Knowledge Bowl gets ready for their season this Winter
November 30, 2022
New Ulm High School hosts an after-school Knowledge Bowl team and has over 50 students currently participating in a jeopardy-like team game of knowledge. To Knowledge Bowl participants, however, the competition means so much more. That description alone leaves a lot to be answered, so let me ask: What is Knowledge Bowl?
Knowledge Bowl is one of the competitive student activities offered at NUHS, but many wouldn’t consider it a sport. Mr. Bute, the Knowledge Bowl coach, stated that they’re many similarities between KB and organized team sports. Like a sport, Knowledge Bowl develops confidence and commitment within its members and teaches teamwork, discipline, and communication. “I think they teach the same things, they just use a different modality- a different environment to do it.” Despite the same lesson being taught, the actual ‘action’ of Knowledge Bowl is quite different.
This year NUHS Knowledge Bowl will be ‘fielding’ 10 teams, with each team consisting of five members.
Each team has to go through five rounds of two different types, Written and Oral. The Written round consists of sixty questions in a multiple-choice quiz format, where a team must use their knowledge to work together and figure out the correct answers. They are given their points out of sixty and are then assigned a room in which they will compete against two other teams in the Oral rounds.
The Oral Rounds are the most widely known part of Knowledge Bowl. Three teams group together in a room, all with a “buzzer”. The buzzer is a long green strip that, when pressed, rings in that they’ve answered. One of the three people hosting the room will read a question. As soon as someone buzzes in, the reader will stop and the team that buzzed in will get 15 seconds to try to answer the question with the information they received. If they do not answer in time or if they answer incorrectly, the reader goes back and rereads the question from the start. If a team buzzes in while another team’s 15 seconds are going, they will then have to answer at the end of that team’s 15 seconds. There are 45 questions in each round, and most competitions, or ‘Meets’ as they are called, have 3-4 oral rounds. At the end of the meet, the points are tallied up and whoever has the highest score wins.
However, despite all this, Knowledge Bowl has found a way to mean something much more to its participants. It’s a place to spend some time with friends. It’s a place to build up confidence and recognize your strengths. It provides an environment like no other, where you can figure out how much you truly know and how much you are capable of. It’s been somewhat of a place of home for many students, which shows in at least one Knowledge Bowl team making its way to the state meet every year in recent memory.
This however is far from the norm according to Mr. Bute. He says that some schools might not have a team make it to state for 20+ years.
Knowledge Bowl was not always like this, though. When Mr. Bute took over Knowledge Bowl in 2006, there were only four students participating. Since then Knowledge Bowl has grown in popularity and participants to where it is today.
Knowledge Bowl has remained an important part of the NUHS culture. It is no surprise to those who participate how fun and enjoyable a competitive game of academic knowledge can be.