Last year as a fifth-grader, Michael Duncan had only a passing interest in geography, so he was pleasantly surprised when he'd made it as far as the runner-up in the 2016 Woodbury Geography Bee. Encouraged by his unexpected success, Michael studied in earnest so that this year, he came fully prepared. The effort was worth it: the sixth-grader won the 2017 Woodbury Bee and tied for 11th out of 105 qualifying finalists in the State Bee, held on March 31 in Columbus.
Duncan's mother, Jane, says her son learned about geography initially through his interest in reading and history. He also enjoyed playing the app Stack the Countries, an educational geography game, when he was in elementary school.
Preparing for the Ohio Geo Bee was a family and community affair. Duncanl studied an altas the family purchased at Half-Priced Books and his older sisters, Edie ('17) and Nora, helped him break down the world into sections and review a few states and countries each day. Even neighbors shared old atlases and road maps for the Duncans to hang on the walls of their home.
Duncan says he feels good about his trip to the State Bee. "Since I did well this year, and it was my first year in the state bee, then maybe next year, I can do even better," he says.
For Geo Bee novices, the State Bee questions didn't simply test Duncan's ability to memorize geographic facts. The questions also covered a range of topics including science, current events and history. Some of the questions test student's logic skills.
Overall, Duncan is optimistic about his future at the Bee. He feels like he has a good foundation to build from and looks forward to competing next year, at the Middle School.
Want to test your geography knowledge? Here's a sample of some of the questions Michael answered correctly at the State Bee (find answers below):
- The region of Cappadocia in Central Turkey is home to which recent archaeological discovery: long boats or underground tunnels?
- What is the term meaning "the process by which warm, less-dense surface water is drawn away from along a shore by offshore currents and replaced by cold, denser water brought up from the subsurface?"
- What country lies between Kenya and Malawi?
- Which country is not part of the Greater Antilles: Cuba, Barbados or Puerto Rico?
- Underground tunnels (Michael wasn't sure, but he knew that Cappadocia was landlocked, so he correctly guessed tunnels.)
- Upwelling (Michael had just learned the term in the car en route to the State Bee.)
Read more news about student accomplishments throughout our District online.