Brain game

High school teams put smarts to the test

- October 18, 2007


Want to know where you'd stack up?

This year, audience members can participate along with the contestants using their own remote clickers during the final round. Here are some questions to get you warmed up the competition:

1. A two-metre long ladder stands vertically against a wall. The bottom of the
ladder is pulled away from the wall till the ladder is horizontal, and the top of the ladder stays in contact with the wall. Describe the curve that the midpoint of the ladder follows.
a. A straight line
b. A quarter circle with centre at the point (1,1)
c. A hyperbola with centre at the point (2,2)
d. A quarter circle with centre at the point (0,0)
2. John Keats tells us in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" that "Beauty is truth, and truth beauty."   This assertion illustrates what mathematical property?
a. Commutative
b. Distributive
c. Associative
d. Reflexive

3. Come si chiamano le due grandi isole italiane?
a. Corsica e Crete
b. Sicilia e Sardegna
c. Crete e Sardegna
d. Malta e Sardegna

4. Which ancient Greek wrote the oath that is still sworn today by newly qualified
a. Socrates
b. Hippocrates
c. Aristotle
d. Plato

5. Qui a dit, "Je pense donc je suis."
 a. Molière
 b. Descartes
 c. Pascal
 d. Lafontaine

Answers: 1: d, a quarter circle with center at the point (0,0); 2: d, reflexive ; 3: b, Sicilia e Sardegna; 4: b, Hippocrates; 5: b, Descartes

If you thought the questions on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? were tough, strap on a heavy-duty thinking cap for Reach for Dalhousie.

Reach for Dalhousie is based on the old TV game show Reach for the Top that ran on CBC-TV in the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s. In the Dalhousie version, teams from Maritime high schools compete for bragging rights and full scholarships.

The competition is set for Friday, Nov. 2 and it promises to be ferocious.

“The calibre of participants has been high from the very beginning,” says Peter O’Brien, chair of Reach for Dalhousie. “But as the event repeats year by year and we host returning teams and attract new ones, it only stands to reason that the levels of competitiveness increase.”

Reach for Dalhousie provides students with an engaged campus experience and helps to showcase Dalhousie’s attributes, says Dr. O’Brien, professor in the Department of Classics. “Because the contestants are in an collegial academic setting and are interacting intellectually both with each other and Dal faculty, they're getting a real taste of the kind of learning and teaching that goes on here,”  he says.

Following the format of previous years, the preliminary competitions will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Killam Library and take place on computers using Blackboard Learning Systems (BLS), a web-based program used at Dalhousie. Team members co-operate in answering multiple choice questions on a broad range of subjects contributed by Dalhousie faculty, librarians, archivists, curators and administrators.

The top eight teams, as determined by both accuracy and speed, will advance to the next round of the competition in the Rowe Management Building.

Advanced rounds take a different format. Teams compete head-to-head and respond to questions asked by a Master of Ceremonies. Team members record their answers using individual hand-held response units (clickers). Team members can discuss potential answers and respond with the same answer or they can elect to respond individually.

Reach for Dalhousie is serious business. For many teams, preparations begin a year in advance. Last year’s champion Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School has already registered and is hunkering down to defend its title. Will they remain champions or will Cobequid Education Centre, winners in 2004 and 2005, recapture the title?


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