Geography Bee – or Are You Smarter Than an Eighth Grader?

Today was the National Geographic State Geography Bee, and for the third year in a row, Matthew got to go. Even getting to the state bee itself is quite an accomplishment as it means you’ve won the competition at your middle school, then taken the test that all school winners take, and are selected as one of the top 100 kids in the state. Matthew has always been a huge fan of geography, and it’s been extremely gratifying to see him have success in this.

The first part of the state competition is the preliminaries where each contestant is asked 8 questions. The top 10 kids move on to the finals with a tie-breaker round used if necessary to get to the 10. This year, Matthew was one of 12 kids who got all eight of their preliminary round questions correct, so he went into the tie-breaker round. Although this was the second year in a row where it had happened, my understanding is that it’s more common that the tie breaker round consists of kids who got 7 of 8, with fewer than 10 kids typically getting all 8 right.

Matthew survived the tie-breaker round, getting both questions correct and moved on to the finals just as he had last year. Once there, his goal was just to improve on his position of last year (tied for fifth), and he did just that – this year tying for fourth in the state. Needless to say, we’re very proud of him.

The final round moved fast enough that I wasn’t able to get down all of Matthew’s questions, but I did manage to write down the ones he faced in the preliminaries and tie breaker round. So, how many would you have gotten right?

Preliminary round
1. Death Valley is located on border between California and which other state – Nevada or Illinois?

2. Which city is more populous – Indianapolis or Chicago?

3. Which country experiences colder winters – Cambodia or Mongolia.

4. Which island country is not in the Pacific – Samoa, Vanuatu, or Mauritius?

5. In October 2012, archeologists announced the discovery of Viking artifacts such as yarn and wet stones on Baffin Island in what North American country?

6. The syncretic religion of Santeria, also known as Regla de Ocha developed in this, the largest of the countries in the Greater Antilles. Name it.

7. From the 16th to the 18th century, Poland was united with what present day country whose capital city is Vilnius?

8. This capital city is the legislative capital and seat of parliament for South Africa and is overlooks the Table Bay. Name it.

And here are the tie breaker questions:

1. The Seikan Tunnel connects Hokkaido and Honshu in what island country?

2. Name the southernmost country in the Balkan Peninsula

geobee 1

geobee 2

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