The Middle School Brain Bowl

In what country is Timbuktu located? Who was Japan’s longest-reigning emperor? Who wrote The Phantom Tollbooth? If you are able to answer these kinds of questions, plus many more in subjects ranging from art and science to history and current events, then Brain Bowl may be for you.

In February, nine ASIJ middle schoolers travelled to Aoba-Japan International School for the Brain Bowl competition. After months of preparation, practice and study, it was time to put that knowledge to use. The competition separates students into teams of four, with each student attending a different school. Although it’s a competition, Brain Bowl requires cooperation.

The first round challenges team members to communicate and problem solve together. It consists of 10-12 games, each with 12 questions to attempt. A correct answer is worth 1 point.

In the second round, two teams come up to the podium, competing against each other to answer as many questions as possible. Each team only tries to answer correctly for their own benefit, as a correct answer doesn’t affect the opposing team. In this style of gameplay your reaction time is key. After the teams are done, the points are tallied, with each right answer being worth 5 points. While the other teams wait, they are given crossword puzzles, which also count towards total points.

After a break for lunch, the third and final round is held. The topics addressed in this round are different every year. This year, activities included recognizing artists’ paintings, identifying inventions and matching authors with their books. I found this year’s third round to be the most challenging.

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Overall, we represented ASIJ in the first, second and fifth place teams this year. A big thanks to Mrs. Gesling, for obviously preparing us well. As a third year veteran of the Brain Bowl team, I have enjoyed this competition every year. As a sixth grader, I was nervous about my first time but, this year, I felt more confident now that I knew what to expect. The Brain Bowl competition and the practices leading up to it have been a memorable part of my middle school experience. (Noah Joroff, Grade 8)