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Mining the Motherlode

Educators Corner

Grade 10

I. Online Study Guide for Teachers
The following is an outline which can be used for classes studying the community of Wells and the mining sites surrounding it. Since Wells was built in the 1930s, this is the time period that we will be dealing with. We will be discussing hydraulic and hardrock mining in this area.

This study guide is to assist teachers who are not familiar with the Wells area and can be used in addition to the website. We hope that this guide will give you information on what to expect when you travel to Wells and assist you in preparing and planning for your trip.

The material in this guide is arranged under six headings:
Projects & Exercises for your students
  1. Aural history -Have your students interview a parent or a grandparent in regard to a specified period (1930's in our case). Decide on a series of questions to be answered ahead of time. Some of your students may have parents or grandparents who were in the Wells area in the 1930-1940's. In places like Wells where the history is relatively 'new' as compared to histories of hundreds/thousands of years, this is a way of compiling history.
  2. Essay Topics:
    1. Discuss the differences between life in Wells and Life anywhere else in Canada suffering the effects of 'The Great Depression'. Why was Wells NOT affected by this world-wide economic slump?
    2. Explain how the development of the 'cyanide process' of extracting gold changed the mining industry. (Hint: change from placer to lode mining, cost)
    3. How did this technological development (from question 2) affect the settlement of British Columbia and/or Wells?
    4. How did World War Two affect Wells? The town people? Economics? Mining Companies? Families?In a positive or negative light? (Hints: Mining was designated a non-war industry).
    5. What was the difference between the effects of The Depression and the effects of World War Two? Why was Wells effected by one event but escaped the effects of the other?
    6. Wells was and still is an active sporting community with it's own ski hill, horse race track and a golf course at one time. Discuss how sports & leisure benefitted the community?
    7. Wells was built as a company town. What is a company town? In what ways is it different from other mining towns like nearby Barkerville?

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Last updated: June 8, 2000