Project

Teaching the California Gold Rush through the process of historical thinking

The California Gold Rush is an important occurrence within the exploration of the Western Frontier, American expansion during the nineteenth century, and the development of a unique and intriguing social world in the State of California. Currently, this aspect of California history is taught solely in the public schools at the primary grade levels. Although the Gold Rush is not included in the secondary grade level history curriculum, the incorporation of this event in the 8th and 11th grades promotes a further understanding of the history of the state. Additionally, the study of the Gold Rush provides multiple opportunities for teachers to implement historical thinking skills into the curriculum, thereby providing students with the tools necessary to contextualize, interpret, and establish an in-depth historical understanding of this event. Within this project are a variety of methods that provide teachers applicable techniques that encourage students to practice their ability to analyze the historical significance of the California Gold Rush. Utilizing a four-day lesson plan, teachers will find ways to implement Gold Rush content and promote historical thinking skills at the secondary grade levels. Although these methods and activities are demonstrated solely through teaching the Gold Rush, it is also the goal of this project to encourage the application of historical thinking methodology within all Social Science content. In doing so, this teaching approach develops continuity throughout the grade levels and provides students with a consistent and engaging look at history.

Project (M.A., History)--California State University, Sacramento, 2012.

The California Gold Rush is an important occurrence within the exploration of the Western Frontier, American expansion during the nineteenth century, and the development of a unique and intriguing social world in the State of California. Currently, this aspect of California history is taught solely in the public schools at the primary grade levels. Although the Gold Rush is not included in the secondary grade level history curriculum, the incorporation of this event in the 8th and 11th grades promotes a further understanding of the history of the state. Additionally, the study of the Gold Rush provides multiple opportunities for teachers to implement historical thinking skills into the curriculum, thereby providing students with the tools necessary to contextualize, interpret, and establish an in-depth historical understanding of this event. Within this project are a variety of methods that provide teachers applicable techniques that encourage students to practice their ability to analyze the historical significance of the California Gold Rush. Utilizing a four-day lesson plan, teachers will find ways to implement Gold Rush content and promote historical thinking skills at the secondary grade levels. Although these methods and activities are demonstrated solely through teaching the Gold Rush, it is also the goal of this project to encourage the application of historical thinking methodology within all Social Science content. In doing so, this teaching approach develops continuity throughout the grade levels and provides students with a consistent and engaging look at history.

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