Where does the miner work and why? Where does the miner live?

Miners_During_the_Gold_Rush_in_Alaska_ca_1900.gif victorian-gold-rush.jpg

Name: Roni Dansiger
School: La Trobe University

Topic: ‘Where does the miner work and why? Where does the miner live?’

Learning Area: Humanities (History/Social Context/English/The Arts)
Date: N/A

Year Level: VELS Level 4; Grade 5/6

Duration: 90 minutes

Learning Purpose
This lesson is the second in a series which explores all aspects of the life of a miner during the Gold Rush Era in Victoria. The student’s prior knowledge of the life of a miner, acquired in the previous lesson, shall be further elaborated on.
The fundamental aim of this lesson is that students learn ‘where’ (both in a geographical sense- locations within Victoria, and in a literal sense- for example, the miner worked in an underground mine) the miner worked and ‘why’ he worked there; also, to learn about the living conditions of a miner (how they sought and constructed housing and shelter).

VELS references

History/Social Context
Students will develop an understanding of change and continuity (history throughout the ages) through exploration of the life of a miner during the Gold Rush Era, as they will inadvertently draw comparisons between the ‘then and now’. Students will grasp the importance of learning about history.

Students will be exposed to an alternate form of narrative text (writing letters) which requires a combination of creativity and factual knowledge. Students will understand the importance of brainstorming, planning, editing and proofreading their writing.
Communication (listening and speaking) skills will be further developed by demonstration of knowledge in a sequential and succinct manner when presenting to their peers, listening to the presentations of others and participating in small group work.

The arts
Students will gain inspiration from the historical context of the Gold Rush Era and will establish a connection between visual imagery and history. They will use this understanding to creatively present their new-found knowledge of a miner’s life.

Group set up
Engagement (15 minutes)
Drawing upon student’s prior knowledge of a miner’s life, students shall be asked open-ended questions regarding what they think miners living conditions would be like and why; also whereabouts a miner would work. After ascertaining a few solid responses, the answers to these questions shall be given to students, in the form of teacher reference to ‘The Gold Rushes- Everyday Life on the Goldfields’ book and the http://www.sbs.com.au/gold interactive website for students and teachers alike. Students will then be informed as to the tasks to be undertaken during this lesson, and the intentions of what they will learn.

Procedure (60 minutes)
Students will complete two classroom activities during this time frame.
1) Students will work independently on the worksheet ‘View from the tent’ (see appendix Two). This activity allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge of the living conditions and environment of a miner (30 minutes).

2) Students will then get into groups of 3 or 4. Each group will be given a worksheet displaying a map of Victoria, (see appendix Three) which shows all the towns where the miners lived, plus lesser-known, unfamiliar gold-mining towns. Students are to work collaboratively as a small group to identify each of the places in Victoria where the miners lived and worked. This 'trick' task promotes co-operation and collaboration amongst peers and tests the student’s geographical knowledge of where the Gold Rush took place around Victoria (30 minutes).

Pulling it together (15 minutes)
This portion of the lesson (7.5 minutes) will begin with ‘share time’ where the students may present and brief explain their drawing to their classmates. This is optional, to account for personality differences, for examplr, shy students. In order to celebrate the students learning, each students drawing will be hung up around the room, unless otherwise specified by the student.

In the final part of this section, (7.5 minutes) students will receive explicit instructions (‘teacher talk’), including question time, regarding the ‘homework task’ that will be assigned to students. Students will be verbally given ideas as to the types of things they should be including in their letters; recommend to students to take notes. (See ‘post lesson’).

To encourage a positive classroom atmosphere, students will be seated in a circle on the carpet, with the teacher sitting amongst them, to promote equality and to help stimulate classroom discussion.

Students are seated at their own desks/tables, facing the front of the classroom

Students work with their small group, seated either around tables or on the floor in a circle

Students sit on the carpet, facing the front of the room, to watch their classmates ‘show and tell’ presentations

Students return to their seats, facing the front of the classroom

Appendix One: ‘The Gold Rushes- Everyday Life on the Goldfields’ book Appendix One

Appendix Two: ‘View from the tent’ worksheet

Appendix Three: Map of Victoria worksheet, pencils, textas

Whiteboard, whiteboard marker, pen, paper

Observations of students’ learning
To observe students learning in this lesson, roving conferences during small group work and independent learning will be conducted. Students will be asked open-ended questions about their prior knowledge of a miner’s life, during the ‘engagement’ component; then in the conclusive portion of the lesson, students will present to their peers their learning’s from this lesson. Upon submission and marking of the students writing pieces, their comprehension of the subject matter from this lesson shall be evident; so too will their literacy skills.

Teacher’s Resources
Parry, A. (2007). ‘The Gold Rushes- Everyday Life on the Goldfields’, Macmillan Education Australia.
‘View from the tent’ worksheet
‘Map of Victoria’ worksheet

Catering for inclusion
To cater for inclusion in the classroom, students will engage in a whole class focus session, including teacher modelling, small group work and independent learning and work time, so as to accommodate different learning styles. Roving conferences during small group work and independent work time will allow for the opportunity to identify students requiring further assistance, or in contrast, students who may require more advanced material. Language barriers will be accounted for with regards to the ‘View from the tent’ worksheet, where knowledge is conveyed through artistic expression only. Presentation of their drawings to classmates will be optional, to account for personality differences. Students are also encouraged to ask questions at any point, in order to reinforce prior knowledge, or to clarify any misconceptions.

Post Lesson (Related tasks for students/Extension)
In order to pave the way for ongoing learning, students will be required to independently create two pieces of writing, outside of class time. These will be used as assessment samples for each student. Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible, for example; by including the use of relevant images found on the internet or in resource books.

In the first writing piece, students must write a letter home to their families, from the perspective of a miner. They must include descriptions of their living conditions and their jobs as well as any other interesting information. Issues a miner may face, such as loneliness or financial difficulties may also be included. This letter must be a minimum of two A4 pages in length and must be written in first person. This piece is due one week after this lesson.

In the second, more difficult, writing piece, students are to write a poem, from the perspective of a Chinese immigrant miner who is attempting to pursuade his friends in China to migrate to Victoria and join him on the gold fields, to work as miners. This poem must creatively, yet succinctly and informatively describe life on the gold fields, particularly focusing on where the miner works and lives. This task incorporates a combination of creativity, writing skills, knowledge and must be written in third person. The poem does not necessarily have to rhyme and it must have a minimum of five verses. It is due two weeks after this lesson.

Appendix One:

Appendix Two:

Appendix Three: