Lesson Plan

Taming a River

Taming a River lesson plan intro
Taming a River lesson plan intro

NPS Photo / Jacob W. Frank

Overall Rating

Add your review
90 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 12 (2-4 breakout groups)


What impacts happen to a watercourse happen when you mine for gold on it, especially in areas underlain with permafrost?

"Taming a River" looks at the possible effects which occur during most mining operations that took place during the historic gold rushes in North America. The lesson plan can also be modified to see what could happen in areas underlain with permafrost. 


Guiding Question: Gold mining on any watercourse, meant first moving it. Once this was accomplished the gold had to be extracted from the streambed. Was this activity permanently or temporarily affect the watercourse?

Critical Content: Learn how impactive mineral extraction in a watercourse can be.

Student Objectives: Students will

research a specific part of a larger topic in a team setting

present the information they learn to the class

create an informational display of some format


"Taming a River" is broken into two lesson plans, each taking 45 - 90 minutes to complete, and targeted mainly at fifth and sixth grade students. A class needn't complete each lesson in the unit, though some lessons do refer to one another and are better done in sequence. However, each lesson comes with its own set of objectives and resources.The final lesson,

Last updated: February 28, 2015