Part II, Lesson 2: San Francisco Explodes (continued)

g. Resource 2-5 through 2-7

Daguerreotypes of San Francisco scenes 

Activity #1 (continued)

Note to teacher : 

The makeup of the population figures can be discussed with students. The early population (1849) was mostly young men, then changed around 1854 when a more balanced population distribution began emerging. A study by students of daguerreotypes taken over time will show an increasing number of women, children and old people. 

Wrap-Up Activity:

A. Students share their predictions. If students did not connect the Gold Rush with population growth, tell them they will have more information that will help them discover the reasons (San Francisco's location and the finding of gold) for the population growth. 

Activity #2 - Procedure:

1. Students should have a current map of California and a copy of the 1850 map of Alta California and the gold region provided (Resources 2-1 and 2-2). To help students become familiar with landforms, have them color the ocean, bay and rivers blue. On an overhead of the 1850 map, point out the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco and the route of the Sacramento River. Ask several students to come up to the overhead and point out other areas of interest to the rest of the class. (They should be able to find Sutter's Fort and at least 10 other physical features.) Working with a partner, students then try to locate these features on their current California maps. 

2. After a few minutes, tell students they are going to draw their own maps, including San Francisco, San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento River, Sutter's Fort and 10 more interesting features found on the 1850 map. Suggested time for the map drawing is 30 to 40 minutes. 

Wrap-Up Activity:

A. With their maps in front of them, and the 1850 map on the overhead, again ask students why they think San Francisco's population "exploded." (Possible answers include: sheltered from ocean; large boats can dock; access to Gold Country; beautiful surroundings; rivers flowed from the Gold Country toward bay.) Ask students to quickwrite why they think San Francisco rather than some other town became the Gold Rush metropolis. Group-share the student writings. (Probably no American city has so completely dominated an entire region in the way that San Francisco dominated the Far West for the three decades following 1849.) 

Students now go back to their time lines and add new information. 

B. Students write on Post-it Notes what they now know about why San Francisco grew so quickly during the Gold Rush. Attach these learnings to the L part of the KWL chart. At this time, review the entire chart with the whole class. Students' individual time lines and the student-made maps serve as assessment pieces. 

Part II, Lesson 2
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