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Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:17 am
by Geringer
MAQ has decided to write non-Middle School stuff for the time being.

We would, however, like to send business to our buddy Charles Hang over at Olympia Questions. He writes good, pyramidal stuff.

You can find information about his new company here: http://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=10734

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:41 am
by Deviant Insider
Will everything be geared towards Junior High, or will you produce High School sets as well?

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:13 pm
by Geringer
As of right now, I'm making a bid to write the 2011 Fremd Tournament, but there has been no official confirmation on that.

I want to deliberately stay out of the Varsity questions business, although with a little bit of work, I'm sure that a "new to quiz bowl" JV set can be produced without much trouble.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:32 pm
by Geringer
I also wanted to include a little bit about our question writing philosophy.

What exactly makes up a "pyramidal question" seems to be a nebulous concept to many players and coaches unfamiliar with this kind of quiz bowl. While pyramidal questions tend to be longer in length, they aren't necessarily six lines long and full of really hard clues. Borrowing from some recent discussion in the college circuit, first and second-line clues should be "buzzable," as in if I write a tossup on Rene Magritte, someone in my field should have seen a lot of his paintings and would be able to identify him. While only a few people will be able to get very early buzzes, a greater amount of people with slightly less knowledge will be able to identify him in the middle of the question. By the time the "for 10 points" rolls around, anyone who has seen any artwork by him should probably be able to identify him.

In essence, "pyramidal questions" just attempt to reward players with greater knowledge of a topic before players with less knowledge have a chance to buzz in. Especially at the junior high level, four lines should be sufficient to reward various levels of knowledge.

Furthermore, especially because most junior high players are very new to quizbowl, answer lines will be kept simple. I could write a tossup on the "ampullae of Lorenzini," but it will most likely go unanswered. At MAQ, we would much rather see a high conversion rate. On the same token, even our weakest teams should be averaging at least one part correct per bonus. While it isn't good to give away free points (and we won't be), enabling teams to score points and to walk away with a good feeling about quizbowl is undeniably important at this level of play.

Finally, as previously mentioned, we strive to make our answer lines as complete as possible. While other distributors look down on a player and might penalize them for answering "Samuel Clemens" on a "Mark Twain" tossup, we see these answers as identical and will include both. Math answer lines will be moderator-friendly as well and will attempt to include all possible answer forms.

We believe that by mimicking legitimate quiz bowl practices from the high school and college levels within our junior high sets, we will be encouraging a more academic game rather than glorified biography bowl with a quick buzzer race at the giveaway.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:12 pm
by kayli
If you need any freelance writing, I can help out.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:53 pm
by Geringer
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:If you need any freelance writing, I can help out.
We're always looking for writers, but more importantly, if anyone has connections to junior highs or JV tournaments in your area and you want to see QG or QU gone, we will be more than happy to supply.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:05 am
by kayli
Halakis wrote:
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:If you need any freelance writing, I can help out.
We're always looking for writers, but more importantly, if anyone has connections to junior highs or JV tournaments in your area and you want to see QG or QU gone, we will be more than happy to supply.
QG and QU are pretty nonexistant here as far as I know, and we don't have middle school teams though Pensacola is trying to fix that.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:39 am
by Jeremy Gibbs-Marangoni Effect
Would you consider writing for official state tournaments?

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:41 am
by Geringer
Jeremy Gibbs-Marangoni Effect wrote:Would you consider writing for official state tournaments?
Yeah, although the Illinois IESA tournament is apparently booked by QG through 2013. I assume you could be asking about Missouri, in which case I will say "Totally, dude. MO has given me great things like Hannibal, MO and the Greatest Show on Turf and I will be happy to pay them back."

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:16 pm
by STPickrell
Write to me about making an effective business model. The key is making questions reusable, so as to make each 20/20 set worthwhile in terms of how much you make.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:34 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
I assume you could be asking about Missouri, in which case I will say "Totally, dude. MO has given me great things like Hannibal, MO and the Greatest Show on Turf and I will be happy to pay them back.
Missouri has no official MSHSAA state championship for middle school.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:11 pm
by majadirks
Will you have a website? I'm trying to get schools to host middle school meets in the Seattle area, and being able to link to your company as a question source would make things easier.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:55 pm
by Geringer
majadirks wrote:Will you have a website? I'm trying to get schools to host middle school meets in the Seattle area, and being able to link to your company as a question source would make things easier.
Yes. Once I get through a rough week of school, I'm sitting down with my web design friend and ironing out a website.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:44 am
by Rococo A Go Go
If I were to convince some people to help me run a state-level tournament for JV High School teams in Kentucky, would you all be willing to write for us? Right now the only JV events in the state are quick recall events, most of which are even worse than normal quick recall.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:15 pm
by Geringer
Gerd Bockmann wrote:If I were to convince some people to help me run a state-level tournament for JV High School teams in Kentucky, would you all be willing to write for us? Right now the only JV events in the state are quick recall events, most of which are even worse than normal quick recall.
I will have a mid-level JV set available next year and will be looking for mirrors. I'd have to do some work on the bonuses and the distro, but its much easier to go from IHSA to ACF than the other way around. Anyways, I'm totally up for this.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:48 pm
by Kwang the Ninja
On a scale of 1-10, how interested would you guys be in writing/collaborating on a national championship set(for next year)?

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:15 pm
by Geringer
Kwang the Ninja wrote:On a scale of 1-10, how interested would you guys be in writing/collaborating on a national championship set(for next year)?
I'm banking on very interested. We're currently producing a set for an April tournament this year as a kind of test run, and we should be producing stuff by next fall in full force.

EDIT: I'm talking junior high

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:35 pm
by Dan-Don
Well MAQ officially exists. I've just emailed a "sample set" [5 packets that will eventually become the first 5 packets in our first middle school ACF set ("MS-01") next fall] to Mike Laudermith for use at Leyden's middle school tournament on April 8th. When he receives them/uses them, he will hopefully post here and tell the world how good they are.

MS-01 will eventually consist of 10 packets of 16/16 each. 4/4 Lit (includes myth); 4/4 science (includes non-comp math); 4/4 social studies; 2/2 fine arts; 2/2 trash. The sample set, regrettably, includes comp math.

Jeff is currently editing what will become our IESA-01, a small (4 packets, I believe) set in the IESA format (4-part bonuses, comp math) that might be expanded to include more packets by some combination of writing new questions and melding it with MS-01.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:43 pm
by Matt Weiner
Dan-Don wrote:MS-01 will eventually consist of 10 packets of 16/16 each. 4/4 Lit (includes myth); 4/4 science (includes non-comp math); 4/4 social studies; 2/2 fine arts; 2/2 trash. The sample set, regrettably, includes comp math.
I have some questions about this:
*Is your tournament really one eighth trash or is there something mistyped by you and/or misunderstood by me here?
*What's in the mystery "social studies" distribution? Are all the traditional quizbowl categories missing from the posted breakdown included there, and in what ratio if so?
*What is the literature/myth ratio within the 4/4? How many middle-school-appropriate literature questions do you plan to include in each round?
*Are these arithmetic questions bonuses only or both tossups and bonuses?

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 pm
by Dan-Don
Matt Weiner wrote:
Dan-Don wrote:MS-01 will eventually consist of 10 packets of 16/16 each. 4/4 Lit (includes myth); 4/4 science (includes non-comp math); 4/4 social studies; 2/2 fine arts; 2/2 trash. The sample set, regrettably, includes comp math.
I have some questions about this:
*Is your tournament really one eighth trash or is there something mistyped by you and/or misunderstood by me here?
*What's in the mystery "social studies" distribution? Are all the traditional quizbowl categories missing from the posted breakdown included there, and in what ratio if so?
*What is the literature/myth ratio within the 4/4? How many middle-school-appropriate literature questions do you plan to include in each round?
*Are these arithmetic questions bonuses only or both tossups and bonuses?
Let me elaborate on distribution.

In a 16/16 set:

4/4 Literature (which does not contain any kiddie lit, unlike the CMST)
- 1/1 U.S. Lit
- 1/1 Brit Lit
- 1/1 World Lit
- 1/1 R&M

4/4 Science
- 1/1 bio
- 2/2 some combination of astro, physics, chem, and earth
- 1/1 non-comp math

4/4 Social Studies
- 1/1 U.S. History
- 2/2 World History
- 1/1 "other" social studies (this can be geo, current events, basic social sciences)

2/2 Fine Arts
- 1/1 Music (this occasionally includes opera and musical theatre but avoids "name these instruments"-type stuff)
- 1/1 visual arts

2/2 Trash
Yes, I'd love to give 1/1 back to fine arts. But the fine arts canon is so small, I don't believe we can manage it. This may change.

EDIT: Oh, I don't know for certain that the IESA set that is being edited contains computational tossups and bonuses. But it likely does.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:55 pm
by Down and out in Quintana Roo
Dan-Don wrote: - 1/1 World Lit
How is this possible for a middle school audience?

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:58 pm
by Dan-Don
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:
Dan-Don wrote: - 1/1 World Lit
How is this possible for a middle school audience?
The CMST did it. If I'm not mistaken, their distro was:

-1/1 US
-1/1 Brit
-1/1 World
-1/1 Kiddie

So it's certainly possible.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:59 pm
by Cheynem
You can't put that 1/1 trash to any better uses? Not even a 2/2 "Other" Social Studies?

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:02 am
by Dan-Don
Cheynem wrote:You can't put that 1/1 trash to any better uses? Not even a 2/2 "Other" Social Studies?
I could see that happening. All of this distribution stuff may change as we write this over the summer.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:04 am
by Auroni
Dan-Don wrote:-1/1 World
I hope you're planning to write european literature into this subdistro!

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:04 am
by Important Bird Area
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:
Dan-Don wrote: - 1/1 World Lit
How is this possible for a middle school audience?
Note that this division is "American lit," "British lit," "everything else." So the "world lit" category would include continental Europe. (At least, that's what the CMST distribution did.)

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:04 am
by Dan-Don
Ice Warrior wrote:
Dan-Don wrote:-1/1 World
I hope you're planning to write european literature into this subdistro!
Yes. In this case, World includes European.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:07 am
by Down and out in Quintana Roo
Dan-Don wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:
Dan-Don wrote:-1/1 World
I hope you're planning to write european literature into this subdistro!
Yes. In this case, World includes European.
Okay, well, that's a little better. That will still be a very very tough category for middle school students. I can count on one hand the number of authors i knew as a seventh grader from outside England or the United States who wrote legitimate literature, but maybe i just went to a crappy Catholic school or something.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:41 am
by the return of AHAN
Dan-Don wrote: ...Leyden's middle school tournament on April 8th.
Is this tournament solely for Leyden's feeder schools? Or can any school apply for entry? [asks the coach whose MS team's scheduled number of tournaments went from 5 to 2, through no choice of their own]

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:44 am
by Dan-Don
Moving Day wrote:
Dan-Don wrote: ...Leyden's middle school tournament on April 8th.
Is this tournament solely for Leyden's feeder schools? Or can any school apply for entry? [asks the coach whose MS team's scheduled number of tournaments went from 5 to 2, through no choice of their own]
I'm not exactly sure. I'm inclined to think it is only feeder schools. You're more than welcome to try and enter, but remember that you then cannot play MS-01 next season at a full-day tournament.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:51 am
by Stephen Colbert
I advocated replacing 1/1 trash with any of the following alternatives:

1/1 religion & myth (retaining 4/4 lit consisting of 1/1 each of American, English/European, world, and 1/1 more from one of those three)
1/1 geography/current events (and retaining 4/4 social studies consisting of 1/1 American history, 1/1 European history, 1/1 world history, and 1/1 from other social studies or one of those three)
1/1 non-computational math (and retaining 4/4 science consisting of 1/1 each of bio, chem, physics, and 1/1 astronomy/earth science)

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:53 am
by Auroni
what about replacing 1/1 trash with 1/1 "any of the above," as long as the "any of the above" questions aren't on the same category and aren't the same categories in every packet?

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:56 am
by Stephen Colbert
Moving Day wrote:
Dan-Don wrote: ...Leyden's middle school tournament on April 8th.
Is this tournament solely for Leyden's feeder schools? Or can any school apply for entry? [asks the coach whose MS team's scheduled number of tournaments went from 5 to 2, through no choice of their own]
Dear suburban Illinois high schools,
Please stop hosting super-secret middle school tournaments exclusively for your feeder schools and oftentimes out-of-season (for IESA scholastic bowl). While it's certainly within your rights, you would attract much bigger and more competitive fields by opening up your tournaments to the rest of Illinois. Plus, with the downfall of Northwestern's Junior Wildcat, there are very few good tournaments for suburban middle school teams to attend.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:00 am
by Dan-Don
Stephen Colbert wrote:
Moving Day wrote:
Dan-Don wrote: ...Leyden's middle school tournament on April 8th.
Is this tournament solely for Leyden's feeder schools? Or can any school apply for entry? [asks the coach whose MS team's scheduled number of tournaments went from 5 to 2, through no choice of their own]
Dear suburban Illinois high schools,
Please stop hosting super-secret middle school tournaments exclusively for your feeder schools and oftentimes out-of-season (for IESA scholastic bowl). While it's certainly within your rights, you would attract much bigger and more competitive fields by opening up your tournaments to the rest of Illinois. Plus, with the downfall of Northwestern's Junior Wildcat, there are very few good tournaments for suburban middle school teams to attend.
Well obviously I can't speak for NU's program yet, but if I get permission my intention is to resurrect Jr. Wildcat with MS-01.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:19 am
by Stephen Colbert
Dan-Don wrote:Well obviously I can't speak for NU's program yet, but if I get permission my intention is to resurrect Jr. Wildcat with MS-01.
I'll also be at NU in the fall and will do whatever I can to help this happen.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:22 am
by jonah
Stephen Colbert wrote:I'll also be at NU in the fall
Go on...

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:36 am
by Geringer
As it's looking like right now, we might be turning that 1/1 World Lit category into a 1/1 World Lit and Myth and adding a 1/1 Religion category. To my knowledge, this is pretty uncharted territory, and unlike high school, I've seen very few "fraud" buzzes that I've come to expect from high school teams. There isn't a real codified canon for this stuff and, admittedly, it'll be an experiment as we go along.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:40 am
by Stephen Colbert
jonah wrote:
Stephen Colbert wrote:I'll also be at NU in the fall
Go on...
I'm transferring there, hopefully graduating in less than two years, and if I can successfully get into one, going to med school.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:23 am
by Stephen Colbert
KHAAAAN please wrote:As it's looking like right now, we might be turning that 1/1 World Lit category into a 1/1 World Lit and Myth and adding a 1/1 Religion category. To my knowledge, this is pretty uncharted territory, and unlike high school, I've seen very few "fraud" buzzes that I've come to expect from high school teams. There isn't a real codified canon for this stuff and, admittedly, it'll be an experiment as we go along.
The middle school mythology canon is surprisingly expansive. It's sort of a niche category at the middle school level, but there are some players with some seriously deep myth knowledge. I don't know if the middle school canon is extensive enough to support 1/1 religion in the long term, especially when it comes to non-Western religions.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:32 am
by dtaylor4
For myth, you can ask about Greco-Roman, Norse, Egyptian, and even a bit of Arthurian.

For religion, you have to keep it Judeo-Christian heavy.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:59 am
by Awehrman
Nathan and Dan,

It's great that you are both going to be at NU next year. I will be back in the fall as well and would be willing to pitch in as much as I am able (which may not be much). The NU team did have interest in running the Jr. Wildcat again this year and I'm pretty sure it's still on the radar for next year, but it's rather complicated logistically. With some more dedicated folks, I imagine you could work around those difficulties.

As for the question format, I don't think having 1/1 trash is any great travesty. Writing pyramidal questions on subjects from popular culture helps emphasize that all questions a better when written that way and shows that depth of knowledge can be rewarded for all subjects. The pop culture questions by the usual middle school providers are some of the absolute worst offenders of bad quizbowl. If part of the goal is to improve standard middle school quizbowl questions, writing good trash questions helps.

If you want to add more academia, however, I'd suggest adding it to the US lit or history distribution. Those subjects can go quite a bit deeper than their world or European counterparts at the middle school level.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:59 pm
by Geringer
Actually, in the middle school tournament I moderated, I noticed a pretty large representation of foreign students, some of whom I assume would be practicing Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. While I don't think I could be asking about too much in-depth stuff, basic canon from those religions would definitely be fair game.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:02 pm
by dtaylor4
KHAAAAN please wrote:Actually, in the middle school tournament I moderated, I noticed a pretty large representation of foreign students, some of whom I assume would be practicing Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. While I don't think I could be asking about too much in-depth stuff, basic canon from those religions would definitely be fair game.
You're extrapolating a single sample to a larger population about which you have little to no information. Try again.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:04 pm
by Dan-Don
KHAAAAN please wrote:Actually, in the middle school tournament I moderated, I noticed a pretty large representation of foreign students, some of whom I assume would be practicing Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. While I don't think I could be asking about too much in-depth stuff, basic canon from those religions would definitely be fair game.
I'm comfortable writing this stuff because last year I took a class that was a basic survey of all these religions (and more) so we'll have to see how his shakes out. If he myth canon is as large as Donald says, then we could think about 1/1 myth and 1/1 world lit/relgion. Still thinking about what to do with the trash. We'll hopefully have a distro by the fall that is accepted by most.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:07 pm
by Geringer
dtaylor4 wrote:
KHAAAAN please wrote:Actually, in the middle school tournament I moderated, I noticed a pretty large representation of foreign students, some of whom I assume would be practicing Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. While I don't think I could be asking about too much in-depth stuff, basic canon from those religions would definitely be fair game.
You're extrapolating a single sample to a larger population about which you have little to no information. Try again.
Well, I'm also extrapolating based on the kids I played in high school, too. More and more students are playing junior high quizbowl, so therefore it would make sense that more and more practitioners of non-western religions would be playing in junior high. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if these topics were in a junior high curriculum. I know my schools had this stuff covered in junior high.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:13 pm
by the return of AHAN
KHAAAAN please wrote: I know my $16000/year private school had this stuff covered in junior high.
Fixed. :grin:

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:19 pm
by Mechanical Beasts
And I know mine didn't.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:53 pm
by cvdwightw
One of the problems with writing at the middle school level is that outside of a few subjects (American history, basic life science) there is pretty much no curricular canon, and to my knowledge no one before the CMST has actually tried to have a good, pyramidal middle school set mirrored at sites across the nation. Therefore it is difficult if not impossible to reach a consensus on what is actually taught in schools and what intellectually curious middle school students should be learning on their own, and accordingly to get a sense of the canon for a middle school set.

Without getting into too much detail (since there are still mirrors to be played), the #1 comment that we've gotten from the 2 so-far-successful mirrors is that we had a factual error in one of the questions (this will be fixed in time for the next iteration of tournaments); #2 is various forms of "the literature was too hard." I would think very long and very hard about not including books that students often read in 5th-8th grades.

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:59 pm
by Papa's in the House
This day is gradually becoming the best day I've had on Spring Break... not.

I hope all goes well with this venture and that a distribution consensus can be reached (I'm sure Jeff will inform me promptly when these things occur).

Re: Midwest Academic Questions

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:33 pm
by Boeing X-20, Please!
Dan-Don wrote:If he myth canon is as large as Donald says, then we could think about 1/1 myth and 1/1 world lit/relgion. Still thinking about what to do with the trash. We'll hopefully have a distro by the fall that is accepted by most.
If my 6th grade history class is at all representative it is in fact pretty large, although we definitely did LOTS more Arthurian than Norse.