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Geography in Wyoming - Fact Sheet 2018

University of Wyoming | Department of Geography

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 October 2018, 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 2018:

  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, 5th ,  8th and 12th grade.
  6. In 2018, the social studies standards were revised.  Districts in Wyoming must fully implement the new standards by the 2021-22 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.

Wyoming Geographic Occupation Facts

 

Did you know that 45,760 people in Wyoming are employed in careers using geography? These include the following occupation areas (source: Wyoming Occupational Employment and Wages - March 2018. http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/LEWISMarch2018ECI/toc001.htm)

  • Architecture and Engineering: 3600
  • Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media: 1,510
  • Business and Financial Operations: 1,430
  • Computer and Mathematical: 570
  • Construction and Extraction: 5,900
  • Education, Training and Library: 460
  • Farm and Fishing Occupations: 570
  • Installation, Maintenance, and Repair: 3,050
  • Legal: 220
  • Life and Physical Social Science: 2,600
  • Management: 1,680
  • Office and Administrative Support: 1,690
  • Personal Care and Service:  340
  • Production: 2,670
  • Protective Service: 3,880
  • Sales and Related: 1,230
  • Transportation and Material Moving: 14,360
Total: 45,760

 

Geography plays a vital role in the employment of thousands of Wyoming residents.  Geography inclusion in school curriculum is essential to the growth of Wyoming’s economy.

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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