Thursday, June 21, 2007

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

I'm largely a news junkie, but I occasionally find myself watching what the rest of the family enjoys. Lately, my family enjoys "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" (photo of one of the many participating students). The hit Fox show has the potential of making someone a millionaire, yet no one has achieved that lofty status. The kids -- all fifth graders -- look rather intimidating and being forced to declare that you are not "smarter than a fifth grader" if you lose would be enough of a deterrent for most sensible people to participate. But still, they seem to have plenty of participants.

I do fairly well each time I watch and I'm surprised by the number who bail out early. My kids say that the show proves how irrelevant modern education is, since people forget so much from their elementary years by the time they become adults. I believe most educators would argue that there is a large body of information we learn in school, that which many would call "cultural literacy." Some would keep some information, while others would remember other information, based on their interests, careers, and other factors.

It is interesting that many of my kids enjoy this show and are learning things they are suppose to be learning in school (something that doesn't always happen), so for that reason I have a some what friendly view of the program. Maybe schools would become far more successful if they conducted classes in a game show studio.

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