• Events for 5th grade
     
    Art Smart
     
    This contest involves the study of paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and paintings or pictures from selected Texas museums. The Art Smart Bulletin, published every other year, is the source for study of history and art elements relative to the 40 art selections and is the final authority in the spelling of artists' names and titles of art works. As part of their study, students will demonstrate an understanding of art history and interpret ideas and moods in original artworks while making informed judgments about the artwork.

    Part A of the contest requires the contestant to identify the names of 15 selected artists and titles of pictures selected randomly by the director from the official list of 40 pictures. Part B consists of 30 questions about art history and art elements characteristic of the 40 art selections.

    Both divisions (grades 4-6, grades 7-8) use the same prints and bulletin, but different tests are provided for each division.

    Chess
     Contest Format
    • Chess Puzzle is offered for grades 2-8 in three divisions: grades 2-3, grades 4-5 and grades 6-8. As with other A+ events, districts may choose to structure with these as combined divisions or may choose to offer a separate division for each individual grade level.
    • Each division will take a 30-minute objective test plus a separate 10-minute tiebreaker section. A different test is provided for each of the three divisions. The tiebreaker section is identical for ALL divisions.
    • All Chess Puzzle test questions are now multiple-choice format, to allow for a broader scope of questions and increase the educational value of the contest (and make grading even easier).
    • Scoring is simple. For the main test section, contestants receive one point for each correct answer. There are no deductions for incorrect or unanswered questions. For the tiebreaker section, there is a 1.25 point deduction for each incorrect answer to facilitate breaking ties (still no deductions for unanswered questions). All grade levels will take the same tiebreaker section. Tiebreakers need only be graded for contestants actually involved in a tie.

    Study and practice resources

    There are thousands of other chess web sites available online, many that include chess puzzles, and many that are designed for kids.

    What is Chess Puzzle Solving?

    The benefits of chess are well documented for players of all ages, and especially for young people. Chess teaches problem solving, hones concentration and encourages analytical and strategic thinking. Chess can be a lifelong pursuit.

    Chess puzzle competition is very different from tournament chess play. Contestants in a chess puzzle contest receive a paper-and-pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. The contestant must then determine the fewest moves to checkmate given that particular board layout. Time is also a factor - contestants are scored based on the most puzzles solved in the least amount of time. See below for a sample test.

    A chess puzzle event provides an avenue for chess participation that does not require the time and resources of actual tournament play. The fixed time limit makes it practical to include in a district meet schedule, and the availability of free resources allows any school (including those that do not currently have chess programs) to include chess puzzle in their slate of A+ events at minimal cost.

     
    Dictionary Skills
     
    Thorough knowledge of the dictionary is a way to increase a student's ability to find the information that is needed for classwork as well as everyday living. The subject matter of all tests is taken from the Merriam Webster's Intermediate Dictionary, 2004 and subsequent editions. Contestants may use other dictionaries in the contest, but the contest subject matter will be found in Webster's Intermediate.
     
    Each test consists of approximately 40 objective and short answer questions to be completed in 20 minutes. Contestants use dictionaries during the competition, which may be tabbed. Contest questions cover word origins and histories, parts of speech, pronunciation, variant spellings, plurals, alphabetizing and other such elements. Test questions are also taken from charts, tables and lists contained in the dictionary.
     
     
    Listening Skills
     
    The listening contest is designed to help students in grades 5,6,7 and 8 recognize the importance of effective listening skills and to identify problems they may have in listening effectively. It also provides a challenging format to test the improvement of their listening abilities. Through preparation for the contest, participants will listen actively to a variety of material and learn to analyze and evaluate a speaker's message critically. Tests will include, but not necessarily be limited to, language arts, fine arts, natural sciences and social studies. The objective tests will measure skills such as identifying the main idea and supporting ideas, drawing conclusions, distinguishing fact from opinion, and mastering other listening and thinking skills.
     
    Contestants will listen to a script ranging from seven to ten minutes in length, take notes as needed, and use their notes to answer 25 multiple choice, true/false and short answer test questions. A variety of subject matter will be used for the listening tests.
     
     
    Maps, Graphs and Charts
     
    The maps, graphs & charts contest is designed to help students learn to get information from a variety of maps, graphs and charts including world maps, pie charts, bar charts and local area maps. The objective test will measure skills such as using a reference book to locate information, making comparisons, estimating and approximating, using scale and interpreting grid systems, legends and keys.

    Students will be given an objective test containing approximately 75 multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions which must be answered in 45 minutes.

    For the 2007-08 school year, test writers will check all atlas questions against both the new 2008 editon and the previous 2003-05 edition of the Nystrom Desk Atlas - so any version of the atlas with a copyright 2003 or newer is current for this year's contests. Students may also use any other atlas they choose, but the test questions are written using this source.

     
    Music Memory

    The focus of the Music Memory contest is an in-depth study of fine pieces of music literature taken from a wide spectrum of music genres to expose students to great composers, their lives and their music. In the course of preparing for the contest, students should be given the opportunity to describe and analyze the music, relate the music to history, to society and to culture, and to evaluate musical performance.

    Students will listen to approximately 20 seconds of up to 20 musical selections and identify the name of the major work, selection and the name of the composer.

    To receive full credit for an answer, all information about the music selection must be complete as shown on the official list. Spelling and punctuation are considered in the grading of this contest. Please click on the Constitution and Contest Rules link below for a complete description of the Music Memory Contest.

     
    Number Sense
     
    Individuals are called upon every day to use their ability to make quick mental calculations to make decisions. The development of such abilities should be an integral part of the math curriculum. Concepts covered include, but are not limited to: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, proportions, and use of mathematic notation.

    Students will be given a 10-minute, fill-in-the-blank test which they must complete without doing calculations on paper or on a calculator. Erasures and mark-outs are not permitted.

    The handbook, Developing Middle School Number Sense Skills, is available. It is the same edition first published in 1996.

    Oral Reading
     
    Reading literature out loud provides opportunities for students to analyze the text, to grow and to develop as a performer, to communicate a message to an audience and to perform an artistic creation. The oral reading competition should be an extension of the classroom literary and language arts activities in poetry, short stories and children's fiction. See the link below for frequently asked questions about oral reading.

    Students in grades 4, 5, and 6 read a selection of poetry. Each selection may be one poem, a cutting of a poem, or a combination of poems. The same selection may be read in all rounds, but different selections are permissible. Selections must be published although the poet may be unknown or anonymous.

    Students in grades 7, 8, and 9 read selections of prose or poetry according to the following schedule:

    • 2007 - 08 -- poetry
    • 2008 - 09 -- prose
    • 2009 - 10 -- poetry
    Each may be a single reading, a cutting from a longer selection, or a combination of several selections. The same selection may be read in all rounds, but different selections are permissible. Selections must be published although the author may be unknown or anonymous. Prose readings may include sketches, fables, tales, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries and the like. The maximum time for each presentation is six minutes. The selection may be a cutting from a short story or novel of may be nonfiction
     
     
    Social Studies
     

    GENERAL CONTEST DESCRIPTION

    • Two divisions: grades 5/6, grades 7/8
    • 40 questions
    • 30 minutes
    • test topics defined by a study guide, to be updated yearly (see links below)
    • based on the TEKS for social studies
    • test content taken from state adopted text books and identified primary sources

    STUDY GUIDES (including primary sources)

     
    Spelling
     
    The spelling contest is designed to give students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 exposure to a wide variety of vocabulary words. It is not a contest of memorization. For the most educational value, preparation for this contest should include instruction in the rules of the English language, meanings and definitions, and root words. In addition to learning to spell proficiently, contestants will learn to write clearly and to capitalize words properly.

    Students will write down words given by the pronouncer on their paper at a rate of approximately five words per minute.
    (A) Grades 3 and 4: 50 words; tiebreaker, 25 words.
    (B) Grades 5 and 6: 80 words; tiebreaker, 30 words.
    (C) Grades 7 and 8: 110 words; tiebreaker, 40 words.
    The tiebreaker is given to all contestants immediately following the initial test.

    Tests will be fully compatible with the Merriam Webster's Intermediate Dictionary 1994 and subsequent editions.

    Ready Writing
     
    Texas has put a great emphasis on writing skills at all levels of school and all levels of state-wide testing. Ready Writing, a contest for students in grades 3,4,5,6,7 and 8, builds upon those skills and helps students refine their writing abilities. In particular, this contest helps them to learn to write clearly and correctly a paper that is interesting and original.

    A standard dictionary or thesaurus may be used during the contest.

    Contestants are given a choice between two prompts which defines the audience, and provides the purpose for writing. Students should be encouraged to analyze the prompts for the purpose of writing, the format, the audience and the point of view. The format may be, for example, a letter, an article for the newspaper or an essay for the principal. Various writing strategies may be stated or implied in the prompt. Some of these include:

    1. description to inform -- describe the happening or person/object from imagination or memory;
    2. narration -- write a story;
    3. persuasion -- describe and argue just one side of an issue; describe both sides of an issue then argue only one side; write an editorial; write a letter to persuade, etc.
    There is no minimum or maximum number of words the contestants must write.