Jack London, The Klondike Gold Rush, and Sled Dogs

Introduction

This unit provides background information to the Jack London novel, The Call of the Wild.   Before 7th graders start reading the story, they need to know a little about who Jack London was, why men and women went to the Klondike, and the purpose of sled dogs.  

 

The Call of the Wild book jacket imageThe Call of the Wild book jacket image

 

 

Task

For this unit, you will be working on the following information as background information for Jack London's famous novel, The Call of the Wild. 

Your group assignments are listed on the process pages that follow. 

Essential questions:

1.  What key life experiences were influential in Jack London's  

     writings?  See Jack London's chronology (biography)

2.  Why did people rush to The Klondike? 

3.  What qualities made/make an excellent Sled Dog?

Instructions:

Copy and paste the questions into a Google doc. on your iPad.

Share with your teammates & teacher.

Write in your answers in red or blue right after the question.

Print out one copy per group to hand in to teacher.  Make sure all group member names & period # are on the top right hand side of the page.

After completing this unit, you should have a good understanding of:

  • Jack London's life
  • The Klondike Gold Rush
  • Sled dogs and their use during the Klondike Gold Rush

    Jack London photoJack London photoGold minerGold miner

    sled dogssled dogs

Process

Day 1

#1:  Jack London's Life

Answer questions on your shared Google Doc.

Go to the title above and click on it to find the information listed below: 

1.  Where and when was Jack London born?

2.  What were the names of his mother, father, and step-father?

3.  Why did Jack's family move around so much when he was a young boy between the ages of 3-10?

4.  What is the Razzle Dazzle and for what purpose did Jack London use it?

5.  In 1893 Jack writes his first short story.  What is its name?

6.  In 1896 Jack enters the University of California at Berkeley but only stays one semester.  Why?

7.  Which year does Jack sail for the goldrush in the Klondike? 

8.  What is the illness Jack gets in the Yukon Territory that causes him to return to Oakland?

9.  Jack marries for the first time.  State the month, date and year, and the name of the woman he marries.

10.  When does Jack start writing The Call of the Wild?

11.  When is The Call of the Wild published?

12.  What is the name of Jack's second wife?

13.  What year does Jack contract to begin the building of his sailing ship, the Snark?

14.  Why does Jack return to U.S. in 1908?

15.  What happens to Jack and Chairmain's first child in 1910?

16.  When does work begin on Wolf House and where is it located?

17.  After Jack's appendectomy, what does problem does Dr. Porter tell Jack he also has?

18.  1913 is a bad year for Jack.  What happens to his beloved Wolf House?

19.  Why does Jack resign from the Socialist Party?

20.  What is the month, day, and year of Jack's death.  How old is he when he dies?

21. Find a image of Jack London, add to camera roll.  Go back into this document and download it here.  (Hint: must use Google drive). Make sure you have the URL!  (not the one on the task page)

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Day 2

#2: The Klondike Gold Rush

Answer questions on your shared Google Doc.

Click on the title above to go the the website to answer these questions:

1.  Name the three men who found gold in Rabbit Creek, near Dawson, in the Yukon region of Canada.

2.  Why did most of the early stakeholders become wealthy?

3.  In what year did the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper tell the story of the steamship Portland with "more than a ton of gold" on board?

4.  Of the approximately 100,000 who set off for the Klondike, how many were able to complete the trip?  What approximate percentage is this?

5.  How did the "Klondikers" make their way to the gold fields?

6.  What did the Northwest Mounted Police in Canada require that the gold miners bring with them?

7.  What was the coldest temperature a miner might experience in the winter time and where would he have sheltered from the cold?

8.  Name the two trails Klondikers could take to the gold fields.

9.  Who was "Soapy" Smith and what did he do?

10 Why did Dawson become the largest city north of San Francisco?

11.  How much gold do they estimate was found, adjusted to late 20th Century standards, in the Klondike?

12.  How is Donald Trump's relative involved in the gold rush?

13.  What did Jack London write about while in the Klondike?

14.  Who were Belinda Mulroney & Martha Black?

15.  Why did most of the Klondikers lose money on the gold rush?

16.  Find an online image of either trail from question 8 save to camera roll.  Then download here.  (Hint: must be in Google Drive).  Remember to include URL!

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Day 3

#3a: Sleds and Sled Dogs-Now and Then. 

Answer questions on your shared Google Doc.

1.  What are the most common woods to make a sled from?

2.  Which is the strongest wood?

3.  Why does a sled have to be both strong AND flexible?

4.  How does a sled turn?

5.  How much weight might a freight sleigh be able to carry?

6.  What are traditional sleds called?

7.  Look at the illustration of the sled on the website. 

    Draw the sled and mark all the parts listed.  You can draw it on Doodle Buddy & copy it into this document.

8.  What was the name of the sled company that mas-produced sleds to men and women heading to the Klondike and parts North?

9.  List the minimum and maximum number of dogs necessary to pull a sled in goldrush times.

10.  How large (lbs.) would a "trap line or freighting" dog be?

11.  Why were dogs "an expensive commodity" during the gold rush?

12.  If a miner could not afford a sled dog, how did they get their equipment and food to the gold fields?

13.  How many calories can a dog working on the trail consume in a day?

14.  Go online and print out a photograph from the time of the Klondike Gold Rush showing miners, sled dogs, and sleds loaded for the gold fields.  Remember to add URL! (not the one on the task page)

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3b: Click on this link to the YouTube video showing a "Musher" with her dogs. 

Answer questions on your shared Google Doc.

14.  Who or what is a "musher?"

15.  What is a gee pole? (Not on video - look up!)

16.  When the driver tells the dogs to "gee" they go which way, left or right?

17.  When the driver tells the dogs to "haw" they go which way, left or right?

18.  When the driver tells the dogs to "whoa" what do they do?

19.  When the driver tells the dogs to go "onby" what do they do then?

20.  When the driver tells the dogs to go "onby haw?"

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#3c. Comparison

Answer questions on your shared Google Doc.

In The Call of the Wild, our protagonist, Buck, is a cross between a St. Bernard dog and a Scottish Shepherd dog.  Look at the images below of both types of dog.  What qualities would make Buck a valuable sled dog for the frozen North?  List at least 5 qualities and explain how they make for a valuable sled dog.

(You may want to do a little more research about the dogs.)

St. BernardSt. Bernard


 

          Scottish Shepherd DogScottish Shepherd Dog

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Evaluation

You will take the information presented in this WebQuest and prepare one of the following as your final assessment for this unit.

Essential questions:

1.  What key life experiences were influential in Jack London's  

     writings?  See Jack London's chronology (biography)

2.  Why did people rush to The Klondike? 

3.  What qualities made/make an excellent Sled Dog?

Choose one (1) of the following evaluation options below:

1.  Using your iPad, prepare a presentation (including text & illustrations) that discusses Jack London, The Klondike, and sled dogs.

2.  Using your iPad, prepare a short video (maximum of 5 minutes)  that discusses Jack London, The Klondike, sled dogs.

4.  On your iPad, create an annotated map of the Klondike/Yukon gold rush area.  Trace the journey of the miners to the gold fields from Seattle including old photographs and captions along the way.  Make sure your map annotations include information about Jack London, The Klondike, sled dogs.  

5.  Take a trip with your family to Jack London State Park which is in Glen Ellen, California (Wine Country!) 

Address is: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442. Telephone: 707-938-5216. Website: Jacklondonpark.com.

Take photographs and gather information from the Ranger(s) and State Park website to put together an iPad presentation  on the house, the land, Jack & Charmain London, and what the house meant to the London's. 

 

Conclusion

Now that youhave had a good look at Jack London's life, the Klondike Gold Rush, and Sled Dogs, you should have strong background knowledge to lead you through The Call of the Wild.  Enjoy!

Credits

A Short History of Dog Sleds: http://www.alaska.net/~dogdrivr/old_sleds.htm

Book Jacket:  data:image/jpeg

Jack London Chronology: Jacklondons.net

Jack London Photo: https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images

Jack London State Park: jacklondonpark.com

Klondike Gold Rush: http://www.alaska.net/~dogdrivr/old_sleds.htm

Miner Photo:data:image/jpeg;

Sled Dog Photo:http://www.google.com/

St. Bernard: http://www.storybooksaintbernards.com/

Scottish Shepherd Dog: http://www.sectordefinition.com/the-most-loyal-dog-breeds/

You Tube dog sled: http://www.youtube.com/

 

Teacher's Page

Day 1

#1:  Jack London's Life

1.  San Francisco 1/12/1876

2.  Flora Wellman, William Henry Chaney, John London

3.  They were small scale tenant farmers and had to move frequently

4.  A sailing sloop used for oyster pirating.

5. Typhoon of the Coast of Japan, 1893

6.  Runs out of money.

7.  1897.

8.  Scurvy.

9.  Bessie May Maddern.  April 7, 1900. 

10.  1902

11.  1903

12.  Charmain, 11/19/1905

13.  1906

14.  Severe health condition.

15.  Dies after 38 hours.

16.  1911; Glen Ellen, California

17.  Kidneys are in bad shape.

18. Wolf House burns down.

19.  "because of its lack of fire and fight, and its loss of emphasis on the class struggle."

20.  11/22/1916.  Age 40.

21. Need image of Jack London attached with URL!

Day 2

#2: The Klondike Gold Rush

Click on the title above to go the the website to answer these questions:

1.  Skookum Jim Mason; Taglish Charlie; George Carmack.

2.  Because gold was found all over the place.

3.  7/17/1897

4.  30,000 (30%)

5.  Walked using pack animals or sleds.

6.  A year's worth of supplies.

7.  -50F; tent.

8. Chilikoot Trail or the White Pass Trail.

9.  A con man from Denver; took over the town of Skagway, Alaska.  Fleeced (stole) from Klondikers.

10 Influx of 30,000 people to gold rush.

11.  One billion dollars.

12.  Earned a fortune at the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel in Bennett, British Columbia, along the Chillikoot Trail.

13.  His own experiences in the Klondike. 

14.  Belinda Mulroney: ran hotel & sold supplies 

       Martha Black: bought a sawmill; became Canada's 2nd female

       member of parliament.

15.  They had to work for the Klondike Kings rather than themselves.


Image of either Chilikoot or White Pass Trail attached with URL!

Day 3

#3a: Sleds and Sled Dogs-Now and Then

1.  Ash, birch, hickory

2.  hickory

3.  so that you can "drive" it.

4.  dogs pulling it along from front & by the driver leaning to the side and pushing the driving bow in the direction the sled is to go.

5.  over 100 lbs.

6.  "basket sleds"

7.  Look at the illustration of the sled on the website. 

     Drawn sled - all the parts listed.

8.  What was the name of the sled company that mas-produced sleds to men and women heading to the Klondike and parts North?

9.  1 to 6

10.  Over 100 lbs.

11.  Buying them; feeding them; keeping them throughout the summer when they were not working.

12.  They pulled the sled themselves.

13.  5,000-8,000 calories

14.  photograph from the time of the Klondike Gold Rush showing miners, sled dogs, and sleds loaded for the gold fieldswith URL!

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3b: Click on this link to the YouTube video showing a "Musher" with her dogs.  Then answer the following questions: 

14.  The driver of the sled.

15.  The brake on the sled, used to slow and stop the sled in snow.

16.  "gee" = right

17.  "haw" = left.

18.  "whoa" = stop.

19.  "onby" = keep going past a turn on one side or another.

20.  "onby haw" = go to the left.

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#3c. Comparison

In The Call of the Wild, our protagonist, Buck, is a cross between a St. Bernard dog and a Scottish Shepherd dog.  Look at the images below of both types of dog.  What qualities would make Buck a valuable sled dog for the frozen North?  List at least 5 qualities.

(You may want to do a little more research about the dogs.)

St. BernardSt. Bernard


 

          Scottish Shepherd DogScottish Shepherd Dog

 

 

 

1.  Thick fur

2. Large

3.  Loyal

4.  Big paws

5.  Strong

6.  Good at pulling

7. Work well in teams

8. Intelligent