'Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?' is a tough question

Teaching Your Child

Teaching Your Child

January 18, 2008|By LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

We had played several rounds of our new board game, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?," and my seventh-grader was making a clean sweep of the board.

If you think it makes sense that a seventh-grader could answer first- through fifth-grade questions, you've probably never played the game. Some of the questions in this game, which is based on the popular television show, are tough.

As my son was reading the $1,000,000 question, I thought he might get it right:

"What is the force of resistance encountered when one object is moved in contact with the surface of another?"

He started rolling the tips of his fingers on his forehead, which usually is a sign that he's stuck and is trying to pull the answer out of his head.

"Potential energy" was his response.

At least he was in the right ballpark. A common fifth-grade science unit focuses on potential energy, kinetic energy and the role friction plays in each.


The correct answer was friction.

"Oh, now I remember," he said.

A lot can happen in two years, you know. It's easy to forget what you've learned.

At least that's my excuse whenever one of my kids ask me a question about something I learned in junior high or high school. That was a long time ago.

One of the joys of parenting is re-learning information as your kids learn it in school.

I have enjoyed playing "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader" with my children and their friends. It's a good way to learn and review grade-level concepts.

So how would you do in the game?

The questions

Try to answer these questions, which are actual ones from the board game:

1. Blue + red = what color? (First-grade art)

2. Who wrote Poor Richard's Almanac? (First-grade social studies)

3. True or False: The Declaration of Independence was signed in Boston. (Second-grade social studies)

4. What was Peter Cottontail hippity-hopping down? (Second-grade reading)

5. "Yikes! I'm late for class." What part of speech is the word "Yikes"? (Third-grade English)

6. True or False: Mother turtles teach their baby turtles how to swim. (Third-grade animal science)

7. The magnificent Taj Mahal is in what country? (Fourth-grade geography)

8. Who wrote the novel "Robinson Crusoe"? (Fourth-grade English)

9. What does the term "a cappella" mean? (Fifth-grade music)

10. Starting from an egg, a butterfly goes through four stages in its life cycle. What immediately follows the caterpillar stage? (Fifth-grade life science)

11. What is the sum of the angles of a square? ($1,000,000 question)

12. A number that is divided by another number is called what? ($1,000,000 question)

The answers

Check your responses with these answers:

1. Purple

2. Benjamin Franklin

3. False. It was signed in Philadelphia.

4. The bunny trail

5. Interjection

6. False (Turtles know how to swim instinctively.)

7. India

8. Daniel Defoe

9. Singing without instruments

10. Chrysalis or pupa

11. 360 degrees

12. Dividend

How did you do? If you didn't get all 12 correct, you don't have to say, "I'm not smarter than a fifth-grader." Tell your kids there's just too much in your head and you can't remember it all at once.

They won't believe you, but you'll probably make them smile.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

The Herald-Mail Articles