The ground surface is so nearly level that you have no sense of contour. . . . It is not a former lake, although in large part it is a former swamp. Geology characteristically repeats itself around the world and down through time, but---with the possible exceptions of the Chilean Longitudinal Valley and the Dalbandin Trough in Pakistan---the Great Central Valley of California has no counterpart on this planet.

~ John McPhee, Assembling California

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Lesson Plan 2


Grade Level: 3rd

Standards: 3.3 (1) (3)



1.  Learn the value of the census as primary source material

2.  Become familiar with Fresno County as it appears on a map of California and learn to locate communities within the County on the map

3.  Learn to read a census report

4.  Learn about the town of Millerton and who established it

5.  Explore some of the cultural communities that immigrated to California and settled in Millerton



1.  Map of California with the counties delineated

2.  Pages of the 1860 census for Fresno County

3.  Worksheet



1.  Show map of the county and locate the town of Millerton, Fresno County’s first county seat.  Talk about when Millerton was created and relate it to what else was going on in California at the time.

2.  Download pages of the 1860 census for each student.  Discuss what a census is, why the county prepared a census in 1860 and how a census is read.

3.  Looking at the census determine what information can be gleaned:  “What can we learn about Millerton from a census?”  Record the information on a chart or blackboard.

4.  What were most people doing?

5.  What types of businesses were in Millerton?

6.  What cultural communities populated the town?

7.  From what countries and what states in the United States did people come?

8.  How many men lived in Millerton?  How many women?  How many children?

9.  Ask students to complete Worksheet #1 which asks them to gather census information on their own family.

10. Compile students’ family information.

11. Develop with students conclusions based on the class census.

12. Compare the class census with the census of Millerton.

Last Updated Saturday, July 21, 2018 - 08:03 AM.