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Promoting Geography in Schools

Because the earth bulges at the equator, which mountain peak on the earth is farthest from the earth’s center?

Don’t know the answer? Well, 12-year-old Sathwik Karnik from Massachusetts answered correctly at the 25th annual National Geographic Bee on May 22, 2013. Karnik walked away with a $25,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.

Photo courtesy National Geographic

GeoBee winner Sathwik Karnik celebrates with family.
Photo courtesy National Geographic

According to National Geographic’s website, the National Geographic Bee, hosted by Alex Trebeck of Jeopardy!,  is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography.

According to a 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress report in USA Today, fewer than 1 in 3 U.S. students are proficient in geography. Just 20 percent of high school seniors were found to be proficient or better, compared with 27% of eighth-graders and 21% of fourth-graders.

The GeoBee is one of National Geographic’s ways to help students become more “geo-literate.” Geo-literacy is a term adopted by National Geographic, which describe the understanding of how our world works that all members of modern society require.

To promote geography among students, elementary and middle schools from all across the country participate in Geo Bees at the primary level before the winners move onto primaries in Washington, D.C. The top ten winners at primaries compete in finals, which is filmed and aired on National Geographic Channel.

This year, the top ten finalists were:

  • Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, California
  • Pranit Nanda, Colorado
  • Ricky Uppaluri, Georgia
  • Conrad Oberhaus, Illinois
  • Sathwik Karnik, Massachusetts
  • Neha Middela, Michigan
  • Neelam Sandhu, New Hampshire
  • Harish Palani, Oregon
  • Akhil Rekulapelli, Virginia
  • Asha Jain, Wisconsin

National Geographic also hosts the National Geographic World Championship every other year. This year, the championship was in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Out of the eighteen countries that competed in the championship, the United States came out on top.

Think you have what it takes to compete in the National Geographic Bee 2014? Try answering these questions


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