I've told a tale of the massive research failure that occurs with my States Project before.
I get this all the time. Once, one student was convinced that Nebraska had no roads, for example.
However, one term, the research errors just kept piling up on top of one another to form a really odd alternate reality United States.
It all started with Ohio. The only large city in Ohio was Columbus. However, lots of people would visit Ohio to go hiking in its beautiful Ozark Mountains.
I chuckled to myself. I mean, if the Ozarks were now in Ohio... what about Arkansas?
I got my answer a little later, when I discovered that the Grand Canyon was now in Arkansas.
You'd think that this would upset Arizona, but Arizona was now "covered with forests and inland lakes ideal for family camping and hiking adventures."
I have no idea where Arizona got these from.
And even when students got their facts right, pronunciation could screw them up.
While all the above was happening, the student who had New Mexico decided to talk about the Apaches. Unfortunately, she did not know how to pronounce "Apache", and, for whatever reason, did not ask me. So, she did that thing that students do sometimes when they pronounce the word every way they can think of and hope that it's right once.
So, she said "Apeach", "Apaich", "Apitch", and, of course, my favorite, the French branch of the tribe, the Apashay... who I am sure looked FABULOUS on horseback.
And the student who had South Dakota kept mentioning the Sioux in her write-ups. Now, I read that they prefer to be called "Lakota" or "Dakota", and I kept including that in my comments to the student. As a result, it never occurred to me to see if she she could pronounce "Sioux".
So when this student said "The Sucks Indians wandered all over the Great Plains." I was horrified.
Meantime, the student who had Kansas talked about "The wheat fields of Kansas". Unfortunately, she weakened the /t/ in "wheat", so it sounded more like "weed fields of Kansas".
If she had only said it once or twice, I wouldn't have noticed. Alas, she said it a lot.
Then she said, "And the Bee-zhoan are native to Kansas."
I had no idea what she was talking about. All I could think was, "I've studied American history. I know the major Native American tribes. Who the Hell are the Bee-zhoan?"
"The Bee-zhoan live in a park in the Northwest corner of Kansas", she continued.
"Oh my God!" I thought to myself, "She means BISON!"
After the semester was over, I realized that all of this could be condensed into a narrative:
In the alternate universe United States that my students have created, before the coming of the White Man, the Sucks Indians roamed the Great Plains, which stretched from the Ozark Mountains of Ohio down to the Grand Canyon of Arkansas all the way out west through the weed fields of Kansas to the vast forests and inland lakes of Arizona. On those Great Plains, the Sucks Indians hunted the bee-zhoan and fought with the Apashays, when they came north through what is now New Mexico.
Now, I can't do this every semester. Normally, the various errors don't coalesce this easily. But this particular term was special.