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California Gold Rush

Fourth grade students spend the morning in 1849 when they visit the Lewis Center for the Gold Rush Adventure!

What was life like in California in 1849? How much did supplies cost to 'hunt gold'? What kind of people came to the Gold Rush? What is 'Gold Fever'? Did anyone 'strike it rich'? These are the questions that are answered as students make their way from Sam's Dry Goods store in Mineral City to our special mining claim to pan for gold during their trip to Gold Rush country.

Students earn 'miner bucks' in their classroom through a number of activities which align with the 4th grade content standards (language arts, math, geography, etc.). Once they arrive at the Lewis Center, they must 'purchase' supplies they need for finding gold, which is an economics lesson in itself! While loaded down with supplies, students get to try their hand panning for gold with hopes of 'striking it rich'!

Students also must do chores to earn their keep. Chores include making corn husk dolls, stamping leather, soap carving or attend school. Once back at the store, students learn a lesson about credit as 'Sam' the storekeeper buys back their supplies. Students may also visit the Assay Office where they find out if they struck it rich with the gold they found!
Students get to shop in Johnson's Emporium for ole' time merchandise.  Prices range from $1 - $5.  Souvenir Gold Rush t-shirts are $10.  All proceeds support Mineral City.

Lewis Center volunteers who participate in this field trip program dress in mining outfits and the role-playing makes for a fun time for all!

Click here for a printable flyer about this program.

To schedule a field trip program, contact the Lewis Center at 760-946-5414 ext. 276 or email

To become a volunteer for this adventure, email Amy Ritter or call 760-946-5414 ext. 276.