In the first part of the lesson you are providing students the first bit of information about the Klondike gold rush.
1. Show the class the headline from Seattle PI announcing the discovery of gold in the Klondike. Tell students they will be joining thousands of other Stampeders to seek their fortunes in the Yukon territory. Read the following excerpt from Gold! The Klondike Adventure by Delia Ray:
The city of Seattle was usually still asleep at day break on weekend mornings, but this Saturday large crowds of people rushed to the downtown waterfront at dawn. They shouted excitedly to one another, pointed across the water, and craned their necks to sea. The Portland was coming!...On board was the most precious cargo ever to enter the Seattle harbor---sixty-eight miners from the Klondike and more than two tons of gold. (p.17)
2. At this point ask your students what they imagine the people on the pier are thinking and feeling. If they were there themselves, what would be going through their minds? Continue to read:
To the impatient spectators on the dock, the Portland seems to move in slow motion. "Show us the gold!" yelled the onlookers, and several miners on board lifted the heavy sacks for all to see. A thrilled swept through the crowd as each person imagined the glittering gold dust and nuggets inside the bags. The big ship carefully pulled alongside the wharf and the gangplank was lowered.(p.17)
When the first miner stepped into full view the people stared in amazement. He heaved a buckskin bag to his shoulder and steadied the load. His face was lean and weather-beaten, lined with the strain of hard work and long Yukon winters. Behind him two men staggered down the ramp each grasping the end of a sagging blanket. (p.18)
3. Ask students what they think is in the buckskin or why the blanket is sagging. Continue to read:
One after another they came, carrying old leather suitcases, pine boxes, and pickle jars---anything that would hold the heavy piles of gold. The commotion on the docks grew as each miner appeared. "Hurray for the Klondike!" the people cried. (p.18)