8th Grader knowledge of geography

Old Jan 7th, 2007, 05:39 AM
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We went to the State Finals last year and I was surprised by the questions and answers. I know that, had the Fodorites been there, too, all questions would have been answered correctly. However, Fodorites would be severely handicapped because answers must be given in 15 seconds without consultation. LOL.

If you wish, here are some of the old GeoBee questions. Please, no checking the Wikipedia or peeking in the atlas please. Remember the final 10 contestants were 5th to 8th graders and they donít share your travel knowledge and expertise.

1. The Tuscan and Umbrian are regional dialects in which European country? -- This question is for LoveItaly.
2. The Isle Royale National Park, known for its excellent fishing sites, is located in Lake Superior, in which state? -- Okay, this is for NeoPatrick.
3. Yucca Mountain, a proposed center for the deposition of nuclear waster, is located in what state? -- This is for Budman perhaps.
4. In the Northern Hemisphere, what season begins when the sun is directly over the Tropic of the Capricorn? -- NeilOz should appreciate this one.

Free for all.
5. Siam is to Thailand as the Malagasy Republic is to what?
6. Genoa is to the Ligurian Sea as Varna is to what?
7. The Pantanal, one of the worldís largest freshwater wetlands, is an immense landlocked river delta that extends to parts of Brazil, Bolivia and which other country?
8. The Gulf of Tonkin separates the Chinese island of Hainan from what country?
9. The islands of Aruba and Bonaire lie off the coast of which South American country?
10. What landlocked West African country was formerly known as French Sudan?
Bonus Question. Amharic is the official language of which landlocked African country?

BTW, I agree with JJ5ís view on education, vegasnativeís view on math (please donít get me started on this...) and nytravelerís and christy1ís opinion that parents should ensure that kids get a good education.

And Wednesday,
Iím also fascinated by those gadgets. I bought a talking geoglobe one year. Pretext: Santaís gift for my little one. Context: I enjoy playing it, too.

Have a good weekend.
packmule is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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I did pretty well on those, packmule, drawing a few blanks, but I'm still scratching my head as to why the Lake Superior fishing thing relates to me?
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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I apologize NeoPatrick. I just wanted to include you as you mentioned that you were good in US Geography a couple of posts back. I didnít mean anything.

The Varna, Pantagonal, Yucca Mtns, Malagasy Republic, and Amharic all stumped me.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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schmerl--Maybe I should have been more specific. I am not blaming teachers or prinicipals at all. I am saying that if we don't like what is being taught in the schools then we need to be proactive to change it. So take it up the chain of command, so to speak.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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OK, packmule, I was really working on that one. Thought maybe you had my origins mixed with someone else. Now I see that "Lake Superior" somehow related to my "Superior" intelligence? LOL.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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With all due respect scherml, geography (and other subjects) were not front and center before NCLB.

Not that I am a fan at of NCLB (understatement). Under this, all districts have to provide remedial classes for those students testing below proficient in reading and math.

In my district, any remediation usually meant dumping all kids with all sorts of different learning disabilities into the same class with a common curriculum not individually suited to any of their needs. Not surprisingly, they weren't very successful in helping anyone.

I asked about the NCLB remedial classes. I think it's even worse - they are teaching not reading or math, but TEST TAKING STRATEGIES to help kids take the tests! A perfect example of style over substance.

I am one of those parents who take an active role in their kids education. I pick up the slack and hire privately where and when I see a need. There is only so much individuals can do to change a beaurocracy as deeply entrenched as a school system; parents do need to take things into their own hands.

I am upset that in a day in age when our kids LIVE in front of the computer, our district no longer teachers keyboarding. When asked, teachers tell me that my kids are very proficient in hunting and pecking, as if that's a good thing. Oh, also, handwriting is not important, they tell me. It is very frustrating. But I am sure that keyboarding was eliminated to make way for more teaching to the standardized tests.
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Old Jan 12th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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In the 5th grade, I did a good job of learning all the US State Capitals, as did just about everyone else in my class. The reason is we were all given posterboard and an assignment of making a map of the USA complete with state capitals. The assignment was weighted heavily in determining our final grade for the term.
The teacher also quized us every day for about two weeks.
I ended up loving geography because of this fun assignment.

I've made an interactive map that makes a game out of learning the US State Capitals, if anyone wants to use it for teaching (or to test your own memories...lol)..
You can find it at www.hotelmapsusa.com/us/state_capitals.html
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Old Jan 12th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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If you try the US State Capitals map, one of the nice features is that you can ZOOM IN to actually see state capitol buildings in satellite mode. In some capital cities, the view of the capitol building is better than others.
I would like to improve the maps, so if anyone has suggestions that are not terribly technical, please let me know.
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Old Jan 12th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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I'm sorry - I don;t buy the teach to the test issue. The test - to my understadning - is simply testing if the kids are at grade level in reading and math.

And - in any reasonable school district - I can;t think of any reason why almost all kids (unless slow or not english speaking) shouldn;t be at grade level in both from the basic curriculum. These are the most simple things these kids should be learning - and the curriculum should be tremendously more comprehensive than this.

By fourth or eigth grade we all learned the reading and math we were suppposed to - as well as social studies (geography), science, art, music - and from 6th grade on the basics of a foreign language.

Any normally intelligent child can master all of this given encouragement, good teaching and parents who at least do the basics so the kids are ready for school. (Doing the basics means reading to the child, teaching letters, numbers, colors, animals etc - all the things that any caring parent does in playing with a small child.)

The issue of children with learning disabilities is separate (although my brother was mildly dyslexic - which no one figured out until he had problems learning a foreigh language).

And the issue of children with no (or no effective) parents is obvsiouy a separate one (schools can;t fix what was broken 5 years before they saw the child).

And I know the issue in a lot of places is money. (A friend of mine gave up teaching because she couldn;t continue to provide so many class materisl out of her own pocket.) But if we, as a country, decided education was important we would be willing to put our tax money towards it - rather than a war helping no one, or massive tax cuts for the rich.
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Old Jan 13th, 2007, 04:48 AM
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While in high school and college I spent a great deal of time on studying the geography of the world. Now I look at a globe and the names of the cities and countries have changed, the national boundaries are nowhere near where they were when I studied them and only the mountain ranges and rives are the same. How much time did I waste memorizing all those that could have been spent on something else?
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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You didn't "waste" time memorizing, you have CONTEXT now of what came before etc. That's the gist of the entire problem. You don't value the information itself also.

I totally agree to the letter with nytravelers entire post except for the last paragraph. I think education should be totally taken OUT of the governmental and put into private enterprise/ private sectors and personal choice. Also I think that the basis funding for most education should be totally different, within different base taxation, than the way it is handled throughout much of the world today.

I want Federal governments to do only the basics, and in the USA case only the basics listed upon consolidation of the Union. Solvent money, security of property and persons, safety of food distribution etc. Since the 1950's the regulations and standarizations re schooling have killed the quality of education overall. NCLB is a generalized bureaucratic atrocious anomaly. All it does is cut down existing, waste time, and replace nothing with less than nothing.

If I have time I will find and post a link on this thread to an Eighth Grade test from the 1800's and you'll understand about context. Difficult, difficult with only essay answers (even with math) that require cross-disciplines and huge contexts of subject depth. No visuals, no yes/no, nothing with multiple answers, nothing with the premise laid out flat. You needed to work to train your own thinking processes. That's what education is. It is not DONE to you or for you.
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