Ames Elementary School Quiz Bowl


Quiz Bowl

This last Thursday marked the first annual Ames Elementary School Quiz Bowl competition. Teams from Fellows, Meeker, Edwards, Sawyer and Kate Mitchell competed in teams of eight answering a variety of trivia questions from topics such as, science, geography, history, english and math. When I first began this program two years ago, one of my goals was to be able to create this district wide tournament. In its first year, the elementary quiz bowl program was a prototype that I tested at two schools, Edwards and Sawyer. Starting at a smaller level was an excellent idea as it allowed me to learn more about the depths of the children’s knowledge and the type of leadership and coordination needed to coordinate a district-wide program. Following the end of last year, I was able to enlist the help of fellow Ames High student Conor Burke-Smith. Throughout this year, we went to each of the five elementary schools and organized quiz bowl games several times, splitting the students into teams and keeping records of their wins and losses. The students’ performance decided which teams would attend the final tournament; the top team from each school was invited, as well as the next three highest-scoring teams from all schools. This allowed for some friendly inter-school competition, as well as allowing the kids to compete with kids from other schools in the area. One of the most important things an education system can teach children is the love of learning. A student could be equipped with the best resources in the world, but if he or she doesn’t have a desire to explore learning, then only the minimum amount will be learned. A student excited and willing to learn will undoubtedly end up getting more out of the experience. The extended learning program through the Ames school district provides the perfect launch point for activities that help students get excited about learning. A showcase for the students to use and show off their knowledge, such as quiz bowl, will excite them to learn more. This isn’t just because they want to perform better in the next round, it’s also because they find out how much they don’t know. A competition also fosters the growth of team unity and collaboration skills amongst the students. The quiz bowl competition showed some great examples of children enjoying learning. It was a privilege to have created something that fourth and fifth graders were so willing to invest time into. Some of our best memories from this year will come from remembering highly contested games or marveling at the ability of students to answer questions that middle schoolers and high schoolers would struggle with. Elementary School Quiz Bowl will certainly continue in the coming years. Thanks to Nicole Kuhns, Ariane Schmidt, Beth Johnson and Linda Telleen-Martens for helping us work through the logistical aspect of this and coordinating all the participation.