Many secondary schools have official academic teams, and being on a scholastic bowl team is a rewarding experience. However, not every student can be involved in extra-curricular teams. Quiz bowl is an excellent gifted classroom experience, because all students can participate in all steps. Everyone gets a chance to buzz and shine individually, but there is the security of working together in an setting that encourages healthy competition.
Setting Up A Classroom Quiz Bowl
Having a real buzzer set makes all the difference, because students can answer in a split second and the buzzer will indicate who really did buzz in first. Buzzers can be found by searching for “quiz system buzzers”, “lock out buzzers”, or “player recognition systems”.
Arrange the desks to face the person asking the questions, not the opposing team. An outlet needs to be accessible for the buzzer set, and a scoreboard (such as a white board) should be visible.
You'll need students to fill these roles:
* Score-Keeper (allowing everyone can see the score)
* Team A Team B
To prepare students for joining future bowl teams, one might create teams similar to competitive teams by sorting students into groups of four, and having two groups of four complete against each other.
Mixing quiet and outgoing students works well. A team needs some cautious players and some risk-taking players. Sometimes kids shine in brain training games but are too shy to speak out during competitive games.
It is tempting to just open a box of Trivial Pursuit cards, but it is best to get quiz bowl questions from research. Students enjoy researching questions and answers, and question libraries grow quickly.
Questions need to be open, meaning they are not multiple choice or yes/no. Usually, questions are written on a theme, such as “Award-Winners”.
It is important that the required answer is clear. The question, “Which states border Utah?” is less clear than“Which six states border Utah?”.
It is important to establish if teams are allowed to discuss answers before buzzing. In Scholastic Bowl competitions, discussion is limited to written portions of games, but classrooms have flexibility.
Read the question, and allow ten seconds for a response. Only accept the first answer. If the answer is correct, the team gets a point. If it is incorrect, the opposing team has a chance to answer. Incorrect responses do not penalize a team in competition, but in a classroom competition removing points for incorrect answers can heighten the competition, if necessary.
After ten questions, students are substituted with other students, so everyone gets to play and everyone has a stake in the building scores of the two teams. This makes watching more engaging and allows for odd number populations to play. One team just has fewer substitutes.
Grades for participation or sportsmanship are obvious; it would be unfair to take grades for performance, as more than one person might know the answer. The only “performance” grade that could really be measured would be the ability to press a buzzer, which is not an especially academic task.
Shy students who are not ready to risk buzzing in are usually willing volunteers to keep score or read questions, thus allowing everyone to be involved on classroom quiz bowl days.
Impact in on Gifted Children
Gifted classrooms are important resources to gifted children; these are the classrooms where they find understanding teachers, friends with similar abilities, and challenging environments. Using quiz bowl sets to create gifted classroom cooperation and competition is a worthy activity for the immediate experience. Additionally, following rules similar to established scholastic bowl rules allows students to easily move into the world of academic bowl in junior high and high school, a time when gifted education is often replaced by AP classes. By participating in established academic teams, gifted students can continue to enjoy cooperation and competition.
A quiz bowl buzzer set is an excellent investment for a gifted classroom, because students enjoy competition, benefit from new challenges, and build skills for future opportunities.