By Renee Larr
Carmel Middle School eighth grader John Mikucki recently finished as the runner up in the Indiana Geographic Bee at IUPUI.
The competition tests students’ knowledge of geographic terms and places. It also aims to encourage teachers to include the subject in their curriculum and spark an interest in students. Children in fourth through eighth grade participate.
Mikucki first won the CMS geography bee and then had to take an online test to compete at the state level. The top 100 students in Indiana were invited to the state bee.
“Ten (students) make it to the finals, so 90 kids got to go home early,” said Peggy Lehman, a CMS social studies teacher and geography bee coordinator. “It’s a pretty big deal for him make it even as far as he did.”
Students prepare for the test in a variety of ways, Lehman said.
“I printed a list of the major mountains, rivers, and capitals and studied those,” Mikucki said.
“I know John was busy memorizing capitals. There are all kinds of online geography games. A lot of the kids that have been winners in the past like to read a lot. They pay attention to current events. Kids that usually do well in the geography bee do those two things,” Lehman said.
Mikucki missed qualifying for the national competition by one question. The winning question was: What is the capital of Wales? (The answer: Cardiff)
Mikucki said he feels lucky to have gotten so far in the competition.
“I’m very happy and very surprised with the results,” he said. “Everyone was really knowledgeable and performed really well.”
The National Geography Bee will be held in Washington D.C. May 22 to 25 and will air on PBS. To learn more, visit nationalgeographic.com/geobee.