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Wyoming Geographic Alliance

University of Wyoming | Department of Geography

Status of Geography in WY

The big question: Are the geographic education needs of Wyoming students currently met? If the answer is no, then what can we do to change this situation?

In April 2015, the Wyoming State Department of Education was asked to assist in updating the original 2011 Geography Fact Sheet. The following is the state of geography in Wyoming in 2015 (updates for 2018/2019 coming soon):

  1. There are no state required geography courses in Wyoming middle schools.

  2. There are no state required geography courses in Wyoming high schools.

  3. There are no state mandated K-12 student achievement tests that include items assessing knowledge of geography.

  4. There are two AP Human Geography courses offered in the state.  These two courses are offered at the same high school.

  5. There are state approved social studies standards.  Contained in these is a standard for the geographic themes.  Benchmarks are included for the end of 2nd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade and 12th grade.

  6. In 2012-2013, the standards were revised and adopted in 2014.  Districts in Wyoming must fully implement the 2014 standards by the 2016-2017 school year.

 

Educators need to understand that:

Wyoming graduates increasingly travel and work in areas beyond Wyoming and interact with people, companies, and even governments around the world.  The widespread use of computers, the Internet, and other information technology systems allows Wyomingites to experience the world as a more connected and active place.  Economic globalization and job mobility require that Wyoming students understand the nature of foreign cultures who represent, on the one hand, a labor force, and, on the other, a market area for Wyoming products.  

Geographic knowledge, skills, and technology provide a means to comprehend the rapidly changing physical and cultural environments of the world, and thus, prepare Wyoming students to be better global citizens.

 

Many of the central challenges of the 21st century
are tied to changes to the spatial organization and
character of the landscapes and environments of Earth’s
surface as populations move, natural resources are depleted,
and climate shifts. Research in the geographical
sciences has the potential to contribute greatly to
efforts to monitor, analyze, and prepare for these
changes. Technological developments and changing
research priorities have inspired the rapid growth of the
geographical sciences over the past two decades.


 From Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences (National Research Council, 2010)

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Join the WGA!

To do so, email us at wga@uwyo.edu with your name, preferred email address, what school/organization you are associated with, and a mailing address.

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