Go to Teacher Notes

The Gold Rush

Have you ever wondered why they call the football team the San Francisco 49ers? What happened in 1849 that would change the history of the United States? Read on to answer these questions.

Go to http://www3.pbs.org/weta/thewest/. Scroll down the menu bar and click on "Tour the West." After that, scroll down the main screen and click on "Episode Three."

  • What do you think is Sweet Medicine's message to us?

  • Why do you think, despite the dangerous and unknown country of California, people from all over the world rushed to California?

  • How did this rush for gold affect the Spanish and Native Americans living there?

Click on "Next Page" as you read about the California Gold Rush and then answer these questions.

  • How did prospectors say California got its name?

  • What were some of the problems for those traveling to California?

Extension Activity

Write a news story describing the day gold was discovered.

Gold Rush Teacher's Notes

Grade Levels: 4–8

Learning Objectives:

Time Required: 1–2 class periods