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Iowa Public Television


Iowa Student Will Participate in the National Geographic Bee

May 18, 2011

The city of Bangalore, located west of the Eastern Ghats, is a fast-growing technology hub in what country?


Answering this question (India) can be difficult enough for most non-social studies teachers, let alone for a seventh grade student. Knowing the answer to this type of question is what has allowed Ian Klopfenstein of Franklin Middle School in Cedar Rapids to advance to this year's championships for the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., on May 25.


Each year thousands of schools from across the country participate in local geography bees with materials supplied by the National Geographic Society. The school-level winners take a qualifying test, and the National Geographic Society selects winners from each state and surrounding U.S. territories for the final competition. The contest works to spark excitement and interest in social studies, geography, and world literacy among middle school students and the general public.


So how does a seventh grade student prepare for a national competition? Dianna Geers, Franklin Middle School's PACT (Program for Academic and Creative Talent) coordinator and one of Ian's teachers, says that even though Ian is naturally curious and knowledgeable about a great number of subjects, he's still studying diligently for this year’s Bee. "He's been prepping quite a bit lately. He's always looking at and studying  maps," says Geers.


Having a familiar background with world currencies or a prior knowledge of city populations, locations, and events can only be so beneficial, however. "Even though I have been helping him prep by giving him a variety of materials to study, I can’t teach him everything," says Geers. Instead, Ian's teacher imparts that the process of studying is what is important.  "No fact is too little; hard work is never wasted because you never know what's going to come up."


If Ian makes it past the preliminary rounds, he then has the opportunity to compete in the final competition for a $25,000 scholarship and an all expenses paid trip to the Galapagos Islands. Iowa Public Television will broadcast the final competition on June 24, at 1:00 p.m.


If you have any questions of how to participate in future Geographic Bees and want more information, be sure to check out National Geo's website, where you can find sample quizzes, interactives, videos, and more.

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