Gold Digger

How did the discovery of gold shape our province and its people? This was the driving question for my FIRST PLP TEN project of the year. We had to create NTKs, research, take notes, research again, write cause and consequences, do more research, design character cards and create a historical fiction short story all to answer that driving question. 

This time we were learning about events that were much closer to home than the places and people we learned about last year. The BC gold rushes were a big part of the growth and start of BC. Our final product was an individual short story based off historical events and people based on a variety of research topics. But before we could start this there was many keystones and steppingstones we needed to accomplish for us to fully understand the BC gold rushes and how they affected BC. 

Our first keystone was: how did the gold rushes shape BC? After gathering evidence through research and watching a documentary, we created a craft document using CraftPro. With our evidence we learned to analyze the causes and consequences of the BC Gold Rushes. We learned about the influx of people into BC that affected many small communities like Fort Victoria which saw 30,000 people come through there in a short amount of time. People were coming from all over. A lot of these prospectors were coming from California where the California Gold Rush just ended. Another one of the main consequences of the Gold Rush is that the British Colony had lots of debt when it ended which caused them to join the confederation. 

Our second keystone was all about the human story. Here we looked closer at who the migrants were, why did they migrate and what was their experience once they lived here in BC. From a variety of resources we created a chapter card. This character could be based on a real migrant’s story or it could be a fictional character but still based on historical information. At the time I chose Hawaiians for my research topic not knowing it was one of the hardest topics to research. While very interesting, there were limited resources to create a historical fiction story. My character, ‘Iolona, migrated from Hawaii to work with the HBC, then he moved to BC because he would have more civil rights here, and then he joined the gold rush. It was very interesting that the Hawaiians were not given rights in Oregon, but in BC they were treated like “white people”. Other migrants were not treated like that at all. Overall I had to gain more independent research skills to find the information on the Hawaiians and then communicate that information in an interesting way in a character card.

Our last and final keystone was all about writing a short story based off the character we invented in Keystone 2. We learned about the three act story structure and filled in multiple templates. For the short story we had to consider our audience, make sure our story was historically correct, and craft an interesting story. After creating our first draft, those of us who were done, (6 out of 18) read two stories and gave peer critique on how to improve it for the final draft. I really enjoyed seeing the variety of stories. One of the critiques on my story was on how there wasn’t a conflict in my story. In my story, there WAS both an external conflict and an internal conflict. ‘Iolana lost his equipment in a storm and was debating whether of not to go home for the whole story. BUT the peer feedback made me revise my story so that these conflicts were more obvious. Overall I could have used more time to write my story, but I am proud of what I have written.

All these keystones helped me be able to answer the driving question. Also I grew in my research skills and creative story telling skills. I enjoyed researching the world my character lived in. I especially liked how close to home this project was as these places are not far from us. The gold rushes helped shaped BC into what it is today.

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