Fill in the blank. Quick! Guessers are allowed only 15 seconds to respond.
"The hollow main shaft of a bird's feather is called the _________."
"Jeopardy" contestants and Knowledge Bowl team members probably will be the first to shout out the answer, "quill" or "calamus."
"Jeopardy" contestants are few and far between; however, many area students participate in Minnesota's Knowledge Bowl competitions.
Knowledge Bowl (KB) focuses on information recall, problem solving strategies, critical thinking skills and cooperation. Five-member teams compete by answering questions from secondary curriculum areas.
Minnesota Service Cooper-atives (MSC) owns the Knowledge Bowl trademark, and Sue DeNio is the state KB facilitator. The Minnesota State High School League is not involved as it is for other school-related competitive events. The high school KB season runs from January through March with state competition taking place in April.
There are many benefits to participating students, according to Success Beyond the Classroom, a nonprofit organization developed by the Metropolitan Educational Cooperative Service. Students benefit by gaining "responsibility and a spirit of cooperation; sharpening skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation; acquiring vast amounts of knowledge in many areas; and gaining poise and self-confidence."
Pequot Lakes Knowledge Bowl Coach Lynn Couch said, "I'm very proud of our KB team members. They are outstanding people who respect each other and work well as a team. Of course, they are very intelligent, but they must also be quick thinkers."
Couch has been the adviser for the teams for 16 years. Pequot Lakes had a team at both the 2003 and 2004 state tournaments, placing fifth in division A in 2004.
This year there are three high school teams with a combined total of 15 students. There is no junior high team this season.
Couch said KB team members are well-rounded and busy students. Most also participate in one or more other school extracurricular activities, including theater, band, choir, Student Council, Mock Trial, speech, peer tutoring and athletics.
Pine River-Backus eighth-grader Emalee Arends said, "We learn teamwork. And we meet new people."
PR-B Junior High KB coach Melanie Lindquist said, "It's a fun opportunity for the kids to use what they have learned in school.
"They all bring different strengths to the team," Lindquist said.
Breana Larson is good at English, math and music. David Grundtner is knowledgeable about wars, especially World War II. Another knows a lot about birds, especially chickens.
"It's one giant trivia game show," said Hannah Lemberg, another PR-B eighth-grader.
Chris Brunhuber, an eighth-grade member of the PR-B junior high team, said, "It's a chance to show off all our useless knowledge."
Lindquist's junior high team consists of 24 students on four teams. They practice twice a week, after school Tuesdays and before school Fridays to try to accommodate the students' busy schedules. At the meets, they compete against teams from other schools and sometimes against the other teams from PR-B.
There is no state competition for junior high teams. However, a PR-B high school team advanced in regional competition last year, missing state by just a few points.
There are three rounds, or round robin meets, in which teams acquire points. PR-B High School KB Coach Isaak Anderson said there are 81 teams in the region and just four that go on to state competition.
pineandlakes.com ©2013. All Rights Reserved.