Geography contest is new terrain for history students at Golf Middle School
Seventh-grader Olivia Klafta, center, cheers after answering a question correctly during Golf Middle School's Geographic Bee on Dec. 20. Also participating were Anna Starobinets, left, and Shaina Kravetz. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:20AM
MORTON GROVE — Students studying American history at Golf Middle School in Morton Grove had a chance recently to test their knowledge of geography.
About 125 seventh- and eighth-graders took part in a local contest as part of the National Geographic Bee.
The contest allows schools across the country to participate using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society.
The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject and increase public awareness about geography.
“I think they love it,” said Golf history teacher Ted Carris. “They were not only competing to win, but competing with their friends.”
At the end of the event the local winner was Olivia Klafta. Carris said she must take a written test which will be sent to National Geographic for scoring.
If successful, she will take part in a state Geography Bee on April 5. A national contest is scheduled for May 20-22.
Carris said during the local competition held in late December students were given progressively more difficult questions.
The first round dealt with U.S. geography and students had two chances to remain in the competition.
The second round dealing with U.S. capitals gave them just one chance before being eliminated, Carris said.
The third and most difficult round dealt with world geography.
With the widely diverse backgrounds and cultures of the students at Golf, Carris said in some cases students knew answers just based on their own family’s history.
“They’ll know the region their family’s from,” he said.
Carris said the program gives him a chance to spend more time on the geography unit in his history classes.
“I just love doing it,” he said. “We don’t focus on geography much because I teach U.S. history.”