The Geography Bee; the Intellectual Olympics
Sep 19, 2011 (Updated Sep 20, 2011)
Review by Thomas Wikman
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Good preparation for Geography Bee, educational, concepts, fun trivia, 1,001 questions.
Cons:Somewhat outdated (2002), entirely focused on trivial Geography.
The Bottom Line: Knowing a sufficient amount of information and facts about the world, its countries, cultures, and religions, is becoming more important in our increasingly global world. Don’t be a Geography Dummy.
When my daughter was in fourth grade her class prepared for the Geography Bee (now she is in sixth grade). She did not get to the state level but she was close and she got sick. Also fourth graders and eight graders compete in the same Geography Bee. Just like the Spelling Bee the Geography Bee is about trivia, not academic Geography or the Science of Geography, or Cartography, etc. However, that does not mean it is unimportant.
Recommend this product?
When I was in middle school in Sweden the required subjects were Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Swedish, English, German, Art, PE, Social Sciences, Religion and Geography. In Geography we studied the world map, countries, borders, cultures, and some world history and economy, etc, basically trivial Geography. It was/is considered important that students understand and know about the world around them. I can add that I was the best in my class in Geography. It was my favorite subject.
Anyway, it appears that Geography does not have an as central place in American education, depending on the school, of course. As the world is becoming increasingly global that is going to have to change. A trivia based game like the Geography Bee is one way of getting kids interested in Geography.
The Geography Bee Complete Preparation Handbook
The "Geography Bee Complete Preparation Handbook" is one of a number of books that can be used to prepare for the Geography Bee. There are also on-line resources like http://mygeotrivia.com/. This book from 2002 may be getting somewhat dated. However, it was highly recommended by teachers and the administrators involved with the Geography Bee just one and a half years ago. Except for missing countries I did not find a single fact in this book that is still not true today. The date of the book should be taken into consideration though.
The first four chapters focuses on the Geography Bee, how to prepare for it, what kind of questions to expect, the selection process, former winners and winning questions, some very basic geography, etc. Chapter five is about the United States, mostly the states of the United States, and related facts (capitals, nick names, brief history, interesting facts, etc). There is also advice on how to memorize the various state related facts. Chapter six is a long chapter and includes sections on all countries that existed in 2002. A few countries are missing including, East Timor, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and South Sudan, and Yugoslavia (now Montenegro and Serbia) is gone.
Chapter seven are lists (like largest countries), chapter eight is terms like aquifer and doldrums, chapter nine tells us about resources to find out about current events and other items that the book is not up to date on. Chapter ten is a parents guide, chapter eleven a teachers guide, and then the remaining chapters (twelve to nineteen or about a third of the book) are 1,001 real Geography Bee questions. These questions should be asked verbally by someone else since the Geography Bee questions are presented verbally.
Geography Bees Buzzing Around
In 1987 when I arrived in the United States as an exchange student a girl asked me where I was from, and I said "Sweden". She said "Sweeting", what a cute name for a country. Another girl asked me if that is the country where the men wear skirts and I said "no that is Scotland". Yet another girl asked us if the drive from Sweden was very long. Apparently Geography was not a required subject in their middle school. Many Americans know Geography very well, while others do not know it at all. I understand why. Many people in the US consider Geography and foreign languages unimportant. That is old fashioned thinking that has to come to an end.
Therefore I was glad to find out that they actually put quite a bit of emphasis on Geography at my daughter's school. All the kids were required to try out for the Geography Bee and they studied Geography extensively using various Atlases, books, hands on projects, and by using on-line resources. I helped my daughter study for the Geography Bee using this book and I was surprised to find out how much she (and the other kids) knew. The kids knew about almost all of the countries and they knew of the major mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, islands, continental plates, and of course the continents and oceans. When I was in fourth grade I memorized all the capitals of the world, but that was nothing compared to what they learned.
I think this book prepares the students for the Geography Bee very well, except for the fact that some information is outdated and missing. However, the authors seem to have taken precautions for this scenario in the way they approach the topic. It was also quite fun to learn the facts and ask the questions, like a Trivial Pursuit game.
Even though the book can be useful for learning trivial Geography it is not a replacement for a text book in Geography or a class in Geography. I also found it tedious that all Geography Bee questions seem to have the same two-choice format. In summary the book is a decent complement to traditional Geography education but an excellent resource for preparing for the Geography Bee. Therefore I recommend this book to be used for preparation for the Geography Bee with a slight reservation because of the publish date.
Finally I would like to add this book to Jennifer Kate's Geography write-off as it is related to Geography. I would also like to add it to Becky's back to school write off as it is related to school.
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