Stories of the Gold Rush


*This course is intended for lower elementary students


Class Schedule

Wednesdays 5:30-6:20 pm PST

April 24, May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22


Note: Classes are listed in PST, click below to convert time to your time zone.

Course Overview

People (and animals!) move and change homes for many reasons, and their stories are rich with interesting narratives and challenges. One of the best ways to learn about the pushes and pulls of migration is through stories. Through primary and secondary source texts, students will investigate and discuss life in the California Gold Rush. In addition to taking on the role of “History Detective,” students will use empathy, perspective taking, and art to reflect on how different communities (and environments) realistically experienced the booming towns of California. 

Student Outcomes:

  • Compare immigration stories of the California Gold Rush and articulate some of the different experiences and identities
  • Identify typical mining tools and explain the routes folks took to travel to California in mid-1800
  • Complete a culminating design project applying knowledge about the California Gold Rush

Student Experience

Pattern Seeker

Literary Analyst



Your Teacher: Izzy Mayer

Izzy grew up in Berkeley, California and followed her passions for education, community, sports, and puzzles to Occidental College. After graduating, Izzy participated in Avodah, a program dedicated to addressing issues of urban poverty from a Jewish perspective and worked with Chicago Run fighting childhood obesity and developing classroom resources for Chicago Public Schools. Interested in learning more about educational experiences outside of the United States, Izzy moved to Santiago, Chile to teach English for six months before returning to the Bay Area to work as the Student Services Coordinator at UC Berkeley, School of Law. Then, Izzy spent two years as part of Nueva’s Innovative Teaching Program (ITP) allowing her to work with a plethora of mentor teachers and reinforcing her commitment to supporting young people in their development as leaders, activists and changemakers. Currently, she is in her third year of teaching second grade at The Nueva School.