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Students learn about the states

Kari Lucin/Daily Globe Fourth-grader Nick Weg, of Worthington, tells Jill Hinsperger of Rushmore about his project on the state of Wyoming.

WORTHINGTON -- Visitors to Worthington Christian School took a virtual tour of the United States Friday morning, as each student presented a project about one of the 50 states for an audience of family and friends.

"Yellowstone got burned down in 1988," said Nick Weg, a fourth-grade student whose three-panel presentation on Wyoming included facts about Yellowstone Park. "Old Faithful blows up every 94 minutes."

The poster part of his project included Wyoming's state song, "Wyoming Song," its state tree, the cottonwood, and its state nickname, "Equality State."

Weg chose to study Wyoming because his family visits the state for snowmobiling vacations in the winter. He started going there when he was in kindergarten with his parents, Gene and Jenni Weg, and brother, Jacob Weg, 14.

The 15 students whose projects graced the gym Friday all studied the United States as part of their social studies curriculum. Their teacher, Annette Bosma, had seen students offer similar presentations elsewhere, and last year, students worked on country-specific projects.

"They do a states test -- they have to know all 50 states, and then they get to pick their favorite" for a project, Bosma said.

It was the students' last social studies grade of the year, and they were graded on their displays as well as their interactions with visitors.

Fourth-grader Isaac Habben, son of Heather and Galen Habben of Sibley, Iowa, chose to study California for his project because his mother grew up there.

"The state insect is a dog-faced butterfly," Habben said. "I thought that was kind of cool."

Marissa Eekhoff, a third-grade student and the daughter of Lori and Ryan Eekhoff of Bigelow, presented the state of Hawaii. Her parents had visited the state and she also enjoyed a movie about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

She learned the names of all the islands, including the largest, Hawaii, and Oahu, where Honolulu and Pearl Harbor are located. Eekhoff also gave out pineapple samples and showed a platter her parents had received as a welcome gift when they visited Hawaii, as well as a coconut purse and a Hawaiian lacquered box.

The 15 students had worked on their projects for about three weeks, working on the poster portion at school and a written report at home. Their biggest challenge was deciding which information to display on their poster boards -- what was important and what could be left off.

"I was super happy with how hard they worked and they took ownership of it," Bosma said. "They worked super hard."