Photo Gallery: Gold Rush Day
UPLAND -- If Sierra Vista Elementary third- and fourth-graders wanted lunch on Friday, they were going to have to earn it.

As part of the school's annual Gold Rush Day about 60 students were busy digging with shovels, buckets and their hands through layers of sand to find gold they can turn in for "cash," which at the end translated to food.

"You can't give up on digging, you just have to try harder so you can get rich," said Peter Cruz, a fourth-grader participating in the event.

The activity is part of the fourth-grade curriculum about California history.

Parents and teachers helped transform an area of school into the mid-1800s when the Gold Rush was at its peek with stations that allowed students to rent tools, drink water, weigh their gold and cash in at the bank.

And if they didn't want to eat, they could spend their money at the "General Store. "

"Well, they can't buy anything at the General Store until they pay all their bills," said Scott Corbett, third-grade teacher. "This is the motivation for digging for gold. Because after all what's the point of gold if you can't spend it."

Corbett's class along with Sarah Reuset's students were determined to get dirty and sweaty on Friday for some gold.

Representing the era, dressed in a top hat, vest and cowboy boots with spurs Corbett - or Mayor Corbett to the kids - welcomed the students to the event and reminded them the importance of math and history as they continued in their adventure. Students were dressed for digging in straw hats, bandana's around their necks, checkered shirts and denim.

Students were responsible for filing a claim for the plot of land they were going to dig in, count their "cash," keep track of it and spend it.

"This day is all about getting the experience," he said. "And an activity they look forward to. "

As for Peter, he plans on spending his money on some "stuff" from the store and lunch.

"I have $15 worth of gold already and I still have some gold to turn in," he said.