No April Fool, I was at the State level competition of the National Geography Bee today. Although admittedly I was witnessing top students, it was encouraging to see these kids’ familiarity with our world and their facile command of its facts. We were honored to have our daughter participate at this level!
Our daughter missed a question about rubber production (whose answer was Vietnam) and did not move up to the final round. However, we did know the answers to the questions in the final round, and agreed with others that they had saved the harder questions for earlier in the process, which is the opposite of what you’d expect.
You never know what they will ask about. There were no weather or biome questions as expected. Today they had rounds which asked about the following topics among others: current events, rivers, state boundaries, tunnels, airport abbreviations, Native American tribes, economies, industries, natural disasters, and endangered species. For example in the last category, my daughter answered correctly a question about an endangered blue butterfly, whose answer was Wisconsin.
Overwhelmingly, the contestants were boys. Only 15% were girls. Someone said a girl has never won the Connecticut Geography Bee. We heard that the girl/boy ratios are the opposite for the Spelling Bee, which has a much higher profile and significantly larger prize money. Also interesting was the fact that there was a wide range of ethnicities represented, but no African Americans.
Even though he knew his stuff well, we felt sorry for the boy who won because his parents were such oppressively obnoxious helicopter parents. We had not obsessed about this at all; our daughter was involved in this because she thought it was fun to see what she knew. We had a conflict with the National Bee in Washington anyway; it is scheduled for the same time that this daughter is already competing in the Destination ImagiNation Global competition. She’s not sorry she doesn’t have to make a tough choice between the two activities. And she got a scrumptious, celebratory shrimp scampi dinner out of the deal!