Friday, January 22, 2010

Geography Bee

Quick, what's the capital of the United States?  Everyone probably got that one pretty easily.  (Washington, DC, if you had any doubts). 

How about this one:  What empire, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to Eastern Europe during its zenith in the 13th century A.D., used the ancient city of Karakorum as its headquarters?  Well, if you were a middle school student participating in the 2010 National Geographic Geography Bee, you might just be expected to identify that empire.  For those of you who don't know, it is the Mongol Empire.  (Don't worry, if I didn't have the answer key I probably wouldn't have known it either.)

Thanks to the efforts of sixth grade social studies teacher Jessica Miller, Woodglen's sixth, seventh and eighth graders have an opportunity to participate in the Geography Bee annually. This year, our students participated in the 22nd annual National Geographic Bee which was sponsored by Google.  The process is quite extensive as students begin with a qualifying test before moving on to the school-wide bee.  Thirty-seven students qualified for the school level bee, a number which included 16 sixth graders.  These students were asked a series of questions to answer orally and the field was narrowed to nine.  The questioning continued until four students earned spots in the semi-finals:  Kaya Cousin, Philip Dacey, Connor Heft and Andrea Jindracek.

What does it take to win the geography bee?  Well, it helps to be able to answer following:
  1. In which African country, founded by freed American slaves, is mask-making an art form often related to social status?
  2. A North African country, with coastlines on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, allocates about 20 percent of its budget to state-sponsored education.  Name this country.
  3. Which country is the world's leading producer of silver?
  4. Founded as the southern terminus of a railroad line to Chattanooga, Tennessee, what city is now the major transportation center for the Southeast region?
  5. What large body of water separates the Delmarva Peninsula from the southern part of New Jersey?
In the end, Woodglen is proud to announce that Andrea Jindracek is the 2010 School Geography Bee Champion.  Our runner-up, who also deserves accolades, is Connor Heft.  Andrea now moves on to take a qualifying test to determine whether or not she moves forward to the State Bee.  Only 100 students state-wide qualify for this level of participation.  Last year, Andrea not only won the school be, but moved on to state-level competition.  State Bee winners then move on to the National Finals, which are held in Washington, DC.

I want to congratulate our four semi-finalists, and wish Andrea the best as she goes forward in the competition.  The staff and students of Woodglen are proud to have such an outstanding representative.

Oh, by the way, in case you were looking for the answers to the questions above, and I know you were,
  1. Liberia
  2. Morocco
  3. Peru
  4. Atlanta, Georgia
  5. Delaware Bay (if you said Delaware River, you were incorrect, sorry!)
Link to the National Geography Bee Website

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