Jr High Knowledge Bowl Team

Above: The Junior High Knowledge Bowl Team includes, from L to R, front Row: Jackson Bowen, Adam Robinson, coach Joanne Starke, Ariel Murphy, and Thayne Remiger. Back row: Sophie Perkins, Hunter Plafcan, Chloe Haack, Joanna Larson, and Evelyn Keltgen.

Some members of the Cleveland Junior High Knowledge Bowl Team specialize in physical, biological or social sciences. 

Others are history buffs, or they do better answering questions about geography or literature.

Freshman Sophie Perkins likes to build up a broad range of learning, but she specializes too.

“I watch Jeopardy and read all the time, but I’m better in math.”

Perkins, along with classmates Jackson Bowen and Ariel Murphy—one of two team Clipper squads competing—took home a third-place medal in the team's season opener, which was held in Mankato’s Fitzgerald Education Center on October 28. 

An impressive showing, the trio beat out 27 other teams.

Question: How is this this expression factored: 4m squared + 26m + 22? Answer: (2m + 11)(2m + 2)

Junior High Knowledge Bowl is an academic competition open to students in grades 7, 8, and 9, said the Clipper coach Joanne Starke, a paraprofessional at the school.

Cleveland’s team also includes Adam Robinson, Thayne RemigerHunter Plafcan, Joanna Larson, Evelyn Keltgen and Chloe Haack. All are freshmen.

Question: Because critics thought the $7.2 million price tag excessive for a frozen wilderness, what nickname did they give to the purchase of Alaska? Answer: Seward's Folly

The three-student squads are first tasked with answering 60 multiple-choice questions in 45 minutes. How well they do places the team for the following three oral rounds. In those, they face a series of 30 rapid-fire questions asked out loud over 30 minutes.

For practice, Cleveland team members give up almost every noon lunch break. There, Starke uses questions sets from previous meets, so her students can practice listening to what the questions asks as well as develop a comfort level working as a team.   

Question: In the guild system of medieval Europe, before becoming a master one had to work as a journeyman for a master. And, before becoming a journeyman, one had to learn the trade for several years in what role? Answer: Apprentice

A key to success is building a team with complementary knowledge. Team members are expected to bolster their own intelligence, but there are no requirements for them to, for example, pore over Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica.

“I encourage them to hone up on world capitals, rivers, oceans, leaders, major historical events, literature and authors, as well as relying on their accumulated knowledge and life experiences,” Starke said.

Question: The anger of what warrior in the war between the Mycenaeans and Troy is told in "The Iliad"? Answer: Achilles

While the students have fun increasing their thought reservoirs, Starke's enjoyment comes from discovering how broad and deep their learning goes.

“I am always amazed to learn just how much they know. This group of students is a joy to work with. They truly enjoy exploring their knowledge and expanding it.”

The Cleveland Junior High Knowledge Bowl team’s next meets are November 29 and December 8. After that, they compete in the sub-regional meet on December 15. If the Clippers qualify, they move on to a regional meet on December 20.

All meets are held at Fitzgerald.