Mississippi became the twentieth state in the United States in 1817. Its nickname is the Magnolia State, and its name comes from an Ojibwa phrase, misi sipi, meaning “great river.” Jackson is the state capital. The state ranks thirty-second in area and thirty-first in population. Hernando de Soto explored the area around 1540. The state water mammal is the porpoise. Children could visit an Internet site at: Mississippi. Children love to spell Mississippi. Conduct a spelling bee, using states as the category.