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Mrs. Ramella's Electronic Portfolio for Educ. 9045B

Assignment for Rubric 


Unit 3Assignment-Essential Question Lesson Plan

Sandra Ramella-Educ 9045B


SUBJECT AREA: History/ss           GRADE LEVEL: 4



Using 1852 census data students will analyze and discuss the information contained in this data. Students will have a basic understanding what life was like in mining towns during this time frame.  They will speculate about the people listed in the census, and imagine what life was like living in a mining town.


Essential Question:

Students will analyze data from the 1852 census for El Dorado County-Then they will pretend that they were living during that time period. and that they were living in a Gold Rush Town. They will ask themselves, “Was the decision to come to California a good decision for them?”

Subsidiary Questions:

What was life like during the Gold Rush?  What were Gold Rush towns like?  How did people travel to California?  Who came to California?  (Some questions will be examined in other lessons) 



H-/SS 4.3.3 Analyze the effect of the Gold Rush on settlements, daily life, politics, and the physical environment. using biographies of John Sutter, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Louise Clapp.

English Language Arts:

2.1 Write narratives:

a.       Relate ideas, observations, or recollections of an event or experience.

b.       Provide a context to enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience.

c.        Use concrete sensory details.

d.       Provide insight into why the selected event or experience is memorable




Technology research tools-students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources. Also the students will use technology tools for individual and collaborative writing, communication, and publishing activities to create knowledge products for inside and outside the classroom.




1.      At the computer lab, working in groups of 3, students will Open the, El Dorado County 1852 Census Data document (examine the census data). Ask Students to” look for people who interest you or raise questions in your mind.”   And have students

2.      “Think about the people in the census, pay attention to the age of the people and their occupations. Try to draw conclusions about the age of the miners. Think about what life in a mining town would be like without many women in town. Think about how that would change the actions of the men. Speculate why the women had no occupation listed. Think about what life might have been like in a mining town. Remember there were no paved streets, houses were rare and that many people lived in tents or crude cabins. Visualize themselves walking into town—imagine conversations and sights.”

3.      Then I will pass out a copy of Looking at Census Data to every student in the class to fill out. I will have a copy projected on the T.V. for the students to follow along.  Students will discuss the census data while looking at the document on their own computers.  We will discuss and fill out the paper.

If time permits, students will look at the following websites, otherwise the lesson will continue next time we can get to the computer lab.

1.      Official Report on the Gold Mines by Colonel Mason, especially the section on the towns along the American River.

  1. Look at the printed scenes of Jackson 1854 and Columbia 1852 to get an idea of what the towns looked like.

Students revisit El Dorado County 1852 Census Data and pick either a person or family from this document. They are to pretend they are that person, or a member of a family just walking into town.  They are to imagine what it would be like living there, and what it would be like hearing all the different languages spoken.  They are to write a letter back home to their family describing what your typical day is like and what the town is like and what its inhabitants are like.  Is it mostly men, or are there any families in the town?  Are there other people from your country there-friends and neighbors?  They are to share how they are feeling about being away from home.  Tell what their hopes and plans are.  Are they a miner?  If they are a miner then they should describe how they feel about searching and finding gold.  Do they feel happy, scared, confused?   If they are doing something else in town, they should describe what their job is.  If you are a miner who has left family behind, describe your feelings about leaving them behind.  Also, you may want to describe the weather in town-rainy, sunny, etc. and how it affects your mood, or if you are mining how it affects your efforts.  Finally, they are to answer the question “Did I make the right decision to come to California?”  Why or Why not?

The letter is to be written in proper letter format.  Students should pick three of the questions to answer, or scenarios to describe.  They are to fully describe the scenario or answer a question in a paragraph or two, using descriptive details.

Lesson plan adapted from:




The students’ copy of Looking at Census Data will be collected after that lesson has been presented.  I will look that the students have completed the form completely and have hopefully been following along with the lesson (whole class).


The Letter Home to Family will be collected and graded using a rubric.  (See attached)




This lesson is a continuation of the primary source lesson plan.  Students should have a greater understanding of the Gold Rush, since doing the lesson described in the Unit 2 assignment.  This lesson extends some of the ideas from this first lesson and involves student analysis of data.  This lesson also includes language arts standards.  The fourth grade class has 33 students, and I am concerned that while we are filling out Looking at Census Data, some of the students will zone out and will not have a clue about what is actually going on.  Also, there are a lot of people listed in the census, and it will take a while for students to decide who they want to be when writing the letter.  I will go around the room and ask each student who they want to be, so that I can make sure that everyone has chosen someone.  I will want to avoid having several people be the same person.  If there are two or three (max) students who want to be the same person –that is ok.


  Also, not all the students have access to a computer at home, so the letter can be handwritten, although word processed would be easier to read.   I will provide time in class for students to work on their letters home.  We will probably work on this for 4 days in class and then I will want the final product. If the students are struggling, I will extend this. (Also, I may assign the students to work on the rough draft of their letter at home for homework, depending on our time constraints.)  I would expect a detailed letter, following letter writing conventions 

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