From outside the Connors' huddle, their dad, Dave, could be heard agreeing that the rock is granite and the fish could be the striped bass.
Mike couldn't believe his younger brother knew more than he did. But Johnny wouldn't budge, and with a nod from dad, he once again recited his answers.
School-age children are often the force behind changing or creating state designations and, therefore, probably know them better than most residents.
The state fruit, the pumpkin, was the idea of the third- and fourth-graders at Wells Memorial Elementary School in Harrisville just last year. The students traveled to Concord to present reasons for legislators to pick the pumpkin, including the facts that the pumpkin is grown in all 10 counties, and that Keene holds the world record for lighting 30,000 pumpkins at one time. The students also came up with some potential ways the pumpkin could bring revenue to the state, always popular with legislators.
High-school students were behind the two-year push to designate the red-spotted newt as the state amphibian in 1985. The same went for supporting the ladybug in 1977 as the official state insect.
Local fourth-graders from the Timberlane Regional School District learned the symbols as part of their New Hampshire unit.
But without that elementary school background, Henry Stewart, 79, said he doesn't know how people would know the symbols.
The deer is an easy guess and so is skiing, but the Derry resident said he thought the ladybug and the pumpkin were too generic.
"I'm pretty sure they grow pumpkins and see ladybugs in other states," he said. "Why can't we be different in New Hampshire?"
But then again, he laughed, the purple finch is different. Stewart said he has never seen one before.
r Butterfly: Karner blue
r Animal: White-tailed deer
r Wildflower: Pink ladyslipper
r Flower: Purple lilac
r Rock: Granite
r Mineral: Beryl
r Insect: Ladybug