Seventh Grade Trivia

As I round the bend and head down the unexpected school year stretch, the final four weeks will be filled with excitement, anticipation, actions by students not thought through, sadness, gladness, push-and-pull, and at least a dozen bags of Smarties.

Smarties are my go-to for awards. I hand them out for the winning entry in “The Most Stupid Answer” contest, where I ask a question and encourager the students to think of the most ridiculous response possible for it. It takes some smarts to think really dumb.

Another Smart competition that happens daily is answering the daily trivia question. For that one I have the students work together as table-mates (3 or 4 sitting at a quad table) to provide an answer. Sometimes the answers are thought through and perspective…and sometimes they aren’t.

This past week I asked the question “What is the fruit that has the highest amount of sugar?” No one answered correctly in my first class, or my second class, or my third class. When my last class was given the question they talked to their table-mates about it. “Okay! Let’s start with Quad 1! What do you think?”

“Mango.”

“Quad 2?”

“Mango.”

“Quad 3?”

“Mango.”

“Quad 4?”

“Mango.”

“Quad 5?”

“Mango.”

Something was smelling and it wasn’t the aroma of a mango. I looked around the classroom at a crowd of smiling faces. “Okay! The correct answer is mango.” Cheers!

“So we all get Smarties?”

“Yes, but I’ve got a feeling you may have had some help in finding out that answer.”

Confession is good for the soul, and they all pointed at one girl in the class who had found out the answer from a friend who was in the first class of the day and informed all of her classmates about it.

“Does this mean we don’t get Smarties?” came the pitiful plea.

“No, I applaud your ingenious efforts at finding a way to discover the answer without really being knowledgable about the subject.” I passed out the Smarties and then said, “And I guess I’ll need to change the trivia question for you all from now on.” Guilty groans echoed through the room as they bit into their Smarties.

Yesterday I switched the question for them. The question was “how many pounds of cheese does the average American eat in a year?” The answer is 34 pounds, but no one in the class was within a block of cheddar of getting it right. In fact, one table’s answer was- get this!- 13,000 pounds a year! That averages out to 36.6 pounds of cheese consumed each day. That’s about half of the body weight of one of the boys in the class.

I said, “A person might as well put his bed down by the cheese aisle in the supermarket!” It could have been the winning answer to the Most Stupid Answer contest. Sometimes seventh-graders are right on target and sometimes they are like a balloon that you let loose and it goes crazy in the air as it dispenses its air.

At any rate, I hand out Smarties like Santa Claus hands out candy canes. I’ve still got about 250 Dum-Dum’s also, but the sucker isn’t conducive to our mask-wearing environment. My fear is that I’ll go to the supermarket and the Smarties shelf will be barren, picked clean, sold out. After all, I’ve only got a reserve supply of about 400!

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