Gold Rush: Minority Groups

Class: Middle School Social Studies

Lesson: Students will investigate the role of Native American, African American, and Chinese populations during the California Gold Rush.

In this mini-lesson, the teacher will present a PowerPoint introducing students to the various minority groups that were in California during the gold rush.

  • Students will be asked to observe two images: “California Gold Diggers” and “A Road Scene in California”
  • Students will explore links provided to read more about the different population groups. With a partner or independently, students will take brief notes to answer question #1 “How did the Gold Rush affect their lives?”. After they read all three stories and answer #1 for each link, they are to answer # 2 “What similarities and differences” do they see between them?
  • Go over answers as a class.
  • Exit slip assignment:

Students will write either a diary entry, song, poem, or letter about/from the point of view of whose story they found most interesting. They are to use information from what we learned in class today.

They are not to say in their writing explicitly who they are writing as/about. Next class we will read these aloud, and students will have to guess if it is either Native American, Chinese, or African American, based on the context clues. Remind students to be creative.

Lesson Resources:


African American-


Native American-

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