Williamsport students use games to study for tests

April 01, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WILLIAMSPORT -- Todd Draper is college educated, but he said Monday that he expected to be beaten in a trivia challenge by a group of fifth-graders.

Draper, of Williamsport, was a contestant in Williamsport Elementary School's version of "Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?" The game was meant to help prepare third-, fourth- and fifth-graders for Maryland School Assessments this week and next.

"I guess we just wanted something to boost their morale," Principal Jana Palmer said.

Last year, students participated in a version of the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" to prepare for the state exams.

Judy Kerns, a student achievement specialist at the school, said she created the games to help prepare students for the reading and math questions on the assessments.


Draper, whose son Luke is a fifth-grader at the school, won the grand prize Monday, proving he was smarter than a fifth-grader after answering most of his questions correctly.

Contestants were able to use three "cheats," including copying off of a student or peeking at a student's response, if they did not know the answer.

Draper missed one question. It asked if two triangles were congruent when they had the same size and shape. Draper said he thought congruent had the same size angles.

"I was amazed," he said, referring to the information fifth-graders are expected to know.

Draper was able to ask for help from about eight fifth-grade students during the game, while the rest of the school's fifth-graders participated from the audience.

Fifth-grader Christopher Pike said he was hoping he wasn't going to be wrong when Draper asked him for help. Draper was able to "peek" at Christopher's answer, which was correct.

Draper was asked the next shape in a sequence, which would have had six sides. Christopher answered correctly that it would be a hexagon.

Some of the students said they were nervous before participating in the game, but all said it was a fun way to prepare for the exams.

"If I got a first-grade question wrong, I was going to be so embarrassed," fifth-grader Madison Knode said.

Most said they knew the answers to the questions and had covered the material in class.

Elena Young, a fifth-grader, said she believed Draper was going to lose, saying that contestants on the televised game show typically are not smarter than the students.

"Usually on the show, nobody is smarter than a fifth-grader," she said.

The following are sample questions from Monday's "Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?" game at Williamsport Elementary:

1. Which word has a suffix?
A. Whitewash
B. Bicycle
C. Neatness
D. React

2. A pool is 9 feet deep. What other measurement is equal to 9 feet?
A. 2 yards
B. 3 yards
C. 3 feet
D. 100 inches

3. A rhombus is a quadrilateral

4. What is the root word of satisfaction?
A. Satisfy
B. Faction
C. Saturation
D. Action

Answers: 1. C; 2. B; 3. True; 4. A.

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