New This Fall! Wyo Wonders Elementary Curriculum Is Ready for Classrooms

Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC) is excited to announce the launch of its brand new Wyo Wonders curriculum this fall. Wyo Wonders is a free elementary curriculum focused on helping students understand Wyoming’s core heritage industries of agriculture, minerals and energy, outdoor recreation, and tourism.

Wyo Wonders continues the legacy of stewardship-based education for Wyoming students that WAIC’s previous curriculum, the Wyoming Stewardship Project has previously fulfilled. The curriculum was written by teachers for teachers, equipping them with Wyoming-specific tools and resources for their classrooms. By completing the curriculum, students not only learn Wyoming’s history, but study Wyoming’s core industries, how they are connected, and the importance of those industries today as they employ critical thinking skills and begin to envision their future careers in their home state.

Executive Director Andrew Joannides stated, “I am so excited to share this new curriculum with educators, students, our supporters, and folks all around the great state of Wyoming! When I first saw it, it took me back to my childhood when my mom would take me to children’s museums. It feels exploratory, it is creative and inviting. We want this freshly branded curriculum to be memorable for the children who have access to it. As we all know, Wyoming is full of wonderful things. It is inspiring to know that our children can learn this starting in elementary school!”

Wyo Wonders is supported by WAIC, and their team of Education Advocates provides workshops for educators, along with as-needed support throughout the school year. Since the beginning of June, educators attending WAIC’s summer workshops have gotten their first look at the Wyo Wonders curriculum. One participant from the Sheridan workshop commented, “I love the new name and look! I think it will draw in a lot more attention and curiosity.” Others have commented on the kid-friendly new name and fun imagery for the lessons.

Wyo Wonders lessons and resources will be ready for the fall semester at This free curriculum is powered by Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom. To learn more about the program, and how you can support it within your community, please reach out to Andrew Joannides, Executive Director at 307-369-1749.

Congratulations to our 2021 Educator of the Year!

Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC) would like to congratulate Reva Lobatos, the 2021 Educator of the Year. Ms. Lobatos currently teaches 4th Grade at Fort Washakie Elementary in Fremont County.

Lobatos is active in her school, education communities, and WAIC programs.  She has been involved with writing, revising, and teaching the Wyoming Stewardship Project (WSP) over the past four years.  Lobatos commented, “Using the Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom materials provided my students with information about the state they live in and inspired many of them to talk their grown-ups into exploring more of the state. Not only have we talked about caring for the land, water, and animals, but we have also introduced the idea of recycling and its impact on future generations. Students are becoming educators among their families as well. It is very inspiring!”

Over the past four years, Lobatos has taught the WSP to her fourth-grade students on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The lessons provide a meaningful way for Lobatos to discuss natural resources, the economic impacts of those resources, and caring for the land. This year, in her virtual classroom, Lobatos utilizes resources from WSP as she and her students explored Devils Tower and a Wyoming trona mine through virtual field trips.

Reva summarized her experience, saying, “I believe in this program, I truly use it, and I am always inspired by the outcomes. I also appreciate the effort that has been put into producing such an exceptional curriculum. I am very thankful for the virtual adaptations this year!”

As the 2021 Educator of the Year, Lobatos will be awarded a cash prize of $2,500 through Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom.  The award is funded by the Vermillion Ranch Limited Partnership, Mantha Phillips, and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.

Congratulations Reva!

Ask a Regional Advocate:

Why Teach the Wyoming Stewardship Project?

Many things come across a teacher’s desk throughout the year, some of them are worthwhile, and some aren’t. I feel the Wyoming Stewardship Project is worth teaching because it is all about us, the people of Wyoming.  It teaches the standards through lessons specific to Wyoming, which makes it relevant to our Wyoming kids. Not only that, it’s completely done for teachers – everything you need is there, and it’s all Wyoming based, including pictures, videos, and articles.  You can tell teachers wrote the lessons because they knew exactly what a teacher would want in a unit of study and made sure to put it in there. And now, to make it even easier to use, there will a PowerPoint/Google slide show to go with each lesson. Continue reading “Ask a Regional Advocate:”

Spectrum donation supports the Wyoming Stewardship Project


Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC) is the grateful recipient of 20 Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablets and a check for $2000 donated by Spectrum. Spectrum representatives, Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow, and board and staff members from WAIC gathered in Cheyenne on November 6 to celebrate the gift and partnership.

Spectrum’s gift will support WAIC’s efforts to reach Wyoming teachers and students with high-quality educational materials from the Wyoming Stewardship Project (WSP.) Educators teaching units from the WSP are encouraged to fill out a questionnaire demonstrating the lesson’s impact. After an educator submits their feedback, one of WAIC’s Regional Advocates will send them a surprise gift box for their class! Their name is also entered into the drawing for one of the Samsung tablets.

Thank you, Spectrum, for helping us reach Wyoming’s classrooms, and grow stewards for our future!

What does the Wyoming Stewardship Project cover?

At a glance, the Wyoming Stewardship Project is:

– Focused on grades 2-5
– 12 full units exploring Agriculture, Minerals & Energy, Outdoor Recreation & Tourism
– Fully aligned to Wyoming Content and Performance Standards
– Units align horizontally across grade-level content and vertically in grades 2-5
– Units can be used independently without loss of integrity
– Units provide cross-curricular lessons and hands-on activities with content unique to Wyoming
– Thoughtfully written to highlight and engage Higher Order Thinking Skills
– A FREE gift to Wyoming educators and students

What exactly does all of this mean, and what is covered in each of the units?

To answer this question, we’ve summarized the main ideas covered in each of the units. After you’ve read the summaries, click the unit name – it will take you directly to the unit page to view and download the lessons and resources!


2nd Grade Agriculture:

Second-grade students learn about Wyoming farms and how farmers practice stewardship in this unit of eight lessons. Lessons showcase the history of farming in our state, starting with the Homestead act, and go on to explore how farming technologies have changed over the years.  Science experiments with plant seedlings help students develop a deeper understanding of how plants grow and the challenges farmers face as they produce our food. A hands-on engineering challenge centered around plant pollination rounds out this agriculture unit.

2nd Grade Minerals & Energy:

Second Grade students discover Wyoming’s mineral and energy resources in this unit of eight lessons.  Students begin to understand the concept of renewable and nonrenewable resources and how they affect past, current, and future generations.  Stewardship practices are explored through a hands-on simulation where students try to “reclaim” a broken piñata.  Economic impact is introduced as students step into the roles of energy industry workers in a role-play scenario.  The unit’s final lesson provides the opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge with a final project and presentation.

2nd Grade Outdoor Recreation & Tourism:

Second Grade students explore Wyoming’s unique lands through the eight lessons found in this unit.  Developing an understanding of the difference between public and private resources sets the stage for an appreciation of our state’s unique spaces and opportunities.  Students get hands-on with geography as they create 3-D models of terrain types found across Wyoming.  Responsible use and stewardship come into play as students learn about careers in stewardship and discuss recreation rules in various settings.  Wyoming’s State Parks are highlighted in the final project, where students develop a brochure sharing information about one of these parks.

3rd Grade Agriculture:

Third Grade students learn about Wyoming’s livestock industry and how ranchers practice stewardship through this unit’s six lessons.  Students identify livestock species and explore how Wyoming’s climate and open rangelands are suited to livestock production.   Students get up and moving as they learn about rotational grazing, drought, predator management, and other challenges faced by ranchers.  As the unit wraps up, students get to meet a steward from the livestock industry and practice their letter writing skills when they send a thank-you note to a rancher from their community.

3rd Grade Minerals & Energy:

Third Grade students discover Wyoming’s many energy resource options in this unit of eight lessons.  Students learn to distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources as they explore Wyoming’s energy production industries.  They will learn how Wyoming is unique in our variety of resources and identify authors’ points of view as they read samples of opinion texts related to energy sources.  Wind turbine simulations provide real-life examples of force and motion and engineering design challenges.  Students demonstrate their understanding of energy stewardship as they wrap up the unit by creating an acrostic poem about what it means to be a STEWARD.

3rd Grade Outdoor Recreation & Tourism:

Third Grade students learn about Wyoming plants, wildlife, and recreation in this unit of six lessons.  Students discover different plants, wildlife, and recreational activities common in our state as they discuss, read, and share information.  A game of tag provides the opportunity to practice math skills as students experience a wildlife population control simulation.  The concept of invasive species is introduced as students explore another type of relationship between plants, wildlife, and humans; and learn about careers responsible for the stewardship of these resources.  Stewardship challenges are again considered as the unit wraps up with an engineering design challenge focused on either wildlife or invasive plants.

4th Grade Agriculture:

Fourth Grade students explore the “what, where, and why” of Wyoming agriculture in this unit of seven lessons.  Students review the history of agriculture in Wyoming and discuss stewardship challenges and choices made by previous generations.  With this historical context in mind, students research current farming and ranching practices and make connections between where crops and livestock grow compared to Wyoming’s geography.   They wrap up this research by exploring how advancements in technology impact the agriculture industry.  Students are then introduced to the concept of cost-benefit analysis before putting that theory into practice in the unit’s final project scenario.

4th Grade Minerals & Energy:

Fourth Grade students take a comprehensive look at energy production in Wyoming in this unit of eleven lessons.  Students explore the concept of stewardship through the lens of mineral and energy production as they review the industry’s history in our state.  Wyoming’s abundant energy resources provide a research topic as students learn more about oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, wind, and hydroelectric production before creating posters to share their knowledge.  Students then discuss how this energy meets the needs of Wyoming and the United States. Armed with this knowledge, students compare and contrast the benefits and challenges associated with different sources of energy production.  An engineering challenge rounds out their exploration before students present their knowledge in a “Minerals & Energy Fair” and write personal stewardship pledges.

4th Grade Outdoor Recreation & Tourism:

Fourth Grade students discover Wyoming’s public spaces, unique landforms, and historical sites in this unit of seven lessons.  Students explore how they can be stewards as they discuss who owns different areas of land in Wyoming, how each is used, and who is responsible for managing it.  Management of public sites introduces discussion about past and present stewardship practices that ensure access for future generations. Students are challenged to find a solution for an engineering challenge relating to recreation to wrap up the unit.

5th Grade Agriculture:

Fifth Grade students are challenged to think about Wyoming agriculture through scientific, cultural, and economic lenses in this unit of nine lessons. Students race to become “Master Stewards” as they learn about many different aspects that go into making complex stewardship decisions.  The study of how species interact within an ecosystem provides a scientific base for students to use when reviewing and making decisions for a series of real-world agricultural scenarios.  Students are then challenged to consider cultural and economic factors as they navigate a “Choose Your Ag Adventure” scenario game.  Having had the opportunity to explore multiple decision-making lenses, students are allowed to revisit previous scenarios before applying their new skills in a final challenge scenario and achieving the status of “Master Steward.”

5th Grade Minerals & Energy:

Fifth Grade students get their hands dirty as they discover Wyoming’s mineral resources in this unit of six lessons.  Students make personal connections with Wyoming’s mineral industry as they learn about mineral by-products they use every day.  After learning the importance of mineral resources, students explore where they are found, how they are mined, and how mining affects the economy of our towns, cities, and state.  Stewardship of our minerals and mines is explored through a hands-on-reclamation activity where students try to “mine” and “reclaim” a pan layered with oatmeal, marbles, shaving cream, and sprinkles.  Students share knowledge gained during the unit as they create a public service announcement for their final project.

5th Grade Outdoor Recreation & Tourism:

Fifth Grade students meet real-life stewards of Wyoming’s outdoor recreation and tourism in this unit of seven lessons.  As students try to solve the puzzle of the “Mystery Steward,” they are introduced to nine different individuals and organizations who are stewards of Wyoming.  Students learn about who owns and manages Wyoming lands, different stewardship challenges facing that management, and how stewardship decisions are made throughout the lessons.  Close reading and observation during videos help students understand that good stewardship can take many forms.  In the final lesson, students demonstrate their understanding of stewardship as they identify themselves as the “Mystery Steward” and write a paragraph describing their stewardship decision based on a chosen scenario.

Laramie Peak Motors, Platte Valley Bank, and WyoTech support Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom’s education outreach

Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom is the grateful recipient of a leased 2019 Ford EcoSport, thanks to a generous partnership between Laramie Peak Motors, Platte Valley Bank, and WyoTech.  The businesses worked together to donate a three-year lease vehicle to assist the non-profit with traveling to elementary schools across the state. Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom provides agriculture and natural resource lessons, aligned to standards, for 2nd-5th Grade classrooms statewide.  The official launch of the Wyoming Stewardship Project will send staff across Wyoming to support elementary schools for program implementation and educator professional development opportunities.  Jessie Dafoe, Executive Director stated, “We couldn’t be more thankful for this remarkable donation. This vehicle will cut our travel costs immensely, and allow us to impact more students and support educators at a greater level.”

FFA in the Elementary Classroom

Members of Wyoming FFA chapters shared their knowledge of agriculture with fourth-grade students during the State FFA Convention in April.  Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom provided the workshop for FFA Members, before accompanying the Jr. High and High School students on a visit to the fourth-grade classrooms at Sunrise Elementary in Cheyenne.

Continue reading “FFA in the Elementary Classroom”

Pine Bluffs Students Experience Calving Season First Hand

Thanks to the hospitality of the Lerwick family, fourth and fifth grade students from Pine Bluffs were able to visit a working ranch, and experience calving season first hand.  

Students found real-world applications for math as they learned about feed rations; exploring exactly what it is that cattle eat.  They then took a trip through the calving barn where they were given a chance to pet a calf and milk a first-calf-heifer. As they waited their turn to milk, students learned about colostrum, and its importance to young calves.  

Timing worked out, and before heading into the house for lunch, students were able to witness the birth of a set of twin calves!  This was a prime opportunity to see stewardship in action– as the calves were both trying to come at once and had to be pulled. Both heifer calves arrived safely, and students left with a new understanding and appreciation for the work that goes into producing their food.

Interested in sharing your ranch stewardship story through the Wyoming Stewardship Project?  Contact Rindy West to learn more about becoming a local ranching contact.

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