Middle school students lobby for state rock

Eighth graders propose a bill to make the meteorite the official state rock


By Photo contributed by Amy Hanna

Eighth grade Explorers at Monticello Trails Middle School, along with their science teacher Amy Hanna, Facetime interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey Rex Buchanan, talking about the process of passing the bill on Thursday, Jan. 15.

Nick Booth, Grace Van Inwegen, JagWire news editor, JagWire reporter

Kansas could soon have an official state rock if eighth grade students at Monticello Trails Middle School get their way. The students have proposed a bill that would make the meteorite the state rock of Kansas. The bill, HB 2327, and was introduced on Feb. 12. The bill could not be presented at the latest session of the state legislature; the students were told there was not enough time to present their case.

MTMS Science teacher Amy Hanna came up with the idea for the state rock project when eighth grader Adam Burke was doing a geology project.

“Adam had done a project on geodes and this project stated that geodes [are] the Iowa state rock and I was like, ‘What is our state rock?’ Well, we didn’t have one,” Hanna said.  “That is where I though we need to do this somehow. The higher-ups tell us we have to do cross-curricular and I thought this would be perfect because I would just need all the team’s help to accomplish it.”

According to the students, the entire eighth grade class was mobilized to accomplish the project. In their math classes, the students computed how many meteorites Kansas had per square mile. In social studies, they learned about the process a bill goes through to become a law and in communication arts, they wrote out the bill. In the science classes, the students researched meteorites.

Now, seven eight grade students are continuing work on the project: Burke, Alyssa Cosmillo, Tyler Hilk, Marrah Shulda, Christopher Sprenger, Jordan Teufel and Ryan Williams.

The bill was originally sponsored by Kansas Representative Brett Hildabrand, but is now sponsored by Kansas Representative Tom Sloan due to a death in Hildabrand’s family.

The students also said that Kansas has the most meteorites per square mile, distinguishing it from other states.

Eighth grader Ryan Williams is excited about the project because it makes the state more unique.

“Well it really puts us on the map, geologically,” Williams said. “We have the most meteorites per square mile, and we almost have the most in the nation.”

Despite some of the complications, Hanna remains optimistic.

“We have no idea where it is going to go right now but we have people that are talking about it and trying to get it out there,” Hanna said. “We’re not done squeaking our wheels yet.”

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