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Gold Rush Adventure Game

Miner Cartoon
Cartoon courtesay of Gold Panning Club
Lesson #2 Panning For Gold

Follow these simple steps to get started working on your first million....pieces of gravel?

To experience the hardships involved with placer mining techniques; one such technique is gold panning. After the outdoors experience, have the class reflect on various Prescribed Learning Outcomes

Materials Needed:

  • a metal or foil pan
  • easy to get to stream bank with water source (safety first!)
  • sealed container with tight fitting lid (to store your gold in once you've found it)
Easy Steps to Follow

Panning Technique

  1. Find a stream or river near you that has gravel or smaller deposits along it banks or edge.
  2. Fill your pan one quarter full of gravel from the stream bed/bank.
  3. Using water from the stream, dip your pan into the river bringing the water level over the layer of rock.
  4. Holding your pan on either side, swirl the water in the pan by moving your arms in circular motions. The water should spill over the sides of the pan taking with it fine particles of mud and sand.
  5. As you start to lose your water replenish it from the stream. You can pick out the larger particles of rock or simply tip your pan while swirling so they will fall out of the pan. Be sure to hold your pan firmly otherwise you will might lose all your potential nuggets when your hands get wet!
  6. Keep going until you have only glittering pieces of gold left in your pan. If nothing is left in your pan you may have swirled your water a little too much, or tilted you pan too much, or been panning in an area without any gold, so try another area or try again!

Things to Remember...

When gold panning there are some important things to know. For example, do you know the difference between real gold and pyrite -otherwise known as "Fool's Gold"?

The picture below compares the two minerals. Which do you think is the sample of Gold? Make your choice, then click on the image to find out...

Last updated November 30, 1998.
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