Throughout history, adventurers and explorers have traveled far and wide, even risked their lives, in a relentless pursuit of gold. Legend has it that Jason and his Argonauts set sail in search of the fleece of a golden ram. The possibility of finding new sources of gold helped Columbus finance his journey. Coronado and the de Soto marched across continents seeking the fabled cities of gold. From 1848, as word spread about the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, California, almost a half million people traveled from across the country and around the world to stake their claims.
What is it about gold that inspires such behavior? Centuries ago, we coveted gold as a rare and beautiful substance. Today, we also value its more practical qualities--outstanding workability and durability. Gold's physical and chemical properties are without equal for use in such high tech fields as medicine, space, architecture, and electronics.
Explore this glittering metal with your students and you'll find a golden opportunity for interdisciplinary lessons. Here's how to start.