This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A group of fifth and sixth graders in Davis County know more about the U.S. Constitution than their parents.
The event was sponsored by the Adelaide Elementary PTA and organized by founder Becky Paulson. Standing in front of flag-covered walls, teams participated in a double-elimination competition and progressed through multiple rounds. The first- and third-place teams were from Adelaide Elementary and the second-place team was from Valley View Elementary.
Eight schools participated in the event, seven from Davis County and the Dual Immersion Academy from Salt Lake County. This was the second year the bowl took place.
Valerie Mills, instructor for the Adelaide Elementary schoolwide enrichment program, worked with advanced learners from Adelaide, teaching them about the constitution and preparing them for the bowl. All the teachers who were invited to participate were given the 94 questions in advance.
Enrichment teachers focus on applying rigor to the school curriculum.
"This was the perfect opportunity for teaching students about the Constitution," Mills said. "It was a positive for everyone who participated. Everyone who entered learned about the Constitution. Each student was given a ribbon and a certificate."
Learning continued throughout the quiz bowl as students who did not know the answer listened to students who did.
"My students are so excited. They can discuss current events and feel empowered knowing what their rights are as they connect to the Constitution," Mills said.
Emily Garcia, a fifth-grade teacher from Dual Immersion Academy in Salt Lake City, said the program worked well for her students.
"I used the curriculum for my entire class so they would all benefit," she said. Garcia asked for volunteers to participate in the competition, and five students rose to the challenge. "I think for students who are proactive about studying and learning, the bowl is a good opportunity to show what they've learned," she said.
Paulson worked with students as a parent volunteer to get the bowl organized. She described the bowl as a good method for students to learn about the Constitution's history and contents.
"When it's done, these students have a really good understanding of what is in the Constitution. By the end, they know all seven Articles of the Constitution and the 27 amendments," Paulson said.
Matthew Forsgren, a sixth grader at Adelaide, was part of the winning team.
"I know more about the government and the Constitution than my parents. There is so much that people don't know. When I watch the news, I hear stories about things they are trying to put into the state's constitution and I think it's pointless because there is something already there that is probably not enforced," he said.
Sixth grader Jacob Trader's parents are impressed with his newfound knowledge. Trader doesn't plan to quit studying the Constitution just because the competition is over.
"It's really interesting. Some people in the country have never studied the Constitution and don't know what it's about. I'm going to keep studying and get a deeper knowledge," he said.