April 28, 2011 in Washington Voices

Lewis and Clark proves its mettle at Knowledge Bowl

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Jackson Peven, left, sits in the moderator’s chair while his teammates guess at questions projected on a screen Tuesday at Lewis and Clark High School. The school’s Knowledge Bowl team did well at the state and international competitions and still meets for quiz sessions.
(Full-size photo)

The competition

Lewis and Clark High School placed 71st among 569 schools. In Washington, nine schools competed and LC placed second behind Lakeside (a private school in Seattle). LC placed fourth in the 4A state competition – the school’s highest finish since winning in 2006.

Sample Knowledge Bowl questions:

1. In recent years, some 3 million acres of western grazing land has become infested with …

A. kudzu; B. tamarisk; C. leafy spurge; D. water hyacinth; E. sargassum natans.

2. Which is not a member of the Nordic Council?
A. Ireland; B. Finland; C. Iceland; D. Norway; E. Denmark.

3. Which plant age is most recent?

A. age of protists; B. age of algal plants; C. age of angiosperms; D. age of gymnosperms; E. age of great Paleozoic forests.

4. What Democratic National Committee member was investigated in 1996 and 1997 for violating laws relating to raising campaign funds?
A. Roy Romer; B. John Huang; C. Aldrich Ames; D. George Stephanopoulos; E. Harold James Nicholson.

Answers: 1:C, 2:A, 3:C, 4:B.

Source: Knowledge Master website greatauk.com

There’s an abundance of trivia shows on TV these days, yet for some, a rotation among “Jeopardy!” “Cash Cab” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” simply isn’t enough – they must have more trivia questions.

These would be the students on Lewis and Clark High School’s Knowledge Bowl team. Not only did they place fourth in the state competition but as soon as that was over they immediately signed up for an international round called Knowledge Master Open, competing against teams from the United States, Costa Rica, Korea, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Among 569 schools the LC team placed 71st, a tiny bit disappointing for a team that hoped to be among the top 50, but this was the first time they competed in this particular division.

“It is interesting to note that all of the schools ahead of us have been involved in this competition for many years, most since 2007,” said teacher Dave Jackson about Lewis and Clark High School’s first international attempt. “We were the highest-scoring team of any that never before competed in this contest.”

It’s all done over the Internet from Jackson’s classroom at LC. The rules are almost the same as Knowledge Bowl: a question is read out loud, and as soon as the team of students agrees on an answer they hit a buzzer. If they answer correctly, they gain a point. During the international competition they could also gain extra points by answering right on first try and by answering the fastest.

The competition featured 200 questions which the students went through in less than two hours – it’s a fast-paced game.

“The joke is if it asks for a country, say France, and if that doesn’t work say Spain,” said Jacob Frederick, 16, but it’s really not that simple. This time around, questions spanned Deepwater Horizon, Justin Bieber and the Wisconsin Legislative lockout – many of which would stump a well-read adult.

Everyone on Jackson’s team agreed that the main reason they compete is that it’s fun.

And no, they don’t practice by watching “Jeopardy!” all the time.

And no, they don’t memorize the dictionary from one end to the other.

“Some of the information probably comes from the classes we take,” said Frederick, with a grin. “And you get used to the way they ask questions, but you have to be fast. We think it’s a great way to spend our time.”

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