General goals: To encourage student to think about the different aspects of a community, the role of individuals within it and how they work together to create a functioning, healthy place to live.
Curriculum links: Society and Culture: It is expected that students will describe ways members of a community meet one another's needs. Environment: Students will create and interpret simple maps using cardinal directions, symbols and simple keys.
Materials and equipment: Empty milk or juice cartons of different sizes, glue, paint, markers, and a large piece of stiff cardboard or plywood.
Introduction: Explain that Dawson City was built to serve the Klondike Gold Rush. What kinds of supplies and services might people first coming to the Klondike need or expect to find in Dawson City? What were the first businesses and services in Dawson? Brainstorm a list of people and businesses needed in the gold rush community. Encourage answers that support a variety of social as well as basic necessities.
Activity: Each student chooses an aspect of the community (health, service, culture etc) and then constructs a building to represent their choice (i.e. hospital, grocery store, theatre). Buildings will be assembled into a miniature Dawson City.
To help the students get an idea of the look of gold rush buildings, examine historic photos of Dawson with the class (from photo albums or from one of the books listed in the resource section). Draw attention to features of the buildings, such as false fronts, log construction, log buildings with false fronts, etc.
To make the buildings:
1) Paint a carton solid white so the pattern will not show on the finished building.
2) Create a false front by cutting a piece of light cardboard (about the same weight as the cartons) the same width but a little taller than the carton. Glue it on the side of the carton that will be the front of the building. (Depending on the materials, this may require hot glue, and/or to be left overnight to dry.)
3) When paint is dry add doors and windows (openings may be cut out if desired) and paint details to look like buildings. Don't forget signs for businesses.
4) When buildings are complete, have students lay them out on a large piece of cardboard or plywood to create a miniature town. Remind students to leave roadways for carriages, and room for people to walk. Remember that Dawson was a supply town for the mines and equipment and supplies came to town on a fleet of riverboats. The docks are very important and most warehouses and stores were along the waterfront in the first few streets. The streets were unpaved and muddy so residences were often higher away from the shore. Main roads led away from the docks to the creeks and the mining areas. Add as many details as possible. (Popsicle stick boardwalks, people etc).
(Buildings may be completed as homework project if class time doesn't allow them to be finished.)
Note: For a more intricate project, use small round sticks (can be gathered from wooded areas, or doweling or straws can be used) to make log cabins, with or without cardboard false fronts.
Conclusion: Compare the town to the pictures of Dawson City. Discuss how it is the same or different. Talk about the different buildings and the role that each would play in the community. (How it would fulfill people's needs or wants, why each would be useful/important in the functioning of the community.)
Extension: Have students draw a map of the town, using symbols for important buildings and cardinal directions and including a key to decode their symbols.