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W.Va. studenys soliciting science items from states

June 22, 2003

CROSS LANES, W.Va. - What do a New Mexico chili pepper and a 450 million-year-old rock from Connecticut have in common?

Tyler Alternative Middle School students have collected these items and more during a special project.

Students at the Tyler Mountain area school sent e-mail messages to government officials in all 50 states requesting science treasures. So far, the classes have received packages from 23 states.

Science teacher Marcia Anderson said she came up with the idea after visiting another school.

"They were collecting postcards, but everyone does postcards," she said. "We wanted to try something different."

In response, Anderson designed a program for her students to gather items from around the nation. Since then, the packages have rolled in.

The students have collected everything from water from Lake Michigan and ash from Mount St. Helens to Vidalia onions from Georgia and a beaver stick from Vermont.

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Anderson is pleased with the scientific endeavor, which she said has increased student involvement with learning.

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