Learning About the Gold Rush: Panning for Gold

Ian has been obsessed with mining for gold lately!

We have read many books about the gold rush, how and where to mine for gold, watch TV shows and movies about gold... you get the picture.

Some of our favorite books about the gold rush:

What Was the Gold Rush?

You can imagine how excited he was to get a panning for gold kit!  We just had to try it out.

 He was getting a bit frustrated and stressed out that it wasn't as easy as the men on Gold Rush and Bering Sea Gold made it seem but the kit comes with a great "starter" bag to practice.  

The starter bag has slightly larger pieces of pyrite so it's a bit easier to see them.  We let him pan in the sink (though I wasn't sure if this was best idea for our septic/pipes) and after he tried panning through once we drained the water and found a few small pieces of pyrite in the sink so we scooped up all the remaining sand and pyrite and let him try again.

The kit comes with tweezers to pick up the pieces of gold, a vial to put them all in and a magnifying glass too as well as an advanced prospectors bag for when he's really got the hang of panning.

 I tried to help him a time or two by showing him how to shake the pan and make ripples with the water to carry the top sand away but I really had no idea if I was doing it wright either!

I just reminded him over and over that this was a practice bag.  I know he was getting frustrated with himself that he wasn't getting it perfect the first time through since he's a perfectionist at heart.  He was also getting very frustrated with his brother who, not only looked over his shoulder trying to tell him how to do it, but also lost a piece of pyrite when it went flying out of the tweezers.

I reminded him over and over that this wasn't real gold and the whole point is to have fun while learning how to pan for gold.

They all pulled out Ian's Gold Mine game and started playing.  They refused to read instructions but somehow managed to play.

They built the mine, tunnels, and had to buy bats, get gold nuggets, etc.  Ian finally read all the instructions and they played together rather nicely until it was time to clean up.


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