predictions and justify predictions based on cause and effect relationships. 
d. conduct multiple trials to test a prediction and draw conclusions about the relationships between results and predictions. 
e. construct and interpret graphs from measurements. 
f. follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation.

History-Social Science

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.
1. Identify the locations of Mexican settlements in California and those of other settle-ments,
including Fort Ross and Sutterís Fort.
2. Compare how and why people traveled to California and the routes they traveled
(e.g., James Beckwourth, John Bidwell, John C. Fremont, Pio Pico).
3. Analyze the effects of the Gold Rush on settlements, daily life, politics, and the physi-cal
environment (e.g., using biographies of John Sutter, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo,
Louise Clapp).
4. Study the lives of women who helped build early California (e.g., Biddy Mason).
5. Discuss how California became a state and how its new government differed from
those during the Spanish and Mexican periods.

S.C.O.R.E. Lessons Standards Search by Grade and Subject
S.C.O.R.E. Standards and Framework
California Content Standards Grades K-12
California Content Standards Grades K-12 - Science - PDF Format


This site will allow students to independently explore California Gold Rush will gaining keyboard typing experience, internet usage, California history, and knowledge of certain rocks and minerals.  Additionally, student will create a portfolio by completing their activities.


    • Gain computer skills
    • Experience internet based research
    • Create a portfolio
    • Knowledge in mining technology, minerals, and rocks
    • Understand and explore Californian history


    •  Creation of a portfolio
    •  Internet based research

Lesson Plans
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E-Mail: Francisco M Caro
August 6, 2001
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