Last week I needed to teach about the Gold Rush and really wanted to do this activity I had heard about ,where we would search for fake gold out on the playground, but I was NOT feeling very motivated around 5:30 on a Sunday night, to prep it all. My Mom was in town though and wasn’t about to let me stay in my PJ’s (Thanks Mom!) So we hurried to the hardware store and picked up some rocks and spray paint!
I spray painted the rocks gold, silver, and purple. Each color represented a specific type of mineral. Gold and silver were (duh) gold and silver! And then purple represented gypsum, because gypsum is a very cheap mineral and I wanted to show how minerals were worth different amounts of money.
I prepped my kiddos by telling them we were going to be Miner’s. We discussed what type of minerals they were mining for, got into groups of two, and each grabbed a bag! My spectacular aid went out into the field and clumped some of the rocks together and spread out others. Then we moved out to the field to “mine”.
As soon as they reached the field, they were off! They were so excited and were running around non stop! It took about 15 minutes, but they found almost all the minerals.
After they had gathered as much as they could, we took their bags inside and sorted out our minerals into piles of gold, silver, and gypsum.
I went around and weighed their piles, using my bathroom scale, and had a worksheet ready for them to fill in, with their weights.
Next week we will find out how much money they “made” and discuss what it was like to be a “miner”. (Feel free to grab a copy of The Gold Rush and the Reflection, below)
We will also do a quick reflection on what we’ve learned.
I’m so glad I decided to do this activity because it really helped model a little bit of what the Gold Rush had been like. I’m looking forward to having the time to discuss our observations, how much money we made, and make connections to the real Gold Rush!
While we’ll get to have some fun with gold, we will also take TCAP, our state test, this week. I’m looking forward to having this behind us, Spring Break in front of us, and fun activities for the end of the year!
I hope everyone has a great week!
– Kelly Anne