Social Studies

Wyoming Department of Education > For District Leadership > Content & Performance Standards > Social Studies

Contact Information

Social Studies Consultant
Rob Black
(307) 777-3747


Wyoming Social Studies Standards Overview

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.

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.


Disclaimer: The following are sites suggested for possible use in the social studies classroom but should not be interpreted in any way as recommended or endorsed by the Wyoming Department of Education.

  • The Judicial Learning Center of Wyoming serves to engage and inspire students of every age as they learn about the state’s judicial branch and discover the important role it plays in the life of Wyoming’s citizens.
  • Throughout the school year, state legislators visit 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.
  • The We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. The We the People curriculum is an innovative course of instruction on the history and principles of the United States constitutional democratic republic.
  • The National History Day Contest is the final stage of a series of contests at local and state/affiliate levels. Students begin their journey by presenting their projects in classrooms, schools, and districts, with top entries invited to the state/affiliate level contests. The top two entries in every category at the state/affiliate level are then invited to the National Contest. Wyoming History Day is sponsored by the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center.
  • Purdue University’s Concord Law School offers a Civic Responsibility Guide, providing resources to promote civic engagement.
  • iCivics was founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2010. The organization provides web-based games and activities to help students learn about voting, civil rights, citizenship, and many other topics. There are also free tools for teachers and an educator network that provides training, guidance, and support.
  • Generation Citizen provides action-oriented curricula designed to help teachers bring civics to life in the classroom. Students get to choose an issue, develop a plan for addressing it, and then take real action toward their objectives.
  • How to Teach Civics in Action to K–12 Students, published by Baylor University’s online Doctorate of Education program, offers statistics about the number of students who volunteer, explains what action civics is, and details some challenges educators face when teaching civics. It also includes tips and ideas to help educators begin teaching civics in their own classrooms.
  • Students can take a sample version of United States Citizenship Civics Test through the Civics Education Initiative. All 100 questions in the Citizenship Civics Test fall under Wyoming’s social studies standards, which every student in the state is required to attain. A WDE-created spreadsheet identifies the standards linked to the civics questions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Federal Resources for Educational Excellence – Contains resources for social studies and other categories. These are upgraded monthly and listed by topic and subject.
  • Constitution Day is Sept. 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the landmark document in Philadelphia.  A Constitution Day website offers text of the Constitution and bios of all the Founding Fathers. The University of Wyoming’s Constitution Day page also offers resources. The National Archives offers a two-part group activity: Part 1 requires students to analyze primary source documents, and Part 2 asks them to establish each document’s constitutional relevance.
  • 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 4 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.
  • Wind River Education Project – videos, associated lesson plans and links to educational resources developed with funding from the Wyoming Legislature created by Wyoming PBS. The project aims to help teachers deliver lessons on the history, culture and people of Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation.
  • Two Nations – One Reservation, an initiative of Wyoming Humanities, includes a pop-up exhibit/kiosk and related teaching materials.
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West – school programs and resources for teaching Plains Indians history and culture from the premier museum of the American West
  • WoLakota Project is a collaboration between the South Dakota Department of Education and Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) to preserve the voices and experiences of the Oceti Sakowin: The People of the Seven Council Fires – the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples.
  • Local Learning – The National Network for Folk Arts in Education offers resources for inclusion of folk and traditional arts and culture into education, including teacher training and institutes.
  • 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.
  • The American Historical Association (AHA) offers resources to educators at all levels and at public history venues, introducing and integrating historians into the discipline, providing ongoing education for historians at every stage of their careers.
  • 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.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City offers free economic and personal finance resources for educators of all grade levels. The bank believes individuals of all ages who understand how the economy functions and know what tools are available make better financial decisions.
  • National Geographic offers on-line adventures, teacher guides, lesson plans and history activities, a teacher’s store, and more.

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

  • The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., offers a wealth of materials and traveling trunk exhibits on the history of the American West. Contact Gretchen Henrich at
  •, a project of the Wyoming State Historical Society, offers a number of articles and lesson plans about Wyoming’s history.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective provides articles, essays, lesson plans, reviews, podcasts, and videos that provide insight and understanding of events, past and current. Teacher Tools provides lesson plans for middle and high school.

  • 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 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.
  • Open Range Wyoming is a statewide repository of openly-licensed educational resources to support Wyoming school districts and educators as they make the transition to the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools.
  • Wind River Education Project is a series of videos, associated lesson plans and links to educational resources developed with funding from the Wyoming Legislature. The project aims to help teachers deliver lessons on the history, culture and people of Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation.
  •, a project of the Wyoming State Historical Society, offers a number of articles about Wyoming’s indigenous peoples, plus “digital toolkits” that serve as lesson plans on a number of American Indian topics.
  • “Two Nations – One Reservation” is a pop-up exhibit and related materials on the history of the Wind River Reservation from Wyoming Humanities.
  • The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody offers many K-12 programs and resources to help teachers and students meet Montana and Wyoming’s Indian Education for All component in these state’s Social Studies Standards.
  • The Power of the Powwow Narrative:  A Resource for Teaching Literacy and Cultural Resilience,” developed by Dr. Stephany Anderson from Buffalo Bill Center of the West resources, offers powwow materials to teach historical literacy.
  • The Brinton Museum in Big Horn offers educational resources exploring Plains Indian life and culture through original art and artifacts on display in “To Honor The Plains Nations” exhibition in the American Indian Gallery.
  • Financial Resources for Native American Students from CreditMonkey contains over 100 scholarships, grants, and internships specifically for Native American students.
  • Emergency Fund Calculator by CreditMonkey can help students know how much money to save for an emergency and prepared for the unexpected.
  • Online Budgeting Tools from CreditMonkey are money management tools and apps to help make budgeting easier for students.
  • WoLakota Project is a collaboration between the South Dakota Department of Education and Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) to preserve the voices and experiences of the Oceti Sakowin: The People of the Seven Council Fires – the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples.
  • The Western Educational Equity Assistance Center at Metropolitan State University of Denver assists states, school districts, public schools (including charter and magnet schools), and Tribal Education Departments to plan and implement practices and policies that promote equity and high quality education for all students in 13 Western states and 3 territories, including Wyoming. Resources for revitalizing Native languages and Native language immersion are among the offerings.
  • Native Knowledge 360° is a project of the National Museum of the American Indian. NK360° provides educational materials and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America.
  • The Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI) offers a free online professional learning series on culturally responsive instruction for Native American students.
  • 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.
  • Harvard University prepared a report, “Cultivated Ground,” outlining effective teaching practices for Native students in a public high school.
  • 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.
  • For Field trips: The St. Stephens Mission’s Heritage Center across from the St. Stephen’s School offers historical displays, traditional crafts and bead work, 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.
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center offers a number of resources to help fight hate, promote social justice and teach tolerance.
  • Visit Teaching for Change for Multicultural Diversity and Anti-Bias education.
  • The 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment is Aug. 20, 2020. A number of resources are available.

2018 Additions to Social Studies Standards

Additions to the state Social Studies Content and Performance Standards were approved by Gov. Matt Mead on Aug. 15, 2018. The changes were made to  meet the intent of Original House Bill 76/House Enrolled Act 119 of the 2017 Wyoming legislative session, which required a review of the standards to address traditional culture, history and contemporary contributions of American Indian tribes of the region.

The additional standards were developed during a 15-month process that included two series of town-hall type meetings across the state and several online surveys to gain public input. A 24-person review committee met from November 2017 through January 2018 to recommend changes, which were approved by the State Board of Education as part of the state’s administrative rules process.

School districts have three full school years to implement the changes. All changes must be implemented in the 2021-22 school year. For more on the process, click here.


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.