Teacher's Corner

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Gold Rush Adventure Game

Lesson # 3 Let them be the Judge...

Many people believe in the early colonial days, there were very little problems during the British Columbia Gold Rush. Not so. A bloodless war, known by many names (the "Ned McGowan War", the Hill's Bar Incident, etc.) happened back on Christmas Day in 1858, on the mighty Fraser River.

Bring your students to a wealth of archival material (here on-line) for there persusal to find out the truth behind the reason for the war, if they can.

Group Size: Small groups of 3 or 4 or pairs

(substitutions are fine)
  • Printer to make paper copies of note-taking guide from the web-site
  • Internet accessible computers to access the readings (one per pair) OR print off a set of the readings (one reading/letter per pair)
  • large sheet of chart paper or poster paper
  • markers (for teacher) to record findings onto large paper

1. Bring your students into the internet accessible facility and have them sit in pairs at each station. Explain they will be acting as sleuths today on a very obscure topic, a War that happened in British Columbia over 130 years ago. Each pair will be responsible for
(A) reading some information and then
(B) presenting their findings to the class.

2. Direct you students to the website (address) and have them go straight to the "Teachers Corner" section. From here they move into the You be the Judge section.

3. Get them to read the "You be the Judge" page and then have them print a copy of the Note-taking Guide (or have them already printed and ready to go, leave them with instructions to print more copies if they need them.)

4. Have them choose which letters or readings they will present to the class.

5. The reading and note-taking may take two sessions on the computers.

6. Once they have finished their readings, have them present their findings to the entire class.

7. The teacher acts as a facilitator by conglomerating all their findings onto a chart (on large paper or poster board)during or after their mini-presentations. This may take one session in itself.

8. The class can then vote or discuss what they beleived to have happened.


  • Discuss the many points of view that were covered in this exercise.
  • What made this activity hard/easy?
  • Where you more apt to believe one person over another? Why?
  • Where there any ways of finding out if someone was not telling the whole story? If so, how?
  • Bulletin Board: Get the students to decide on some type of display for their information in the form of a timeline of events about the 'war' which they can enhance with sections of augmented text blocks.

Last updated November 30, 1998.
Produced by the Schoolnet Digital Collections Team.