FDMS TAG Students Compete in Iowa Quiz Bowl - from The Messenger
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS firstname.lastname@example.org
FortDodgeMiddle School's Talented and Gift- ed students have completed the Iowa's Thinking Quiz Bowl.
Seventy-five students from four grades participat- ed, including seven TAG students on the fifth-grade team, 20 on the sixth-grade team, and 24 in both the sev- enth- and eighth-grade teams.
Students are given a quiz of 100 questions, and 60 seconds to answer each one.
"It can range from any- thing to nursery rhymes and grammar and punctuation and spelling, to science, three-step math problem solving, geography, history. This year, there was a lot of constitutional history in- volved," Diane Pratt, Fort
Dodge schools TAG coordi- nator, said.
The quiz tests students on their basic knowledge of many subjects.
"That's what makes it hard. Because there's no one thing you can study, unlike if you go to science bowl or some other competitions," Pratt said. "We have to rely on the individual knowledge of the kids."
Each TAG student comes to the quiz with their own "pockets of knowledge or expertise," Pratt said.
"But this really tests that as a group, because some- times we miss those pockets of expertise, because we don't know what to study for," she said.
They're not allowed to use maps, calculators or their phones, either.
"They can't use anything. It all has to come from their
brains," Pratt said. Students from different
classes made up the single grade teams. Because of scheduling conflicts, they're not always able to practice together as a team.
"We practice as an indi- vidual class period, but not all together," Pratt said. "The day we compete is the first time all of those kids, that team becomes a team. While they know each other, they haven't had the oppor- tunity to practice or work to- gether necessarily."
This obstacle can affect performance.
"The rule we go by is, if you really know the answer, you're positive, you just shout out the answer," Pratt said. "Sometimes the kids will shout out answers they didn't really know ... before someone who really did know."
The teams practice using quizzes from previous years. "It helps us see where some of our weaknesses
are," Pratt said.
On Tuesday, the eighth- grade team took the quiz, and the seventh-grade team completed the competition on Thursday.
The fifth- and sixth-grade teams competed the week before, finishing at 14th and 23rd in the state, respective- ly, each scoring just under 1,000 points out of a possi- ble 1,500 score.
"It's a little lower than what we wanted, but it's still in the top half of both of those groups."
The seventh- and eighth- grade teams each scored more than 1,000 points, but rankings will not be avail- able until later this week.
Pratt said she was proud of her students.
"I thought both of the quizzes were really hard this year, had some really in- depth questions and they found some of our vulnera- ble spots, too," she said.
The national quiz bowl competition, America's An- swers, takes place in the spring.