Mount Dora Middle School Students Study For Geography ‘Bee’

Ever wonder what is the easternmost national capital on the mainland of Africa?

It’s of course Mogadishu, Somalia. For students at Mount Dora Middle School, this question is a sample of the many potential stumbling blocks as they seek a trip to the state finals, and then hopefully the 2011 National Geographic Bee Finals.

Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. Fourth through eighth graders are eligible for the challenging test of geographic knowledge.

At the end of November, more than 700 students at Mount Dora Middle participated in the preliminary round of the Bee. The following students are set to compete in the final round at the school’s media center on Jan. 6:

·         Sixth graders ? -Sam Spina, Rachel Clark and Garrett Brown

·         Seventh graders ? Maria Rossodivito, Abbie Phillips, Virginia Schwartz and Caleb Drake

·         Eighth graders ? -Madison Fisher, Priynt Patel and Francisco Morillo

The school winner will take a final written test that will be sent to the national headquarters for scoring. If the student scores high enough, he or she will be invited to compete with 100 other students at the state finals on April 1. Win the state competition and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip to compete in the National Finals in May.

“The Bee was started due to a concern that American students were declining in their knowledge of geography,” said Jennifer Butera, a Mount Dora Middle social studies teacher. “At Mount Dora Middle School we wanted to provide a forum that encouraged students to hone their skills and demonstrate their knowledge.”

Students prepared for the Bee by testing their geography knowhow on sample questions given during morning and afternoon announcements. They were also encouraged to visit the National Geographic website for new sample questions daily.

“Many students were very excited to have an education competition to show off their expertise,” Butera said. “Each social studies class provided the preliminary round test to all of their students then each period awarded a certificate and a pin to the top student in the period to recognize their accomplishment in front of their peers and the winners were broadcast over the announcements. The students were really anxious to find out who won in their period.”

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