Welcome to Notebooking Across the USA, a series of unit studies covering each state in the U.S. in order of admission to the union. You can find the landing page for this series with links to each states unit study as they are published, along with tips, suggestions, and recommended resources for this series here: Notebooking Across the USA. These unit studies are written with homeschool students grades 3-8 in mind.
The most recommended resource for this series is the USA States Pack, and while I believe it will be very helpful if you will be studying all of the states, it is not required. If you do wish to purchase the pack, use the code benandmeUSA for a 25% discount.
Wyoming Unit Study
Wyoming, the 44th state to join the union on July 10, 1890, is home to the Rocky Mountains, the Continental Divide, Yellowstone National Park, and more. It is located in the mountain region of the western United States.
Covering 97,818 square miles, Wyoming is the tenth largest of the fifty states and the least in population. Montana borders Wyoming on the north, Utah and Colorado make up the south border, South Dakota and Nebraska on the east, and Idaho and Utah to the west.
Both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are fed from river basins that are on either side of the Continental Divide. The rivers that are on the east of the Continental Divide drain to the Atlantic Ocean from the Missouri River Basin. The Columbia and Colorado River Basins both drain into the Pacific Ocean and are west of the Continental Divide.
The climate in Wyoming is influenced by the Pacific most of the year. It is generally cool statewide due to its higher elevation. Precipitation varies across the state throughout the year with freezing temperatures stretching into the late spring. The mountain ranges typically see more precipitation than the rest of the state.
Population: 587,910 (51st largest in the US)
Nickname: The Equality State
The state nickname comes from Wyoming being the first state to grant women the right to vote in the mid-1860s. This action was taken so that Wyoming would have enough citizens allowed to vote so that they would be allowed to become a state. The original nickname after women gaining the right to vote was “The Suffrage State.” It was later changed to “The Equality State.”
Motto: Equal Rights
The motto was selected to echo the state nickname “The Equality State”
Agriculture: Beef cattle, Sheep, Dairy products, Honey, Hay, Sugar beets, and Wheat.
Fishing Industry: Bass, Sunfish, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Trout, Sturgeon, and Salmon.
Industry: Soda Ash, Petroleum refining, Structural metals, and food processing.
Mining: Coal, Petroleum, Bentonite, and clay.
Have your students color and label an outline map of Wyoming. Include the state capital and largest city of Cheyenne. Be sure to include the Grand Tetons, Bighorn National Forest, and Yellowstone National Park. Don’t forget the Continental Divide that runs from the northwest to the south central borders of Wyoming and the Snake and Green Rivers that are major rivers for the state.
Wyoming adopted their official state flag in 1917. The design came from a contest that the Wyoming chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held to create a flag design. The design has the silhouette of Wyoming’s state mammal, the bison, in the center of a dark blue field. The bison originally faced away from the flagpole staff representing the freedom that once allowed to the bison that roamed across the plains of Wyoming. Prior to the adoption of the flag as the official state flag, the direction of the bison was changed to face the staff. The Wyoming state seal is pictured on the bison. There are white and red borders around the blue field of the flag. The red is symbolic of the original native Americans that lived in Wyoming before it was settled. It also represents the blood of the settlers who fought to gain official claim to the land. The white is a symbol of purity that has been characteristic of Wyoming. The blue exemplifies the open sky and the mountains seen across Wyoming. Fidelity, justice, and virility are also symbolized by the blue background.
The state seal of Wyoming was made official in 1893 and was updated in 1921. The seal features the date 1869, the year that the Wyoming Territorial government was organized, and 1890, the year that Wyoming joined the union. It also features the number 44 in Roman numerals which signifies Wyoming being the 44th state to join the union. There are three figures featured on the seal: the figure in the center is a lady holding a staff that has a banner on it that states the motto “Equal rights,” the two men represent the two of the original industries in the state, livestock and mining. There are two pillars that have scrolls around them that read; “Oil, Mines, Livestock, and Grain” – the four major industries of Wyoming.
Wyoming State Bird: Western Meadowlark
The Western Meadowlark was adopted as the official state bird in 1927.
Wyoming State Flower: Indian Paintbrush
The Indian Paintbrush became the official state flower in 1917.
Wyoming State Tree: Plains Cottonwood
The Plains Cottonwood was adopted as the official state tree in 1947.
“Wyoming” became the official state song in 1955. The lyrics are by C.E. Winter and the music by G.E. Knapp.
Learn about Wyoming’s state government here: Government
Flora and Fauna
Rocky Mountain Juniper, Utah Juniper, Pinyon Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Whitebark Pine, Limber Pine, Blue Spruce, White Spruce, Engelmann Spruce, Douglas Fir, and the Subalpine Fir are the most common tree species in Wyoming.
Common birds include Chukar, Grey Partridge, Ruffed Grouse, Northern Bobwhite, Gadwall, Common Goldeneye, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Three-toed Woodpecker, Great Grey Owl, Golden Eagle, and the Prairie Falcon.
It is believed that a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was the first American that explored the region now known as Wyoming in 1807. Years later as people were traveling west via either the Oregon Trail or traveling via the Union Pacific Railroad, some settled in Wyoming. More residents meant more of a military presence to intervene between the settlers and the Native Americans that had inhabited the land for generations. Eventually there were treaties signed between the Native Americans and the settlers agreeing to peace and the safety of the settlers.
Like other states in the western portion of the United States, the building of the railroad was key in bringing settlers to Wyoming. The Union Pacific Railroad would grant land to settlers in hopes of goods being transported in and out of the state via the railroad. The Wyoming Territory was established in 1868 and then gained statehood in 1890. At that time, Wyoming was the only state that allowed women to vote. Wyoming seemed to lead the nation in firsts for women. They were the first to allow women to serve on a jury in court, had the first female court bailiff, the first female justice of the peace, and they were the first to elect a female governor.
Wyoming is also home to the first National Park. Yellowstone was officially named a National park in 1872. Yellowstone is made up of 3,472 square miles which is equivalent to 2,221,766 acres. Ninety-six percent of that is in Wyoming. Other firsts for Wyoming include Devil’s Tower being named the first national monument and Shoshone Forest becoming the first National Forest.
Although there were mines in Wyoming, they are not known for gold, silver, or other precious stones and metals like other western states. Coal and oil were discovered and continue to be a major source of revenue for Wyoming.
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Road Trip Wyoming
If you have a chance to visit the state of Wyoming, be sure you don’t miss these sites. If you won’t be visiting, take a virtual field trip by clicking on the name of the site. Have your student create Travel Journal notebooking pages to record what they learn.
Yellowstone National Park covers roughly 3,500 square miles across Wyoming and crossing over into Montana and Idaho. Visitors can view the canyons, rivers, forests, hot springs and the famous geyser – Old Faithful. It is also home to many species of animals such as antelope, elk, bison, bears, and more.
Grand Teton National Park is located in northwest Wyoming. It is best known for the Teton mountain range and the valley of Jackson Hole. In the summer months, visitors come to Grand Teton National Park to camp, fish, bike, boat, and more. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities. It is located just under seven miles from Yellowstone National Park.
Jackson Hole is a valley in western Wyoming that is surrounded by the Teton Mountains. There is no actual “hole”. Years ago as trappers looked into the valley from the mountains they referred to the land as a “hole”. The name stuck. Today it is a popular destination for skiing, camping, and even getting the experience of living on a real dude ranch. The town of Jackson is home to the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, formerly known as the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, is a complex of five museums and a research library featuring art and artifacts of the American West located in Cody, Wyoming.
Old Trail Town is a collection of 26 historic buildings dating back to 1879. It also has a vast collection of Wyoming frontier artifacts. It is located in Cody, Wyoming – build by “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
The Pony Express was the main method of communication before the invention of the telegraph. Messages would travel over 1,800 miles in 10 days from Missouri to California, crossing 8 states in the process. Click here to see the trail that ran through Wyoming.
Famous People from Wyoming
Jackson Pollock (artist)
Dick Cheney (46th Vice-President of the United States)
“Buffalo Bill” Cody (Old West figure)
Interesting Facts about Wyoming
Wyoming is the least populous state in the United States.
Wyoming had the first female governor of all the 50 states. Her name was Nellie Davis Tayloe Ross and she served as Wyoming’s 14th governor from 1925 to 1927. After that she was the director of the United States Mint for 20 years.
The pronghorn, that calls Wyoming home, is considered the fastest mammal in the Western Hemisphere.
Wyoming produces the largest amount of coal in the United States. The largest coal mine in the USA is Black Thunder located near Wright.
Wagon wheel ruts still exist all over Wyoming due to the large amount of wagon traffic that came through in the 19th century.
Wyoming is home to the oldest county library in the United States. Laramie County Library was established in 1886.
Eaton Ranch, the first dude ranch in the world is located in Wolf, Wyoming.
A 75-foot arch spans across main street in Afton, Wyoming that is made out of 3,011 elk antlers.
Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote.
The U.S. continental divide splits around the Wyoming’s Red Desert.
Yellowstone National Park is home to more natural geysers than any other place in the world.
There are more than 2,000 miles of snowmobile trails in Wyoming.
Arts, Crafts and Recipes
Try one of these craft ideas to help you learn more about Wyoming
Learn to paint like Jackson Pollock
Try a few crafts that represent the Old West
Make Beef Jerky, a favorite of the Old West
Take an online look at the collection of art and memorabilia housed at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Learn how geysers work
Wyoming Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
C is for Cowboy by Eugene Gagliano
A Wild Ride: The Adventures of Misty & Moxie Wyoming: A ColorRead With Me StoryBook by Niki Danforth
Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure (National Geographic Kids) by Ilona E. Holland
Who Pooped in the Park? Yellowstone National Park: Scat and Tracks for Kids by Gary D. Robson
Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg
Book Basket (Non-Fiction)
Yellowstone National Park for Kids, Preteens, and Teenagers: A Grande Guides Series Book for Children by Stephanie Del Grande
What I saw in Yellowstone by Durrae Johanek
Yellowstone and Grand Teton Activity Book by Paula Ellis
I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote (Melanie Kroupa Books) by Linda Arms White
Geysers: What They Are And How They Work by T. Scott Bryan
Jackson Pollock (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
Snowmobile: Bombardier’s Dream Machine by Jules Older
I suggest creating a “unit study book basket” (a laundry basket will do) to fill with books from the book basket lists. You can use these books in your instructional time, for reading aloud, or for reading time for your students. Some of the nonfiction books have activities, experiments, and other hands-on learning opportunities to enrich your unit study.
Take a peek at several virtual tours around Yellowstone National Park
Take a virtual climb of the Grand Teton
Virtual tour of the National Museum of Wildlife Art
See Wyoming from a kid’s point of view.
Did you see something important I missed? Share in the comments and I may add it!