The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A History Map on a Classroom Floor

A History Map on a Classroom Floor

At the annual meeting of the Wyoming Historical Society this month in Wheatland, we bumped into historian and Wheatland Middle School teacher Mary Jo Birt. We were happy to see her; year after year Birt’s students do very well in Wyoming History Day competitions and she’s always full of new teaching ideas.

She showed us a photo, below, of her 7th graders standing behind a Wyoming map that took up most of the floor of their classroom. On the map were many 3-D objects, but it was hard to tell just what they were. Later, she sent along some notes:

“Inspired by Grace Raymond Hebard and fueled by resources like the new interactive map of the state’s historical markers, students choose a marker and research the information behind it. They then place 3-D models they’ve made of the markers on the large Wyoming map. The map is available throughout the state—the Wyoming Geographic Alliance at the University of Wyoming provided them to various districts—and the students were READY for some ‘Sock Hoppin' Historical Fun.’”

Using books and online resources including wyohistory.orgwaymarking.com, the Legends of America pages on the Indian Wars and Wyoming Tales and Trails, Birt explained, students learn to research and cite their sources. She instructed them as follows:

  • “Sign up for a Wyoming historic marker! The marker you create needs to support your research on this historic place/event. 
  • “Icons should be representative of the place/event and should be 3-D, between the size of your hand and your foot.  Print and attach the text of the sign to the marker.
  • “Research will be done during class. You will need to gather information about your place/event.  Remember: LOCATION—DATE—PEOPLE—FACTS. Make sure that you give detailed facts. Remember, you are the expert. You will need to use at least one informational resource for research in addition to what it says on the sign. You may add a photograph to your sign tag.”

Birt is also a historian and writer. Click here to read her article on the Wyoming suffragist and orator Theresa Jenkins

And with school started and the air cooling and clearing this fall, we urge teachers and students of all ages to check out the resources on our Education page, linked below. Lesson plans are also linked to detailed information on which state standards they address.

See https://www.wyohistory.org/education