Introducing The National History Bee and Bowl

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Great Bustard
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Introducing The National History Bee and Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:58 pm

Hi Everyone,
I’m pleased to officially introduce two new buzzer-based academic competitions that many of you will be interested in: the National History Bee and Bowl. The Bee is completely unlike the spelling bee or the geography bee; it primarily functions like an individual quiz bowl tournament. The Bowl is very much a recognizable quiz bowl style competition, although of course all of the questions are history-related and the format is different from any preexisting competition. While the Bee has an online Intramural stage, the Bee and Bowl primarily consist of a network of 35-45 State-level tournaments around the country. Due to a number of factors, some states will have more than one and some won’t have any, but you and your school can compete at any state level tournament you’d like; it doesn’t have to be the one closest to you or even one in your state. Those students and teams who make the playoffs also qualify for the National Finals which will be held the weekend of next April 16 (for the Bowl) and April 17 (for the Bee) in and around Washington, DC.
Lots more information is available online at http://www.historybowl.com and http://www.historybee.com, including newly updated and revised practice packets for both the Bee and Bowl, detailed explanations of the game and tournament formats, and specific sites for each of our state tournaments. There’s also a forum specific to the History Bee and Bowl on the website if you wish to post questions or comments there, although I will certainly be responding to comments, suggestions, and questions here on the boards as well.
For now, though, I would like to address a couple of issues that many people on the boards will have a particular interest in:
1. While the game format for the Bowl is four quarter and not standard tossup-bonus, the format is unlike any pre-existing four quarter format. The format is “tossup-heavy” so that most points are decided on questions open to both teams, and while the first quarter in particular may have shorter questions than some would prefer, the format has been reworked and revamped to be as pyramidal as possible while still appealing to teams and schools that are unfamiliar with quiz bowl.
2. The questions used in the playoffs for the Bowl will be somewhat longer and more difficult, again to emphasize pyramidality and to differentiate among the top teams. The questions used in the playoffs for the Bee will be entirely long-form pyramidal tossups.
3. Likewise, at Nationals, I am in the process of concluding a deal with HSAPQ for them to provide all of the questions used in Washington at the Finals of the National History Bowl. At Nationals, the first quarter and second quarter questions will be considerably longer and have power tossups, while the fourth quarter tossups will be longer still and feature super power (20 pts. possible). Nationals, by the way, will feature ten guaranteed games for the Bowl, a reasonably priced entry fee, and games at museums and sites of historic interest, including Mount Vernon, the Newseum, a Gilded-Age mansion, the International Spy Museum, and the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, among other sites.
4. The 60 second rounds (i.e. the third quarters) are unlike any preexisting 60 second rounds. First, there are only eight questions, and these are very short. Any good team should be easily able to finish all eight in the allotted team even if they get stuck with a bad reader in any given round. Also, the questions get harder as the round goes on, so that this will effectively differentiate between teams, which is the underlying philosophy behind pyramidality in the first place.
5. I have hired Greg Bossick and Nick Clusserath as Assistant Directors. They both have years of experience with pyramidal questions and will be very active in writing and editing.
6. I am deeply committed to spreading the reach of quiz bowl and academic competition and firmly believe that some variation in format throughout the game will help to appeal to new teams. One of the nice things about running a History event is that while not every school has a preexisting quiz bowl team, every school has history teachers. Thus, I hope that a bunch of new schools will take part, have fun, and then branch out and become part of the greater quiz bowl world.
7. Likewise, I am also committed to bringing scholarships and greater recognition to students and teams who have proven their worthiness. I have arranged a deal with AFS Intercultural Programs (the world’s top exchange student organization, which also organizes adventure trips and foreign language study programs) to provide thousands of dollars in scholarships for their programs to the top students and teams at each state tournament. The winner of the National History Bee in Washington will receive full tuition for one of their programs.
Other sponsors are being secured as well over the next few months.
8. This will likely be readily apparent to most students, but the National History Bowl, and especially the National History Bee are great ways for quiz bowl players to help build their college applications. Even if you’re just the champion at your school in the Intramural Bee, this can help. And many of the people who frequent the boards are certainly capable of becoming State Finalists, if not the State Champion.
9. Right now, there are 16 secured dates and sites for the state tournaments, with about another ten or so sites currently in the works. However, I am keen to have as many State-level competitions as possible, so please let me know if your school is in a region where this is no currently scheduled tournament and would be interested in hosting. Host schools receive free entry for the Intramural Bee, State Bee, and State Bowl, and can also earn a small recruiting bonus. Dorman and Wilmington Charter are two of the most recent schools to agree to host, and I would be real happy if any other schools would be willing.
10. Please note that all of this is a big work in progress. Not everyone is going to agree with every specific aspect of the way the competitions are structured, but I am always eager to get feedback. I’ve been volunteering at numerous tournaments this fall (four so far, two more each of the next two Saturdays) to get a feel for the issues that are important to students and teams. I have taken this feedback into account and have gone back and made adjustments accordingly, and while I know that it is impossible to please everyone, I am still willing to make changes if it makes sense to do so. Obviously, there’s a lot to learn, but I am committed to doing the best I can to provide two new great competitions for this year and for years to come.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments, and I hope (and I’m sure I will) hear back from many of you soon!

Best,
David Madden
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

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Masked Canadian History Bandit
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Re: Introducing The National History Bee and Bowl

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:42 pm

Will Canadian teams have the honour of participating in this event? Are Canadians allowed to bid for these competitions? Everything on this post and site mentions "state" and nothing international.
Patrick Liao
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President, Ontario Quizbowl Association (ONQBA)
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Re: Introducing The National History Bee and Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:25 pm

Eventually, if all goes well in the USA, I'd love to introduce a full-blown Canadian (peut etre en francais dans Quebec aussi?) version of the competitions as well. For this year, what I could do is this: I'll have enough questions to do an event that is entirely world history based, and could write a number of Canadian questions as well to complement this. The top teams and students could still qualify for Nationals, but there, of course, half the questions will be US American history based.
If you're interested in a tournament for the Ottawa region, send me an email and we could make this happen. Although I would want to make sure that enough teams would come so that it would be worth my while to write a bunch of Canadian history questions that would only be used here. Also, is your school affiliated with a league? That's often a good way to ensure a decent (i.e. at least 25-30 teams) turnout.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

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Re: Introducing The National History Bee and Bowl

Post by centralhs » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:27 am

I have looked through the History Bee and Bowl website and I am interested in having a team participate from my school. I am not completely sure that I understand about the Intramural History Bowl, though. At what point in the year would we need to hold that? If our State History Bowl is not until March, would I need to wait until then to hold the Intramural Bowl or could we go ahead and do it this semester?
Cathy Hirsch
Chamblee Middle School (2013-present)
Central Gwinnett High School (1997-2012)

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Kouign Amann
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Re: Introducing The National History Bee and Bowl

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:57 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:games at museums and sites of historic interest, including Mount Vernon, the Newseum, a Gilded-Age mansion, the International Spy Museum, and the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, among other sites.
I guess I like this idea in theory (cool sites are cool), but I don't think it's practicable if you plan on having teams move to several of these sites each day. DC in the late spring/early summer, especially on weekends, is absolutely packed and a total nightmare to get around in. I don't think it will be possible to keep this tournament running on schedule and give teams the 10 games you promise, due to the fact that moving from anywhere outside the city (e.g. Mount Vernon) to anywhere within the city could take up to an hour and a half. Moving between the Spy Museum and the C&P museum would be doable because they're only two blocks apart, but the Spy Museum is one of the most popular and most hideously over-crowded places in DC, so I don't really like it as a venue. Also, the reliability of the DC public transit system is terrible, so having teams rely on that to move about would also be a poor idea.

Knowing how DC tends to be during the times you propose to host this tournament, I feel I must strongly encourage you to pick one site at which to host all games.
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

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Re: Introducing The National History Bee and Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:36 pm

Just a quick response to the last two posts:
1. There is no "Intramural Bowl" just the Intramural Bee. The Bowl functions just as any normal quiz bowl tournament would; you don't need to qualify for the State tournament you wish to attend, you simply can register three teams as soon as registration opens on November 10 (except for our tournament in White Plains on November 20, which is now open for registration). You can register more than three teams if space allows, but for now, it's limited to three teams per school on a first come, first served basis.
The Intramural Bee is simply an online test to determine which are the top 6 students from your school are eligible to compete in Division I at the State History Bee (and thus be eligible to qualify for the national finals. It takes only about 20 minutes to do, and is best done by having all the students who wish to do it complete it at the same time in the same room. This could be at lunch or after school. If a student is absent, they have a week to make it up. Send me an email at: director at historybowl dot com if you have any additional questions as to how this works. Also, if you have a power outage or other technical problem, we have an entire backup version on hold just in case.

2. As far as DC goes, here's how the scheduling is going to work. The entirety of the Bowl Finals will be done on Saturday April 16. There will be three blocks of five games each, with an hour and fifteen minutes in between. A team will only play in two of the three blocks, for a total of ten matches. Matches should take 20 minutes to complete; 30 minutes are allotted for each match. All of a team's games during a block will be at the same site, so teams will not need to be jetting all over town throughout the day. All of the tournament sites with the exception of Mount Vernon are within two miles of each other, and since 75 minutes are allotted to get between sites, this should be more than enough. The teams that compete at Mount Vernon will end their block around noon, and will not need to be back in DC for their second block until 2:45.
In the evening, all of the playoff games will be at one site, which has yet to be determined. Furthermore, all the teams at Nationals will be required to submit two cell phone numbers where they can be reached in a pinch to help give directions, and they will also be supplied with maps to show exactly what the easiest way to get in between their sites is. Finally, all the readers at Nationals will be highly trained and efficient, so I do not anticipate having trouble with slow readers either.
I understand that doing the entirety of the National Finals in one day is very ambitious, but we will do everything in our power to make sure teams know exactly where to go and when to be there.
Finally, please understand that aside from the fact that having games at these sites is going to be a lot of fun for all concerned, our sponsors have graciously provided the rooms free of charge. If I were to have the entirety of the Finals be at one site, it would be far more expensive and would result in a much higher entry for teams. The entry fees have yet to be determined, but will likely be around $350-$400, which is a very reasonable price for ten guaranteed games at fun sites, with scholarship and other prizes available for the top teams.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

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