Clustered Resources on the California Gold Rush
Clustered resources refers to using varied perspectives and media to portray an educational topic in compliance with Common Core standards. The term was coined by author and educator Marc Aronson and library system director Sue Bartle in a 2012 article in School Library Journal. Whether you are an educator looking to diversify your lesson plans or a parent helping your child select materials for their upcoming report, clustering is a fun way to delve into any topic. The New York Public Library provides many useful books and media that can be used in a cluster.
The example provided here is clustered resources for the topic of the California Gold Rush for middle school students. These resources support New York State Common Core standards 7.9, 7.13, in social studies and CCSS ELA-Literacy standards 6-8.2, 6-8.6, 6-8.7, and 6-8.8.
Jerry Stanley's Hurry Freedom describes the challenges that African Americans faced as mine workers and gold diggers.
The California Gold Rush by Mel Friedman serves as a non-biased informative source for children about the period. It includes the names of prominent historical figures and events.
Digger, another Jerry Stanley book focuses upon how westward expansion negatively affected American Indian tribes.
Beyond the facts and figures, history topics can be supplemented by the addition of fiction books and media.
Letters from the Corrugated Castle is a fictional account of a young woman's experience in 1849 Massachusetts. It highlights the issues that women faced during the time.
An 1872 painting, titled Sunday Morning in the Mines, by Charles Nahl drew upon his memories of pioneer life during the gold rush. It depicts the range of Sunday activities that miners would partake in ranging from gambling and fighting to reading the Bible.
As you may notice, these examples include the perspective of African Americans and American Indians as well as American women during the time. To supplement further, one could add resources about Chinese Americans and the challenges they faced as mine workers. It is highly important when curating resources that you consider the perspectives, and points of view of the author(s). It helps to include conflicting views within the cluster to promote critical thinking among students.
Clustered resources can be created for any subject ranging from financial education to women's rights to gardening. Leave a comment below if you would like to see further examples of clustered resources.