Geography Bee Starts Again!

It is around this time of year that the school Geography Bees start up again across the country. Sponsored by the National Geographic Society, this competition tests the geographic intelligence of three million 4-8th grade students nationwide, with a primary goal of raising student interest and subject matter knowledge.

The statistics about geography literacy are sobering. In a study conducted by The Nation’s Report Card, back in 1994, 72% percent of eighth grade students across the United States lacked a proficient or higher ability level in geographic knowledge. In 2014, the amount of students without proficient knowledge in geography rose to 73% . The United States needs improvement in geographic proficiency, and increased involvement in the National Geographic Bee can help to close this knowledge gap.

This contest goes well beyond correctly naming the capitals of states and countries. Topics covered include physical and political geography, ecology and conservation, global economies, natural resources, current world events – as well as the work of awesome National Geographic Explorers. I think that the application of these many facts to test geographical analysis is an important new part of the competition.

The “Geo Bee” offers students with a passion for geography a chance to showcase their skills. More importantly, the Bee provides the ability to interact with fellow geo-nerds, as we affectionately call ourselves. This was my favorite part of the Bee, because I have made friends across the country who share the same love of geography. Even if geography isn’t your absolute favorite topic, I still encourage you to participate. The questions asked are interesting and entertaining, especially the “Weird but True” series that includes odd facts. Overall the Bee offers an exciting atmosphere and is an excellent opportunity for curious students, who seek to learn something new.

If you’re not involved this year, get involved next year!