Teacher's Guide

Gold Rush in Photos

Enduring Understandings

Since the U.S. acquired the territory in 1867, Alaska’s economy has been dependent on resource extraction and dominated by large outside corporations. Alaska has been impacted by and had a role in national and world events.

Estimated Time:

Two class periods

Materials needed:

Course links: America's Territory, Gold.
Other links: Adventures in the Alaskan Economy, Alaska's Heritage, Photo Analysis Worksheet

Lesson Plan:

  1. This is a lesson in the Gold Rush era. Discuss with students the rich historical photos at our disposal and how they help us understand history.
  2. Have students read the Photo Analysis Worksheet.
  3. Students will discuss the question, "How do historic photos represent history?" while deconstructing a black and white historical photo using the photo analysis. Photos can be found at the following sites or other sites of choice.
    • Image Archives - Alaska State Library
  4. Students write a creative essay through the eyes and mind of one of the people represented in a photo. This person’s life experience is the focal point of the written assignment.
  5. Included in the essay must be at least five of the following:
    • historical facts of the era, sense of place, adventure, wilderness, gender role, traditions, social, political and cultural influences, lifestyle, culture change, literature of the time represented by the photo.
  6. Students present their creative writing with pictures using Power Point.

Alaska Standards:

Culture: C
History: A, B, C, D
AK History: AH. PPE 3, AH. CPD 2, AH. CC 2


  Exceeds Meets In Progress Not Started
Creative Writing The writing is insightful, enlightening and ad- dresses five of the identified topics . It conveys emotions and natural voice. It is organized, polished and creative. Writing relates to the photo(s) is thoughtful and reflects good research. Writing is simplistic and does not convey a thoughtful message from the photo(s). There is not enough work to assess.
Technology Photos are organized and convey a clear message. Photos are organized and convey the intended message. Photos are unorganized and message unclear. There is not enough work to assess.
Presentation Poised, audible and clearly engaged the audience. Well organized and holds audience attention. Poor delivery due to disorganization or inaudible. Nothing to assess.