After playing the game, fourth grade students will be able to answer questions about the California Gold Rush. They will be able to describe the daily life and travel experiences of a typical forty-niner. They will also be able to list the historical aspects of the Gold Rush in 1849.
They would use this as supplement material to help fulfill the following CA state content history/social science content standards for fourth grade:
students will be able to use the game, Eureka! The Gold Rush Experience.
readings from their social studies book and various trade books, students
will learn about the California Gold Rush. They will learn of James Marshall's
discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, the population increase and the trials
and tribulations of the miners. This game will reinforce their newly acquired
knowledge and potentially increasing their prior knowledge about this
historical period of time.
To get the most cards by the end of the game (30 minutes).
The contents of the game includes the following:
We had to design two types of markers for players to use: sailing ships and covered wagons. These were the two most popular methods for getting across the country to California. Sailing ship markers are used if the player chooses to go by sea and covered wagon markers are used if the player chooses to go by land. The six-sided number die is used to move the players along the game's route.
Every time a person lands on an "i" spont anywhere on the board, they are responsible for reading the information found on the back of a California or Bust! card or a Gold Dust or Bust! card in the light brown section. Everyone is held accountable for the information because they might land on a "?" spot and have a chance to win that card (piece of knowledge). In this situation, the player to the left would read a question from the light blue section of a card for the player to answer. A timer would be used to regulate the time allotted for game-play.
The set-up should only take a few seconds as players would only have to unfold the game (folded in thirds), place cards in appropriate sections, and place markers on start. The game itself will take approximately 30 minutes to play.
Number of Players: 2 to 4
Objective: To get the most cards by the end of the game (30 minutes).
Claudio, who was seeking a way to increase his fourth grade students' knowledge about the California Gold Rush both prior to and following the history unit, initiated the idea. He thought that it would be a great way to reinforce what he might teach about this topic and it would also address the California history/social-science content standards for fourth grade.
The group's initial idea was to create a race type game form New York to San Francisco. The player would read situations along the three paths (over land, around South America, or through Panama). The group realized that this did not truly mimic the historical event. Two board games were combined, one for the journey to San Francisco and one for San Francisco itself. The player would travel along ready scenarios and winning or losing gold. The object of the game was to gain the most gold. Even though the objective of the miners was to gain the most gold they could, this was not our objective as game designers - - educating the player.
Questioning the player on the information learned became the focus of the game. By having the players read information out loud and the cards going into a holding place (the bank and general store), all players will want to learn the information, in order to answer the question and win the card.
After the usability testing, the group noticed that there was not nearly enough information and question spots needed on the game board. We also needed to slow the people traveling by land down by adding more challenges to make it more realistic.
Books & Journals
Last updated October 20, 2002 by Darleen Fabio, Jason Reisenauer, and Claudio Zavala