Imagine student engagement at creating a puppet show about the Gold Rush on an iPod touch!

Overview

Students will be able to apply factual knowledge about the Gold Rush to their own Puppet Pals show using animation and dramatic dialogue and through this, demonstrate comprehension about the beginning of the Gold Rush period. Students will demonstrate understanding of a few significant people or entrepreneurs of the Gold Rush.   Examples:  Sam Brannon, John Sutter, James Marshall, and Louis Clapp.

Student Objectives:

  • Describe where gold was discovered
  • Describe how the “gold fever” spread
  • Describe life as “forty-niner”
  • Explain how entrepreneurs made money during the gold rush period

Preparation

Puppet Pals for iPhone/iPod touch

Download Puppet Pals for iPhone/iPod touch.   Purchase “in app” Director’s Pass and Wild West characters.

Teachers could put Gold Rush background pictures into Puppet Pals or just use the Wild West picture backgrounds and characters from Puppet Pals. Teachers could also take pictures of their own students to add as characters.  See this “how-to” guide.

 

We only added a “gold” puppet (picture of gold) and used only the provided Puppet Pals characters and backgrounds.

 

Procedures

Students

Sample student storyboard

  1. Students will storyboard at least four slides and write out their dramatic dialogue, demonstrating comprehension about the beginning of the Gold Rush period (1848). Students must also demonstrate understanding of a few significant people or entrepreneurs of the Gold Rush period.  Example: Sam Brannon, John Sutter, James Marshall, and Louis Clapp.
  2. In the Puppet Pals app, students will choose three different backgrounds and characters.
  3. Students will create at least four slides.

Suggested Student Slides:

  1. Describe where gold was discovered (Sutter’s Mill)
  2. Describe how the “gold fever” spread
  3. Describe life as “forty-niner”
  4. Explain how entrepreneurs made money during the gold rush period

Adaptations for various learners

  • Students can first practice their narration in the Voice Memos app
  • Students could work as partners to complete this project or to complete research.
  • Teachers could modify the number of slides.
  • Teachers could put Gold Rush background pictures into Puppet Pals .
  • Students could present their project under a classroom docucam or e-mail the project to the teacher.
  • Students could present their project to a partner and the partner could write down two things they learned from the Puppet Pal Gold Rush show.

Sample Project


Sample Student Project Link

Teacher Reflections
The project went very well and students demonstrated excellent learning success. We ended up modifying the student sheet and had to add a picture of gold as a puppet into Puppet Pals. Some students chose to work in partners and some worked independently.

Prior to recording:
Students completed their student worksheets and turned in their written work for a final “fact” check before recording. Some students had to rerecord because they pressed the wrong button in the end, which caused some frustration with a few students. Overall, students were proud of their work and demonstrated comprehension about the beginning of the Gold Rush period, including a few significant people or entrepreneurs of the Gold Rush.

Teacher and Student Collaboration:
Creating this lesson together was a fulfilling experience. It was beneficial to collaborate and discuss differentiation ideas to meet the student learning needs and their diverse levels. We also wanted to work on comprehension of social studies standards. Some students were selected to work together from each of our classrooms, which proved to be extremely rewarding.


Sample Story Board

Sample student story board template

 

Developed by Heather Peterson and Sarah Jerotz, Escondido Union School District iREAD teachers

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