To increase sports competition between TIA schools many years ago, a rubber chicken painted gold was offered to the winning school. Rivalries escalated, fueled by the quest for this golden chicken and its associated bragging rights. Intrigued at the level of school pride that was sparked by the possession of such a bizarre trophy, TIA teachers saw a golden opportunity of a different kind. Why not channel this competition and school pride into an academic focus? This idea led to the establishment of four additional annual competitions: the Geography Bee, Math Bee, Spelling Bee, and Debate.
Geography Bee Challenge
The Geography Bee is composed of six divisions: Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3 and 4, Grades 5 and 6, Middle School, and High School. Competitions begin within each classroom. Class winners from each division in the same school then compete against each other. Finally, winners from each school compete in the championship, or district level. Many teachers reward winners with their own incentives, but the travelling trophy each year is a beautiful acrylic globe impressed with the shapes of the continents.
More than a gimmick to manufacture school pride, the Geography Bee has precipitated great educational leaps among the students, says Mr. Montemayor, principal of the Broadway Campus. Teachers are able to emphasize certain regions to correspond with current world events. “We want to teach not only where these places are, but how they affect us,” Mr. Montemayor says.
One piece of evidence that shows the effectiveness of the Geography Bee is the fact that each year it becomes increasingly difficult to determine a winner in the upper divisions. Since students participate year after year, 80 to 90 percent of students now know all the countries, and so more elements must be added, such as rivers or mountains. Many times, a tie-breaker is required.
Where in the World is TIA’s Pride?
Now it’s not just the golden chicken that students are after, but as many of the five available trophies as they can get each year. So where in the world is TIA Pride? Just ask this year’s Geography Bee Winners – it’s on the map.