Students learn about Idaho’s gold mining history and how it contributed to Idaho’s economy. Students write a letter to persuade someone to move to Idaho to mine gold.
This lesson is part of Great States: Idaho | Unit 9: Industry, Economy & Government which explores the interconnections of Industry, Economy, & Government. A particular emphasis will be placed on undertakings that bring all three of these forces together such as resource extraction and infrastructure development.
4.SS.3.2.2: Describe how geographic features of Idaho have determined the economic base of Idaho’s regions.
4.SS.1.2.2: Describe the role of the discovery of gold and other minerals in the settlement of Idaho.
Boise District 413.36: Describe how geographic features of Idaho have determined the economic base of Idaho’s regions.
Boise District 413.17: Describe the role of the discovery of gold and other minerals in the settlement of Idaho.
- Class set of A Brief History of Idaho’s Gold Mining handout
- Notebooks or loose-leaf paper
- Explain to students that Idaho has many different types of minerals, but it was gold that had a big role in the growth of Idaho in the later 1800s.
- Distribute and have students read the handout, A Brief History of Idaho’s Gold Mining. Have students consider two reasons mining has contributed to the economy of Idaho. Students can underline or circle important facts, dates, or figures mentioned to help them make their list.
- Have students imagine that they are gold miners in Idaho in the 1860s. Have them write to their family or friends and try to encourage or discourage them to move to Idaho with them and mine for gold.
Answers should include an increase in Idaho’s population, more farms and stores, the building of homes and stores, and the discovery of silver and minerals that are still mined today.