Growing a Middle School Program?

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Growing a Middle School Program?

Post by Bolt52 »

As a freshman and current player of the ERHS Quizbowl Team, I feel like there was a lack of opportunity for middle schoolers in quiz competitions. Our county, Prince George's County Maryland, offers a mini tv show for middle schoolers for Science Bowl after winning or being eliminated from the show there are no academic bowl opportunities at all. I wish to try to change this in the county and in the region, to grow a middle school program so that it's not play one game a year, lose and then go home. I do have connections to many schools and hope to persuade them to start teams but there are a couple things I would like pointers on.

1. What does it take to run a middle school tournament? Does anyone have advice for a school wishing to run their first ever middle school tournament?
2. What should I do to get schools that have never done it before to participate in said tournament?
3. Any other advice that you may have.

Hunter Whaples
Freshie Class of 2017
Eleanor Roosevelt HS Team A '14

But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying 'till you run out of cake.
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Re: Growing a Middle School Program?

Post by QuizLegacy »

For starters, there was a middle school tournament about 27 miles away on February 8th. If you're interested in or can deal with going out-of-state, there will probably be another LATTE tournament next year in Falls Church, VA. Remember, the team cap was 18 this year, so you might want to jump on it if you're interested.

You could consider hosting a tournament within your specific middle school. Also, if the event is during a school day, kids will spring for the opportunity. If you have any spare funding, add prize money. If that's not enough, consider expanding it to the whole district. Having a tournament within one school or district can be less demanding and stressful than an state-wide event, so you could potentially get lots of new kids involve with some effort.

Finally, remember that the way to get kids interested is to make it fun. If you are a part of training them, make sure to run regular practice sessions, and give progressively more difficult questions, beginning with fairly easy ones. It's not fun if you don't know anything, and when they know the easy ones, it gives them the confidence to answer more difficult ones.

Hope this helps!
David Noble
Park High School, Livingston, MT
Class of '16
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Re: Growing a Middle School Program?

Post by btressler »

I would suggest holding a tournament before next year's TV tournament and advertise it as a warm-up or practice event. You can use the opportunity to expose the teams to quizbowl, and could mention tournaments in other states and nationals. Point out that students can continue the activity in high school.

I don't know how far Saint Augustine is from you, but I bet if the date is good for them, they would attend. They drive to Pennsylvania and Delaware events.

Don't be afraid to start small. There is nothing wrong with a 8- or 12-team event. The first year Wilmington Charter held a middle school event, it had 14 teams from 5 schools. This Saturday it is going to draw 51.
Bill Tressler,
Dickinson ('97) Carnegie Mellon ('99) Delaware ('06)
Seen moderating at various SE Pennsylvania events.
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Re: Growing a Middle School Program?

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

If your high school has a "feeder" middle school or middle school campus, one thing you can do as a high schooler is send a kid or two from your high school team to go read questions to middle schoolers there once a week or so after school; doing so can help kick-start interest in quizbowl at at least one middle school directly, and can reap benefits for your own school's team down the road.
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF