“Buzz!” Students put speed and brains to the test


Caroline Raleigh

Knowledge bowl participants split into groups and get ready to practice trivia!

Sometimes it’s not, in fact, who you know, but instead, what you know.

Knowledge Bowl is one of our many extracurricular activities here at Columbia Heights High School (CHHS). Knowledge Bowl’s sister activity, Science Bowl, is also offered at CHHS. Many of the activities that are offered in CHHS are competition-based (i.e, tournaments, games, competitions or meets). These are also among the most underrated activities that also help students learn through trivia-based practices and competitions.

Knowledge Bowl is a competitive trivia game where each team has only 15 seconds to answer any question they’re given at a meet. The questions can be about anything ranging  from logic and numbers to critical thinking and reasoning. These questions can also cover current events around the world. In order to answer these questions, an electronic strip is placed on the table or desk pod in front of the students. Knowledge Bowl members must press the strip and quickly answer correctly to gain points. 

The Knowledge Bowl team attends their meets at other schools periodically throughout the year. This is where they will go into groups of four to five with their teammates. Due to the CHHS team’s small size, they don’t need to separate into more than two teams like other schools’ teams. The rounds are, more commonly, just verbal as described above, but there is the occasional math-related question that needs to be done on paper in order to check work after buzzing in.

“Knowledge Bowl has helped me improve [my trivia skills],” Ernad Osmanvic (12) said. “It would either have to be learning from what we as a group get wrong or being able to try and find an answer in a short amount of time, so it has helped me pace myself.”

Led by CHHS social studies and AVID teacher Ms. Erin Edwardson Stern, Knowledge Bowl has around three total competitions throughout the year.

Science Bowl is another trivia-based competition specifically focused on all things science. 

Much like the Knowledge Bowl, the Science Bowl team attends competitions such as the one they went to on January 28 at Minnetonka High School, and while sadly, they did not win, they had a really good opportunity to showcase their knowledge and teamwork skills. 

Science Bowl has a very interesting history at CHHS. It has been an annual opportunity for students for 20 years now, originally funded by the 21st Century Knowledge Grant. This is the first year that CHPS was able to offer the Science Bowl district funding for competitions. 

“The state competition was really fun,” Mohammad Khalid (12) said. “It allowed us to compete with other schools and test our knowledge. It was reassuring to see we are able to hold our own with some of the best schools in the state.”

 Overall, these activities help students learn new things and retain information that they have already learned. Knowledge and Science Bowl also encourage students to get more comfortable with answering questions quickly as well as public speaking. If either of these activities seem interesting to you, make sure to talk to Ms. Edwardson Stern or Ms. Candella about joining.