Last updated: January 22. 2014 7:44AM - 1039 Views
By - eparnell@civitasmedia.com



Geography Bee participants were, back row from the left, Kade Morris, Abby Nunley, Makayla Wright, Jacie Smith, Christopher Merkle, Marissa Oviedo, Mya Larsen and Emma Chapman. Front row are, from the left, Maria Ortiz, Mary Bedenbaugh, Danielle Ballentine, Caleb Fulmer, Ian Willetts, Emma Bundrick, Emma Wicker and Peyton Amick.
Geography Bee participants were, back row from the left, Kade Morris, Abby Nunley, Makayla Wright, Jacie Smith, Christopher Merkle, Marissa Oviedo, Mya Larsen and Emma Chapman. Front row are, from the left, Maria Ortiz, Mary Bedenbaugh, Danielle Ballentine, Caleb Fulmer, Ian Willetts, Emma Bundrick, Emma Wicker and Peyton Amick.
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LITTLE MOUNTAIN — Little Mountain Elementary School students had the opportunity to participate in the school’s first geography bee in 11 years on Jan. 10. There were 16 students in grades fourth and fifth that participated.


Teacher at LME, Paige Rister was one of the main faculty members in charge of setting up for this year’s geography bee. Rister said she was chosen to organize the event because she handles the National Geographic materials for the school. She is also the geography club adviser for the fourth and fifth graders at the elementary school.


Kimberly Mack, principal of LME was the judge of the bee, while Susan Dawkins, fifth grade teacher, was the time keeper for the competition. Teresa Owens, fourth grade teacher was the score keeper for the bee, while Kelly Malloy and Rister were moderators, asking each student questions.


Most of the students that participated in the bee were members of the school’s geography club, where Rister said they prepared by taking practice quizzes online from National Geographic. They also used atlas reference books and other hands-on activities to study continents, countries, states, and bodies of water around the globe.


Students not in the geography club, had the option to prepare by using other practice materials.


Contestants were each asked a question during seven preliminary competition rounds in the school’s auditorium. Questions in the bee could range from cities, states, countries, bodies of water, and anything relating to geography, according to Rister.


The participants had 15 seconds to give their responses, which were stated to be correct or incorrect. Similar to a game show, points were tallied after seven rounds, choosing the top 10 scoring students to move on to the final competition. If a student missed two questions, they were asked to leave the stage.


The top two students, Ian Willetts and Kade Morris competed in the competition round, after the other students had been eliminated. The two boys were both asked the same three questions, each writing their answers down before reading them aloud. Answering the most questions, Willetts was the school’s geography bee champion, with Morris being second runner up.


“I think it is important in this day and age to raise awareness of geography and the world in which we live,” Rister said. “We must understand our past to see how far we have all come, and understanding continents, oceans, and other countries helps our students grasp this concept.”


Willetts said he was very excited to win the bee and never expected to be the winner.


“I couldn’t believe I won, was my thought when Mrs. Rister gave me the certificate and Mrs. Mack put the medal around my neck,” Willetts said.


Willetts said his social studies classes at LME helped prepare him for the bee. “I remembered looking at an Atlas to study and understand where all the places in world are before the bee,” he said.


“I am so proud of our boys and girls that participated in The Little Mountain Elementary’s Geography Bee,” said Mack. “Many of the questions were extremely difficult, yet our students stayed focused and persevered. I would like to thank fourth grade social studies teacher, Paige Rister, for her dedication to the Geography Bee. Mrs. Rister provided a meaningful learning experience for our young adults.”


Elyssa Parnell may be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108.


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