What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

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Matt Weiner
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by Matt Weiner »

On the other hand, there are very popular activities that go along with certain subjects (Mathcounts was mentioned; I think you can also expect at least 1 person per game room to have participated in something like Certamen or National Latin Exam) which open the door to the low-level canons in those areas.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by dxdtdemon »

everyday847 wrote:
quantumfootball wrote:Anyway, I remember taking part in a written mythology competiton for late elementary school/early middle schoolers. While it was almost entirely Greco-Roman stuff, there was a portion of the test that you had to do one of a certain number of categories of "other" myth. I was just wondering if this was a fairly common competition that still exists, and if so, there might be more of a mythology canon than just the most famous gods and heroes.
It would be pretty unreasonable, in our situation, to conceive of a middle school canon assuming that a nonnegligible fraction of middle schoolers do this competition; it'll just depress conversion rates. Otherwise the high school canon would be designed for National Ocean Science Bowl-Science Olympiad-Mathcounts-Model UN participants.
Well, I was about to make a response that pretty much mimiced what Matt Weiner said, but since you can't delete posts on here, I'll leave it. Anyway, I don't remember what the competition was called, although it was probably the National Mythology Exam that Aidan mentioned.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by the return of AHAN »

Matt Weiner wrote:On the other hand, there are very popular activities that go along with certain subjects (Mathcounts was mentioned; I think you can also expect at least 1 person per game room to have participated in something like Certamen or National Latin Exam) which open the door to the low-level canons in those areas.
I have a few MS players who double as Certamen players and they are VERY tough on mythology questions. At our last practice, I used three mythology bonuses from the 2007 SwordBowl and two were swept, including parts about Laestrygons and Geryon. Thanatos and Yama, however, stumped them.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I'm just chiming in to point out that I don't believe either of those activities are as widely participated in as Matt suggests. Going to middle school in the most affluent district in Kansas City where they always went out of their way to bring in evidence that they were elite, I would expect them to have had clubs for either of those activities if they were that widespread, but this is the first time I've ever heard of them. I would not be shocked if those have a regional aspect to them.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

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Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I'm just chiming in to point out that I don't believe either of those activities are as widely participated in as Matt suggests. Going to middle school in the most affluent district in Kansas City where they always went out of their way to bring in evidence that they were elite, I would expect them to have had clubs for either of those activities if they were that widespread, but this is the first time I've ever heard of them. I would not be shocked if those have a regional aspect to them.
Let alone the National Latin Exam, I don't know if you can gather a room of eight middle school quizbowlers and be so sure that one of them took Latin at all.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by the return of AHAN »

everyday847 wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I'm just chiming in to point out that I don't believe either of those activities are as widely participated in as Matt suggests. Going to middle school in the most affluent district in Kansas City where they always went out of their way to bring in evidence that they were elite, I would expect them to have had clubs for either of those activities if they were that widespread, but this is the first time I've ever heard of them. I would not be shocked if those have a regional aspect to them.
Let alone the National Latin Exam, I don't know if you can gather a room of eight middle school quizbowlers and be so sure that one of them took Latin at all.
True, but you should still be able to toss-up the Olympians and use some of the more obscure ones for your hard bonus parts. As for non-Greco-Roman topics, we toss-upped 'Ragnarok' in the finals of the Barrington Tourney and it got scored in 3 of the 4 rooms still playing.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by dxdtdemon »

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I'm just chiming in to point out that I don't believe either of those activities are as widely participated in as Matt suggests. Going to middle school in the most affluent district in Kansas City where they always went out of their way to bring in evidence that they were elite, I would expect them to have had clubs for either of those activities if they were that widespread, but this is the first time I've ever heard of them. I would not be shocked if those have a regional aspect to them.
Yeah, I think that the school district I went to (maybe around the third or fourth most prestigious school district in the Dayton area) only did the National Mythology Exam every few years as a motive to have a mythology unit in the gifted pullout program. I honestly have no idea how popular it is. I do know that at the high school level, that they had a Certamen team and participated in the National Latin Exam.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by at your pleasure »

I mean, my MS did a unit on greco-roman mythology. I do remember having a bit of material on Renaissance art in 7th grade, so that can be talked about. Here, it might be better to talk about broad things than specific works. For instance, a tossup on prespective(assuming it can be written well, which I will try to do) would work for middle school. That said, I think stuff like the Ghent Altarpiece is definitely askable for middle school.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Really?
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

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Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Really?
No
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by at your pleasure »

Really?
What does the "really" refer to? Admittedly, my statement that the Ghent altarpiece is askable is based on the fact that I remeber it being discussed in my middle school social studies class.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by cvdwightw »

The fact remains that, as is evidenced by this discussion, the middle school curriculum is highly variable between states, districts, and even individual schools and teachers. Thus, "I covered it in middle school" is not a valid argument for inclusion in the middle school canon. Due to IB/AP exams and other stuff like that, the high school curriculum (at least for an advanced student) is much more formalized and similar from state to state; thus, "I learned it in high school" is much more likely to be valid.

Throughout this discussion, the only thing we've clearly agreed on is that American history, some kind of life science, and algebra are all taught at the middle school level; whereas we have a much clearer picture of what is taught at the high school level.

In some respects, defining the middle school canon is a lot like defining the college canon - it's not so much "what is taught at this level" but "what can we reasonably expect an interested, engaged individual to know at this level."
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

cvdwightw wrote:In some respects, defining the middle school canon is a lot like defining the college canon - it's not so much "what is taught at this level"but "what can we reasonably expect an interested, engaged individual to know at this level."
This is very true, both because middle schools don't typically teach a ton of material with a lot of quizbowl potential, and because if we were to try to find common ground, we'd have to take a common denominator that leaves us with too little. So it's a better idea to look outside the classroom, since middle schoolers interested in quizbowl at a young age are probably interested precisely because they're learning stuff and have heard of stuff.
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Re: What does/should the middle school canon consist of?

Post by David Riley »

Agreed with both of the above....we're a private school of 2000 high school students with some 200 feeder schools in 80 different communities. For a number of years we've hosted a middle school tournament, and the range of programs is such that it's very difficult to find a middle school set of questions that isn't going to be too easy at one end or too difficult at the other.
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