50states.com: States and Capitals

Name:50states.com: States and Capitals

Brief Description of the Site:
Who knew, except perhaps for Kentuckians and Nevadans, that the capital of Kentucky was Frankfort and that the capital of Nevada was neither Reno nor Las Vegas but relatively tiny Carson City? But this site, which should be book-marked in your “Reference†folder, provides more than just what its name implies. Clicking on the folder for a particular state produces an alphabetical list of categories, from “Admission to Statehood†through “Largest Cities†and up to and including the White and Yellow Pages. Most of the entries following each category are hot links. Clicking on 108th Congress after House of Representatives brings up, after some fiddling, a list of that state’s current House members. Clicking on the number following “Population†brings up a U.S. Census Bureau page contrasting that particular state’s statistics with the national averages. Probably the strangest category is “Permanent Residents,†which leads to a page for that state on the “Find a Grave†site. Following this link for the state of Missouri, for example, reveals that among the 1,596 ‘permanent’ Missouri residents are the country music star Boxcar Willie and some poor fellow who was killed in the not-quite-famous Gasconade Bridge disaster of November, 1855 as well as the much-better-known Harry S. Truman, 33d President of the United States. Other information includes the Official State Song, complete with lyrics, and the derivation of the state’s name. Missouri is “named after Missouri Indian tribe whose name means ‘town of the large canoes’."

How to use the site:
The mundane: for researching all those arcane facts that hopefully no teachers still require their students to memorize but which are necessary for reports of various kinds. Students first beginning to do research will find the simpler data, such as the color photo and explanation of each state’s flag helpful, or perhaps the clickable links for State Flower and State Bird, a rewarding experience. Another possibility is to create comparisons/contrasts of data for selected states. The creative: those who have a class of ‘creative souls yearning to breathe free’ should direct them here with these instructions: “Form a team and use this site and the power of the Web to put together a truly awesome, original, and creative presentation about the state of your choice, going as deeply as you can into the details of the place without boring us. And be sure you include material from the “Permanent Residents†category.â€

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