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Battle of the brains: Knowledge Bowl events test middle school minds

students smiling and answering a question(02/22/2024) On Feb. 15, district middle school students participated in the Middle Grades Knowledge Bowl Regionals Meet at Northdale Middle School (NMS) to showcase not only their brain power but also their ability to work together as a team. In Anoka-Hennepin Schools, all six middle schools have teams that participate in Knowledge Bowl competitions throughout the school year.

The big picture: The Middle Grades Knowledge Bowl is a season of academic competitions where students in grades 6-8 answer questions about history, literature, mathematics, science, current events, and everything in between. Meets take place after school and begin with a written round where teams of six students cooperatively complete a 40-question multiple-choice test. Based on their test score, teams are placed into rooms where three teams of five students compete in three oral rounds to answer 45 questions read by a Knowledge Bowl coach or volunteer.

Champions are crowned in academic categories and the top five overall winners are recognized. Additional awards include: 

  • Triple Team Award - a school’s top three team scores.
  • Spirit Award - based on nominations for sportspersonship from the readers.
  • Rookie of the Year - a team consisting of only sixth graders.
  • Movin’ On Up - the team that makes the most rank jumps throughout the meet.

The regional meet: NMS hosted 55 teams from 17 metro middle schools for the Middle Grades Knowledge Bowl Regionals Meet. From Anoka-Hennepin, Anoka Middle School for the Arts, NMS and Coon Rapids and Jackson (JMS) middle schools had multiple teams participate in the event. Guided by a JMS team named ‘The Fermented Icecubes’ who placed fifth overall, there were seven teams from Anoka-Hennepin who finished in the top 20. ‘Northdale Team One’ were recipients of the Spirit Award. View photos from the regional meet at NMS.

What they’re saying: "Knowledge Bowl truly is a unique experience," said Shaun Felegy, a teacher and Knowledge Bowl advisor at NMS. "It is a meeting of the future doctors, lawyers, engineers, community leaders, and hopefully a few teachers. They are young, eager, and competitive. But they are also polite, graceful, and encouraging to their peers, judges, and hosts. It has been a great joy to be able to play a role in the lives of thousands of Knowledge Bowl students over the past 18 years!"

Inside the bowl: SparkPath (formerly Success Beyond the Classroom) hosts Knowledge Bowl and has a 30-plus year history of working with schools to provide relevant, highly-valued enrichment programs to students across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Every program is designed to accelerate discovery, ignite creativity and inspire confidence.

Senior bowl: Anoka-Hennepin also participates in the Senior High Knowledge Bowl. Andover, Anoka, Blaine and Champlin Park high schools all have teams, while Andover, Blaine and Champlin Park all qualified a squad for the Norlander Regional Meet on Feb. 29 at North St. Paul High School.