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.”