Lesson Two: Who Owns Wyoming?
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Time: 45 minutes
Essential Question: How can we be stewards of Wyoming’s public and private lands to benefit current and future generations?
Objective: Students will:
- Identify the many uses of Wyoming lands.
- Create a model of land ownership in Wyoming.
Purpose: Students learn that Wyoming’s land is both public and private. While participating in various activities on these lands, we must be good stewards.
- Masking tape
- Land Ownership Map PDF or http://uwmaps.wygisc.org/studentAtlas/index.html?page=37 (Sources 1-2)
- Wyoming Land Ownership 10 x 10 (one per every group of four)
- Wyoming Land Ownership 10 x 10 Sample Grid (copy for teacher)
- Colored pencils/markers: yellow, green, light blue, purple, orange, pink, dark blue (one set per group)
- Whiteboards/sticky notes
- Recreational Activity Sort (one per group of students)
- Eaton Ranch portrait for Portrait Gallery
- Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yghUWugScJE Eaton Ranch – That’s WY (Source 3) Video length: 2 minutes 25 seconds
- Fayette Family portrait for Portrait Gallery
- Video: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/Landowner-of-the-Year/2018/Fayette-Ranch Fayette Ranch – Landowner of the Year (Source 4) Video length: 2 minutes 33 seconds
- Index cards
Suggested Teacher Preparation:
- Divide the room in half with masking tape on the floor.
Teacher Note:Keep the tape on your floor. It will be needed for the next lesson.
- Print the Wyoming Land Ownership 10 x 10 Sample Grid in color.
- Decide if you want students to respond using whiteboards or sticky notes in step six.
- Prepare the copies of handouts for Recreational Activity Sort.
- Divide the room in half with masking tape on the floor.
Social Studies: SS5.6.1, SS5.5.2 (Practiced/Encountered)
Math: MP4, 5.NBT.3.B (Practiced/Encountered)
- Private land – land owned by a person or group and kept for their exclusive use; permission and access for any purpose must be granted by the owner
- Public land – land owned by a government; may or may not be accessible to the public
- Instruct students that they need to stay on one side of the taped line. This side should be the public side of the classroom, but do not tell them this right away. Gather students into one area of the public side of the room for a discussion. Say: “In the last lesson, we talked about what it means to be a good steward of Wyoming’s lands. Imagine that the floor of this classroom represents the land of Wyoming. As you walked into the room today, I’m sure you noticed that there is tape on the floor that divides the room. Are you curious as to why there is tape on the floor? We’ll discuss that in a minute, but first we need to talk about the word public.” Ask students leading questions to see if students understand what “public” means: “What is a public restroom? What does it mean to go to a public library?” Let students respond. Say: “Public means somewhere anyone can visit as long as they follow the guidelines of the place. The tape line represents how much land in Wyoming is public land. You will notice that it is about half. This does not mean that the one side of Wyoming is exclusively public land; it is meant to be a representation of the portion of overall land that is public. If this is the public land side that you’re sitting on, does anybody know what the other side would be called?”
- Give students a couple of minutes to Think-Pair-Share their ideas of what the other side of the room could be named. Call on a few students to share out and guide them to the correct answer of private land. Again, clarify for students that the private land doesn’t just exist on one side of the state. This is just a representation.
- Display the Land Ownership Map. Number students 1-4, and have all the ones sit together, twos sit together, and so on. Have students turn and talk with their group the following questions.
- “What do you notice about this map?”
- “What do you think the colors represent?”
- “Which color seems to have the greatest representation on the map?”
Teacher look-fors might include: colors, counties, railroads, Yellowstone National Park, water, etc. Students may say color represents various things. They will probably say yellow is the predominant color.
- When groups are finished discussing, say: “You will notice that there is a legend on the right side of the map. It tells us what each color represents. This map is showing us how land is distributed in Wyoming. You see that private land is colored in white. State lands are light blue; Bureau of Land Management is yellow; U.S. Forest Service is green; National Park Service is purple; Bureau of Indian Affairs is orange; Other federal lands are pink; and water is dark blue.” Hand out the Wyoming Land Ownership 10 x 10 grids and sets of colored pencils/markers. Say: “We are going to create a model of the different types of land ownership using decimals to represent percentages. This will allow us to get a better comparison of the public and private land ownership in Wyoming. We will keep the numbers lumped together for the purpose of viewing the map through a different lens. Understand that our public lands are not actually organized like this. Each block on the grid represents one percent (0.01); color a block for each percent. Have discussions with members of your group if you have questions. Mark the colors for each category.” Read the colors for the categories listed below. When finished, say: “Put on your math caps, and let’s get to work. You will have ten minutes.” Monitor groups while they are working for the ten minutes. Have students graph the numbers in the order they are given, so they can get a better view of the amount of each type of land that make up our public lands.
- “BLM lands are yellow.”
- “U.S. Forest Service is green.”
- “State lands are light blue.”
- “National Park Service is purple.”
- “Bureau of Indian Affairs is orange.”
- “Other federal lands are pink.”
- “Water is dark blue.” This value is .004 of the state’s area, which will not be representable to the students because it is less than 1%.
- When the ten minutes are up, display the Wyoming Land Ownership 10 x 10 Sample Grid for students to view. Say: “Compare your group’s grid to others in the room.” Give students a few moments to adjust their grids if needed. Ask: “What does our mathematical model show us about Wyoming’s land? Turn and talk to a neighbor then share out your ideas with the group.” When small groups are finished discussing, reconvene the whole group and ask the following questions.
- “What do you notice?”
- “How many total squares are colored?” 56
- “What does the colored land represent?” public land
- “What do the white squares on your map represent?” private land
- Pass out either whiteboards or sticky notes. Say: “Our Wyoming Land Ownership 10 x 10 grid will be a good resource for us to refer to as we continue to talk about Wyoming’s lands. On your own, write a response to this question: Whose responsibility is it to take care of these lands?” Students will share their ideas by finding a partner and then forming two equal lines. Have students in the line on the left stay in their spot and have students in the right line move three people down. The three students at the top of the line walk down the middle and line up with their new partners at the back of the line. Students share their ideas again with their new partners. This process can be repeated one more time.
SynthesisIn this task, students will be engaged in the higher order thinking skill of synthesis.
- Say: “Our next activity will explore some uses of Wyoming lands.” Give each group a copy of the Recreational Activity Sort. Groups cut the Recreational Activity strips from the Word Bank, and place each one on the T-chart. Allow for decision making and conversation defending the placement of each strip on the chart. Some activities may fall under both categories, students should be able to give reasonable justification for their placement of the activity strips.
- After groups have finished placing the recreational activity strips on their charts, have students complete a Gallery Walk to notice the differences and similarities in the decisions other teams made. Bring groups back together as a class to discuss the process and results found during the Gallery Walk. Different situations lend themselves to different activities and places where those activities are allowed. Discuss whether the students’ decisions were affected when thinking of public versus private land.
- Discuss the questions below.
- “Why do rules and regulations exist for recreational activities on Wyoming land?”
- “How do rules and regulations relate to the importance of stewardship of Wyoming lands for the next generation?” If students have trouble answering this question, re-frame the question in this way: “In our sort, we said that we shouldn’t start a fire in a place that is not designated for one. Why is following this rule important to being stewards?” Repeat the question with the other activities listed in the Recreational Activity Sort.
- Play the Eaton Ranch – That’s WY and the Fayette Ranch – Landowner of the Year videos. When the videos are finished, ask the questions below. Allow students to respond before moving on to the next question:
- “Do rules and regulations apply to private land?”
- “How or why would you need to gain access to private land?”
- “Can you name some ways that ranchers and other private landowners show good stewardship?”
Add the Eaton Ranch Portrait and the Fayette Ranch Portrait to the Portrait Gallery.
Assessment: Pass out index cards as a Check for Understanding. Say: “On one side of your index card, label and sketch two different outdoor activities. On the other side of your index card, write a complete sentence in response to this question: When you are participating in different recreational activities in Wyoming, what can you do to be a good steward of the land?”
- Hammerlink, J.D., Webster, G.R., & Berendsen, M.E. (2014). Wyoming Student Atlas: Exploring our Geography. Laramie:Wyoming: University of Wyoming. http://uwmaps.wygisc.org/studentAtlas/index.html?page=1
- University of Wyoming. (n.d.). Land Ownership map. Retrieved August 18, 2017, from http://uwmaps.wygisc.org/studentAtlas/index.html?page=37
- Wyoming Business Council. (2017, February 23). Eaton Ranch – That’s WY Retrieved July 18, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yghUWugScJE
- Wyoming Game and Fish. (2018). 2018 Jackson/Pinedale Region Landowner of the Year. Retrieved August 15, 2019, from https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/Landowner-of-the-Year/2018/Fayette-Ranch