Social Studies

Contact Information

Social Studies & Standards Supervisor
Laurie Hernandez
(307) 777-3469
laurie.hernandez@wyo.gov

Social Studies in Wyoming includes five topics, or strands: Citizenship (Government and Democracy), Culture, and Cultural Diversity; Production, Distribution, and Consumption (Economics); Time, Continuity, and Change (History); and People, Places, and Environments (Geography). The Wyoming Department of Education is responsible for setting standards for all five strands. These standards define what students are expected to know and do by the time they graduate. They do not dictate what methodology or instructional material should be used, nor how the material is delivered.

Rationale

The Wyoming Social Studies Content and Performance Standards represent the cooperative effort of school district, University, community college, and business participants. The State Social Studies Standards Committee recognizes that social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. The mission of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. Students develop a core of knowledge and skills drawn from many academic disciplines, learn how to analyze their own and others’ opinions on important issues, and become motivated to participate in civic and community life as active, informed citizens.

Social Studies Content & Performance Standards Downloads

Wyoming state law requires instruction on the state and federal constitution(§21-9-102), and carries a penalty for failure to carry out those requirements (§21-9-102).

All schools and colleges in this state that are supported in any manner by public funds shall give instruction in the essentials of the United States constitution and the constitution of the state of Wyoming, including the study of and devotion to American institution and ideals, and no student shall receive a high school diploma, associate degree or baccalaureate degree without satisfactorily passing an examination on the principles of the constitution of the United States and the state of Wyoming. The instruction shall be given for at least three (3) years in kindergarten through grade eight (8) and for one (1) year each in the secondary and college grades.

Willful failure on the part of any school or college administrator or instructor to carry out the requirements of W.S. 21-9-102 shall be sufficient cause for the removal of such person from his position.

Throughout the school year, State legislators from Wyoming visit local classrooms to bring civics alive for students. Sponsored by the Wyoming Legislature and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Wyoming’s Legislators Back to School Program is designed to teach young people – the nation’s future voters and leaders – what it’s like to be a state legislator: the processes, the pressures, and the debate, negotiation and compromise that are the very fabric of representative democracy. See the program here.

This is a collection of the Cowboy State’s legislative history in narrative form focusing on “issues facing the state during each period, and how state policy makers addressed the challenges of their time.” Material for the narratives was derived from the “Wyoming Blue Book”, and T.A. Larson’s “History of Wyoming”. Read the narratives here.

Due to the size of the lessons, it’s strongly recommended that users download them during low internet use time. Once downloaded, copy the files to CDs or USB thumb drives to distribute to teachers who may wish to use them.


Resources

Promising Links and Web Sites for Socials Studies

The internet has a wealth of excellent resources for students and social studies teachers. The following are just a sample of some that might prove particularly useful in the classroom. If you know of a site that should be included here, please contact us and let us know.

Disclaimer: The following are sites suggested by the WDE Social Studies Content specialist; they should not be interpreted in any way as recommended or endorsed by the Wyoming Department of Education.

  • The Albert Shanker Institute offers “Educating Democracy: State Standards to Ensure a Civic Core”
  • The Bill of Rights Institute provides instruction in U.S. government, history, law, and democracy. The Institute offers to partner with your school for professional development programs. Contact Laura Vlk at (703) 894-1776 ext. 20 or email events@billofrightsinstitute.org
  • The Center for Civic Education, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy
  • The Center on Congress was established in 1999 to improve broad public understanding of Congress and its role and impact on the lives of ordinary people, everyday.
  • Liberty Day, is a non-partisan grassroots celebration of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S Constitution. The site offers lessons on appreciating democracy that are designed mainly for civics and American government courses taught at the high-school level. They can also be used in courses on American history.
  • Youth for Justice is a nationally coordinated law-related education (LRE) program supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice.
    • Cultural Arts Resources for Teachers and Students (CARTS) is the leading site for incorporating folk arts, folk lore, and the traditions of people, place and cultural into the classroom.
    • The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) is an organization that supports community history and expressions of personal and regional heritage. The site offers templates for conducting oral histories, archiving and interpreting historical photographs, and other resources useful for students who want to explore and research their heritage and their communities.

  • Teaching Tolerance is an excellent on-line destination for people “interested in dismantling bigotry and creating, in hate’s stead, communities that value diversity.” The site publishes both a newsletter and magazine, offers curriculum on subjects such as the holocaust, and has excellent free materials produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center on subjects such as Rosa Parks and the Birmingham Children’s March.
  • The Council for Economic Education (CEE) is a network that leads in promoting economic literacy with students and their teachers. It has materials for classes on Financial Fitness for Life, a comprehensive K-12 program that consists of teacher resource manuals, student workbooks, parent guides, interactive activities, CD-ROMs, and USB thumb drives. Materials, which must be purchased, are designed to help students apply economic and decision-making skills to the real world of earning and spending. They include income, savings, using credit, investing, and managing money.
  • National Geographic offers on-line adventures, teacher guides, lesson plans and history activities, a teacher’s store, and more.
  • Wyoming Geographic Alliance coordinates and sponsors the Wyoming State Geography Bee. Since 1986, the Alliance has helped build a state-wide network dedicated to improving geography education in K-12 schools.

Resources for History are numerous. Therefore, we’ve limited our links to a selection that are exceptionally useful.

  • The Library of Congress Teacher Resources page offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers use primary sources from the Library’s vast digital collections in their teaching.
  • George Mason University’s Center for History and the New Media has excellent resources on world history at the high school level. See, for example, their World History Matters and American Social History Project. The site also offers resources on using material culture effectively in the classroom, with units that demonstrate how maps, symbols, and images can be incorporated for research and interpretation. The Center’s Teaching American History component has a wealth of projects created by Virginia school districts in collaboration with the Center and other partners.
  • The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming offers a wealth of materials and traveling trunk exhibits on the history of the American West. Contact Maryanne Andrus at maryannea@bbhc.org.
  • For a wealth of primary resource materials on early Wyoming history try The Diaries of John Hunton: Made to Last, Written to Last – Sagas of the Western Frontier, edited by Michael Griske. The original diaries are at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.
  • For Historic Trails in Wyoming, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office has an excellent site.
  • Wyoming Public Television’s three part series, Wyoming Voices discusses the history and people of Wyoming. It can be purchased by calling 1-800-495-9788, or by visiting their website.
  • The History Channel offers a free 92 page Teacher Sourcebook, a valuable resource created for teachers to work with their 100 Milestone Documents which focuses on key documents in the National Archives. The Sourcebook includes an annotated timeline, key themes, guidelines to primary resources, and detailed lesson plans.
  • The Gilder Lerhman Institute of American History provides documents and exercises for classroom use, and encourages excellence in student writing with an essay prize. Its Teaching Modules in American History cover more than twenty topics that correspond to major periods in American History. Each module includes: a succinct historical overview; learning tools including lesson plans, quizzes, and activities; and recommended documents, films and historic images.
  • Journey Back in Time, offers online access to a wide array of primary American history resources, aligned to National Social Studies Standards, that correspond to thematic units based on major historical eras.
    • American Indians of Colorado: Snapshots in Time is provided by the Denver Public School’s Indian Education department. It offers classroom material on the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, and Puebloans.
    • Native Village offers articles, essays, educational materials, links and an online newspaper concerning contemporary issues entitled “Native Village Youth and Education News.” Native Village also offers updates on grants and other opportunities. Their Native Library is a wonderful resource broken down into topics such as: Animals Library; Arts and Crafts Library; Books, Literature, Storytelling; Clothes, Food, Shelter; Current Events; Earth and Environment; Elders, Leader and Heroes; European Invasion; Games and Sports; Health, History and Traditions; Media; Music and Dance; Plants; and its award winning Native Language Library.

  • War Paths to Peace Pipes offers a history of Native Americans in Wyoming. This illustrated article provides interesting facts, information, and a history timeline of the Native American Indians of Wyoming.
  • For Field trips: The St. Stephens Mission’s Heritage Center across from the St. Stephen’s School offers historical displays, traditional crafts and beadwork, historical photographs, and a replica of dormitory life for Arapaho students during the early days of the mission. You can also make arrangements to see the historic St. Stephen’s Mission Church. Contact the St. Stephen’s Indian Mission & Heritage Center at (307) 856-7806. The Mission’s hours are 9am-12pm, 1-4pm Monday-Wednesday & Friday.
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum promotes responsible teaching about the Holocaust through a variety of resources and programs to help the nation’s educators increase their knowledge of Holocaust history, and implement sound teaching strategies. Education outreach programs provide teachers with quality Holocaust education, incorporating accurate history, appropriate pedagogy, classroom strategies, and teaching resources.
  • Visit Teaching for Change forMulticultural Diversity and Anti-Bias education.