November 21, 2006

Brain Quest Trivia

Camille's mom recently sent Brain Quest quiz cards for the kids. Believing our kids are ahead of their peers, she bought the second and third grade editions.

I didn't think I'd like these, but I do. They're just booklets of questions—sort of a Trivial Pursuit for the grammar school set. The questions vary widely in difficulty and style, so a question like “What's the math term for 6 in this problem: 6+4=10?” (the “addend”) might be followed by “What kind of number is 67: odd or even?”

Camille pulls these out for oral quizzes while the kids eat lunch, and the uneven difficulty actually serves as a motivator. They know that if they're stumped by two hard ones in a row, there's still a chance that the next question will be easy. The topics include grammar and math, light history and geography, logic, and science.

We make no effort to have the children memorize the answers. Instead the Brain Quest cards:

  1. Reinforce and give the kids a chance to show off what they already know. Nathaniel proudly recalled how to add dimes by counting by ten, for example, and Jessica beamed when she remembered that it was Abraham Lincoln who ended slavery.

  2. Serve as springboards for discussion. After Jessica correctly answered that the wind causes waves in the ocean, I reminded the children that we had heard on the news about a tidal wave caused by an underwater earthquake. Soon we were onto plate tectonics.

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