Which school hosted it’s first-ever Geography Bee, and the first Geography Bee in Davidson County Schools, in January 2018? Pickett Elementary or Hasty Elementary?
If you answered HASTY ELEMENTARY you are right! Six fourth and fifth grade students from Hasty competed in a 7-round competition in mid January. The winner will take an on-line test to see if she qualifies as one of the top 100 geographers in North Carolina in grades 4-8. If she qualifies, she will go to the state Geography Bee competition in Charlotte on April 6. Based on how well our winner performed in the school bee, there is a very good chance she will be in the state competition. The 60-minute test will be administered at school.
National Geographic coordinates the Geography Bee each year. Interested schools can register and pay the $120 fee in the fall. This year, the Davidson County Association of Educators was willing to pay for 5 elementary school registrations.
Materials are downloaded from the National Geographic website, including the questions for the preliminary and final school rounds. There are 35 questions available in each preliminary round. In these early rounds, students get the choice between 2 or 3 answers. For example, you might get a question that asks “The North Platte and South Platte Rivers meet in which state - New Mexico or Nebraska?” The correct answer, if you weren’t sure, was Nebraska.
Questions move from questions about the United States, to questions about physical geography (landforms, weather), to questions about the world. These include cultural as well as physical location questions.
How do students prepare for the test? That’s a tough question, and one we are still working to figure out. Basically, students should be able to physically locate all the US states, have a good command of the vocabulary needed for the fifth grade science test, and learn about major cities and all countries of the world. That’s a lot to do. But it’s fun! Our six students all hope to participate again next year. Logic and reasoning skills are just as useful in this competition as the names of the rivers in South Korea.
Having this first year under our belts, I feel much more ready to prepare students for next year’s bee. Our students want to have a geography club next year, after school, even while most move on to middle school! And several parents have expressed interest so we are doing a Geography Trivia as part of our next family night, and gauging interest in an adult Geo Bee.
Thanks to Rhonda Florence for this great blog post and her continued enthusiasm and leadership for geography education. If you would like to learn more about having a GeoBee at your school next year, please let her know!
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