Lesson Four: Outdoor Recreation and Tourism – Past, Present, and Future
Grade Level: 4th Grade
Time: 2 days – 60 minutes each day
Essential Question: How can we be stewards of Wyoming’s lands to benefit current and future generations?
Objectives: Students will:
- Analyze how outdoor recreation and tourism on Wyoming lands has changed over time, how they may change in the future, and the importance of good stewardship of those lands
- Explain the role of outdoor recreation and tourism on Wyoming’s economy and culture.
Purpose: Students learn that outdoor recreation and tourism play an integral part in the success of Wyoming’s economy and can also affect its culture.
- Wyoming Historical Places: Then and Now PowerPoint
- White paper (one sheet per student)
- Wyoming Visitor Statistics data sheet
- History of Wyoming’s Public Lands text (from Lesson 1)
- Chart paper
- Counters, blocks, or chips to represent money (at least 50)
- Container to hold counters, blocks, or chips
- Cause and Effect worksheet (one per student)
Suggested Teacher Preparation:
- Decide to either print the Wyoming Historical Places: Then and Now PowerPoint images for display in the classroom or display them using technology.
- Review steps for playing the Pass the Buck game. (Day 2: steps 3 -10).
Social Studies: SS 5.2.2 (Explicit); SS 5.3.1, SS 5.4.1 (Practiced/Encountered)
ELA: 4. RI.5, 4.RI.7 (Practiced/Encountered)
CVE: CV 5.1.1 , CV 5.4.1, CV 5.5.2 (Practiced/Encountered)
- Capitalize – take the chance to gain advantage from
- Culture – a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization
- Economy – financial system of interaction and exchange
- Opportunity – a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something
- Revenue – money that is made by or paid to a business or an organization
- Tourism – the activity of traveling to a place for pleasure that can generate revenue from the enjoyment of Wyoming’s land and/or resources
- Display the Wyoming Historical Places: Then and Now PowerPoint. While scrolling through the pictures, ask after the “Then” pictures: “How are these pictures different from what we experience today?” Have students quickly share the differences they notice with their elbow partner before moving on to the next slide.
- As a whole group, have students share some of the big differences they noticed. Return to the Yellowstone National Park slides and use the following questions for discussion. Ask:
- “How did the pictures differ from each other?”
- “Has the land changed?”
- “Is the management of the land in the present-day picture different from the historical picture? How?”
- “Why would this change happen? What is the cause and effect relationship?
- Help students understand that these changes have occurred due to stewardship decisions made by the agencies managing the public land. Say: “Different public lands may be managed in different ways so current and future generations can enjoy them.”
- Hand out Wyoming Visitor Statistic data sheet. Ask students: “What do you notice? Do you see any surprising information in the data? Is management of these areas important for future generations?” “How might business and private property owners be affected by the increase of the number of visitors to Wyoming?”
- Ask: “How do you think Yellowstone will look 100 years from now?” Encourage students to explore ideas relating to ownership and management of public lands.
SynthesisIn this task, students will be engaged in the higher order thinking skill of synthesis by predicting how Yellowstone will look in the future.
- Have students take a blank sheet of paper and fold it in half. On the left-hand side of the paper, students will draw an illustration to predict the future of Yellowstone. They will use information from the Wyoming Historical Places: Then and Now PowerPoint and the Wyoming Visitor Statistic data sheet.
- Say: “Under your picture, write a caption that supports the idea that we are stewards entrusted with the responsible development, care, and use of our public lands to benefit current and future generations.”
- On the other half sheet of paper repeat the procedure for Fort Laramie.
SynthesisIn this task, students will be engaged in the higher order thinking skill of synthesis by predicting how Ft. Laramie will look in the future.
- Lead a discussion with students as they compare both Fort Laramie and Yellowstone and their predictions for the future.
- How do your pictures compare to other students?
- How might stewardship for future generations be the same or different in Yellowstone and Fort Laramie?
As a check for understanding, look for the following: Illustrations that show the change in public lands. Look for captions that demonstrate an understanding of how and why outdoor recreation and tourism may change. Look for knowledge that the change can be affected by good stewardship of our Wyoming lands.
- Say: “Today, we are going to take a look at Wyoming’s outdoor recreation and tourism through two lenses: a cultural lens and an economic lens. First, let’s talk about culture. Culture is defined as a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization.” Make a t-chart that will be used to quickly brainstorm student responses about the culture of Wyoming compared to Hawaii’s culture. Ask: “What do you think of when you think of Hawaii?” Record student response on t-chart. “What do you think of when you think of Wyoming?” Record student responses on t-chart. “How do the responses on our chart relate to our definition of culture?”
- Hand out the History of Wyoming’s Public Lands text (from Lesson 1) which links the culture of Wyoming to public lands and re-read it. Say: “Culture has a great impact on Wyoming’s use of the land. Let’s think back to our definition of culture. It says culture can be a way of thinking. What does the text say about how people view our lands?” Students might name that people appreciate the natural wonders and wide-open spaces of Wyoming. “Culture can also be a way of behaving. What examples do you see in the text?” Students might name some examples of activities (hunting, fishing, sightseeing) and/or that people work to conserve resources. “How did the early development of Wyoming’s public lands support the development of our current culture and way of thinking about the land?”
- Say: “Now, we will think about the economic lens. The word economy refers to financial systems. Wyoming’s tourism industry has an impact on our economy and culture. Visitors come from all around the world to experience our open-spaces, landscapes, and western way of life.”
- “Think about this, in 2016, National Park visitors in Wyoming spent $945.3 million in local regions, which supported 13.4 thousand jobs, $392.1 million in labor income, and $1.2 billion in economic output in the Wyoming economy.” (Source 1)
- “According to the National Park Service, 498,000 people visited Devil’s Tower National Monument in 2016.” (Source 2)
- “These tourists spent $39,646,100 in the local communities.” (Source 2)
- “This money supported 500 jobs in the community.” (Source 2)
- “For every $1 spent at the National Park, $10 is spent in the community.” (Source 1)
- Say: “We’re going to participate in an activity to explore how outdoor recreation and tourism can play a role in Wyoming’s economy.” Introduce the activity Pass the Buck to the class. Display a container full of chips (counters or blocks) representing potential revenue from public lands. Say: “We earn revenue from entrance fees and tourist activities on and around public lands. This container represents the potential revenue (income) generated by outdoor recreation and tourism. We are going to play a game to reflect potential revenue in the small community surrounding Devil’s Tower.”
- Select one student to represent each of the following groups:
- National Park Service (federal government)
- gas station
- souvenir shop
- Select 3 – 5 students to be the family to actually “pay” (give chips) to the student representative of the above-mentioned groups. Say: “The chips (counters or blocks) will represent the potential revenue (income or money made) in the small community.” Each chip represents $5.00 in US Currency.
- Say: “Imagine a family on vacation in a van. The kids are hungry, and the parents are tired.” Have all family members come to the front of the class. Say: “They approach the entrance to Devil’s Tower. They pay the $15 entrance fee to the National Park Service to get into the park.” Take 3 chips (etc.) out of the container and give them to the National Park Service representative.
- Say: “After hiking around Devil’s Tower and spending some time browsing the gift shop, the family loads up and heads to Hulett to find a place to eat dinner and stay the night. On the way, they stop at a local souvenir shop. After buying souvenirs, the family pays the shop owner $60.” Take 12 chips (etc.) out of the container and give them to the souvenir shop representative.
- Say: “The family enjoys a delicious dinner at a local restaurant and pays their bill of $45.” Take 9 chips out of the container and give them to restaurant representative.
- Say: “Heading down the road, the family swings into a local gas station and fills up their gas tank for $30.” Take 6 chips out of the container and give them to the gas station representative.
- Say: “The family finds a great deal on a hotel room and checks into their hotel for $100.” Take 20 chips out of the container and give them to the hotel representative.
- Say: “The family continues on their way after checking out of their hotel the next morning.” Ask: “How much money did the family spend getting into the park?” $15 “How much money did the family spend in the community during this trip?” $235
Provide time for students to calculate the total amount of money given to community representatives.
- Say: “Where was most of the family’s money spent?” In the community surrounding the park. “What do you infer about tourism and its effect on the community?” Accept reasonable student answers.
- Ask the following questions to the whole class, and give students time to discuss them:
- “What do you think each shop owner will do with the money they get from tourists?”
- “Assuming that the family has the same amount of money to spend on this trip, what happens if the National Parks raise their entrance fees, and the family has to pay more to get into the park?” They will have less money to spend in the community.
- “What happens if less people decide to visit the park or spend less money at the souvenir shops, restaurants, and hotels?” The community loses revenue, people could lose jobs, stores could close, etc.
- “What happens if our public lands aren’t managed well, and visitors decide it isn’t worth the visit?” The community loses revenue, people could lose jobs, stores could close, etc.
- “Alternately, what happens if our lands are managed really well, and people enjoy visiting and return again and again?” The community gains more revenue, there are more jobs, more businesses can open, etc.
- “What can business owners do to encourage money be spent in their businesses?” Many communities have capitalized on tourists being drawn to the western culture and way of life. They create opportunities for tourists based on that culture.
- “Can you think of any examples of what our community does to capitalize on tourism?” Write responses on the board. Examples might be: special events, recreational opportunities, or products
- “Which of these examples do you think are unique to Wyoming or our area?”
- “Would any of these examples help the Devil’s Tower community encourage tourism?” Direct the conversation to the different recreation, relaxation, and learning opportunities associated with our public lands. Some ideas are: offer fishing or hunting services to the family traveling, hiking, bird watching, educational tours of the area, horseback riding, etc.
At this point, it should be obvious that the community is earning much more from this family than what was paid through the admission fee to the park.
Assessment: Hand out the Cause and Effect worksheets. Students complete the Cause and Effect worksheets to show understanding of the relationship between outdoor recreation and tourism and our economy and culture. Review student cause and effect charts to check for student understanding.
- National Park Service. (2017, April 21). Grand Teton National Park is Significant Economic Driver for Local and Regional Economies. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/news/grand-teton-national-park-is-significant-economic-driver-for-local-and-regional-economies.htm
- Oil City News. (n.d.). Devil’s Tower Proposes Fee Increase. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://oilcitywyo.com/outdoors/2017/07/03/devils-tower-proposes-fee-increase-070317/
- KWGN: Cheyenne. (2016, April 21). Wyoming’s national park tourism creates $1.1 billion economic benefit. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://www.kgwn.tv/home/headlines/Wyomings-national-park-tourism-creates-11-billion-economic-benefit-376618651.html
- National Park Service. (n.d.). Visitor Spending Effects – Economic Contributions of National Park Visitor Spending. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm
- Photo credits for the Wyoming Historical Places: Then and Now are listed in the Power Point.
- National Park Service. 2018 Statistical Abstract. Retrieved July 10, 2019. https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/downloadfile/620857
- National Park Service. 1975 Statistical Abstract. Retrieved July 10, 2019 https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/downloadfile/2189195