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Civic Quiz Bowl

Planning Your Civic Quiz Challenge

Before you get started

(There is a Civic Quiz Preparation Checklist available on page 4 to guide you through the following steps.)

Define your audience

Figure out who in your community would benefit most from this information, and then decide what questions and materials are most appropriate for the group you will be presenting to. Add or edit questions as needed to make them fit with your community. You can even add questions specific to your area! (Example: “Name a local school board member” for local interest, or “How does the president get his or her job?” for younger kids)

Brainstorm the best way to reach them

Think of how you will find the groups of people you want to present to. Talk to people who may know of groups you can reach out to, or who may have the ability to arrange for time in a group meeting to be set aside for you. (Example: talk to your teachers, administrators, parents, or community leaders who may have groups that would be interested in your presentation)

Think about how to motivate participants

Come up with some reward that makes it fun for people to take part. Think about what questions and ways of asking them will be most interesting and exciting to your audience. You may need help from your school or a cooperating local organization to arrange this. (Example: classrooms of young students may want to compete for stickers, whole classes may want to compete against one another for a dress-down Friday, while adults may want to compete just to beat their friends, or for coupons that may be donated by local businesses)

Prepare to present

Practice as a group and share feedback. Make sure to decide how to score answers and choose winners!


Civic Quiz Challenge

Small Group (Classroom/Meeting) Game Show

Materials: Paper, printer (or markers and neat handwriting), an open wall or board where everyone can see, magnets or tape that won’t damage walls

Set-up:

  1. In a font large enough that an entire group will likely be able to read it, print one category (i.e. Voting and Elections, US Government, TX Government and Politics, Being Engaged and Socially Connected, Volunteering, Texas Civic Engagement) of questions per page.
  2. As large as you can, print one question per page.
  3. On the back of the question, write a point value (100 for an easier question, 300 for a harder question, etc.).
  4. Tape questions in a grid on a wall or board in the room with the points facing the group and the questions facing the wall. Be sure to keep them lined up by category!

Activity:

  1. Based on the number of rewards and participants in the room, break participants into groups or allow them to compete individually. If they are playing in teams, have them quickly decide on a team name and “buzzer” method (raise their hands, make a mutually agreed upon animal noise, etc.) that they will use to answer questions.
  2. Ask the first question to everyone in the room.  The first team to buzz in will be called on to answer.  The firs team to get the question right wins the points.
    • Note: For older participants, incorrect answers may lose points, but that would not be recommended for younger ones. 
  3. After the question has been answered (or if no one gets it correct), read the answer and the explanation to the whole group.
  4. After that, the team that got the question right chooses the next question.
  5. If possible, keep track of teams’ points somewhere visible.
  6. When time is up, or you have used all of the questions, congratulate the winning team and present them with a reward!
    • Note: Another option is the play the game digitally using sites like www.jeopardylabs.com. You can input your own questions and answers online and play the game using a board just like the one on TV! You will need an AV/HDMI cord and projector connected to a computer in order to use this option.

School-wide Contest (Completed over five days)

Materials: Access to school announcement system or a way to distribute papers to homeroom teachers, posters to advertise around school (prior to the event), paper, printer

  1. In the days or week prior to the competition, put up posters and/or make announcements to tell students about the upcoming competition.  Set-up and emphasize that a reward will be given to the winning class. 
  2. Print out daily answer sheets for homeroom teachers so that they can have their class fill out the daily answer sheet and turn it in to the office, or to a student representative from your group every day.
  3. Choose a number of questions per day that is practical for your time limit. Read one category of questions per day.  Have the homeroom teachers ask their classes for the answers. Teachers submit the majority or agreed-upon answers on the answer sheet by the end of each day.
  4. The following day, the announcers will read the answers from the previous day and the explanations, followed by the new questions.
  5. Repeat for four days. On the fifth day, read the explanations for day 4 and announce the winning class or classes.
    • Note: If you have a tie, you may want to do a tough tie breaker question by announcing which classes are tied and having them submit an answer by lunchtime. The winner can be announced at the end of the school day.

Civic Quiz Questions

Voting and Elections

Question Answer Explanation/Fun Fact
Name one of the three requirements needed in order to register to vote 18 years of age or older, U.S. citizen, resident of the county you will be voting in  
In what year did 18 year-olds earn the right to vote (correct if within 5 years) 1971 Before 1971, the national voting age was set at 21 years old, but during the Vietnam War, 18 year-olds were being drafted into the army, even though they were too young to vote against it. This problem pushed the government to make the change.
What amendment gave 18-year olds the right to vote? 26th Amendment This was the quickest amendment to be ratified.
Generally, when is Election Day? It's always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November Originally this time of year was chosen because it would occur after the harvest was completed, but before winter storms began, so more people could participate.
When is Election Day 2014? 4-Nov-14  
How often are Presidential elections held (every ___years?) Every 4 years Midterm elections for other offices may be held two years after the last presidential election and before the next presidential election.
What is a polling place? A public building where eligible voters can cast their ballots on Election Day Schools are often used as polling places. Do you know where your local polling place is?

Texas Government and Politics

Question Answer Explanation/Fun Fact
Who is the governor of Texas? Rick Perry  
Name one of the candidates running to become the new Governor of Texas. Greg Abbott or Wendy Davis  
Who is mayor of Dallas? Mike Rawlings  
When does the Texas Legislature meet? Every odd numbered year (also accept next year, 2015, January 2015) The Texas Constitution states that the regular session is 140 days, but the governor may call the Legislature into as many special sessions as he or she wants.
How old do you have to be to serve in the state House of Representatives? 21  

U.S. Government

Question Answer Explanation/Fun Fact
What are the two major parties in the U.S.? Democratic and Republican (also accept Democrat) People join parties that they think have the same ideas about government that they do, but not everyone agrees on every issue. This is why it is important to know what individual candidates think, not just what party they belong to.
Who is the President of the U.S.? Barack Obama  
Who is the Vice President of the U.S.? Joe Biden  
What are the three branches of the U.S. Government? Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Each branch does their separate job, but also keeps an eye on the others to make sure the government runs the way it is supposed to. This is called a system of checks and balances.
Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S.? Chief Justice John Roberts Supreme court justices must be nominated by the President and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the full Senate. Justices stay in their positions until they choose to retire, or are removed by impeachment.

Volunteering

Question Answer Explanation/Fun Fact
Name one way that you can volunteer Open ended question, all answers are welcome and accepted Any type of service can be volunteering. Be creative and try to think of ways to volunteer that involve things you already like.
What is one benefit of volunteering? Open ended question, all answers are welcome and accepted Everyone in a community wins when people volunteer.
Which of these three choices is the most popular volunteer activity: Preparing/distributing/serving food, helping out with transportation, or teaching/tutoring? Food service 23% of volunteers engage in activities involve preparing, distributing, or serving food
True or false: You always have to be part of an organization to be a volunteer False Any time or energy that you give to help others can be volunteering, even if it is just carrying your neighbor’s groceries. Small acts can make a big impact.
Which of these three choices is the area in which most people volunteer? Religious, educational, or social services? Religious 34.2% of volunteers get involved through religious work or organizations such as churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, or other faith-based groups.

Texas Civic Engagement

Question Answer Explanation/Fun Fact
Which Texas city had the most volunteers in 2012: Austin, Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio? Dallas In 2012, 1,385,963 people in the city of Dallas engaged in volunteer activities
Which Texas city had the highest percentage of its population engage in volunteering: Austin, Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio? Austin In 2012, 29.4% of Austin’s population engaged in volunteer activities
Which activity did Texans volunteer to do the most: Collect/distribute food, mentor youth, or fundraise? Collect and distribute food 25.1% of Texas volunteers engaged in activities such as canned food drives or serving food at a local soup kitchen to help feed their communities.
Which age group of Texans volunteered the most in 2012: 35-44 year-olds, 45-54 year-olds, or 65-74 year-olds? 35-44 year-olds Can your generation change this? Maybe in 2020, it will be your generation.
What was the voter turnout rate in Texas in 2010 (percentage, correct if within 10% of the answer)? 36.40% Of all of the people registered to vote in Texas, only about 3 out of every 10 showed up to vote. Look at how many people are in the room right now. How many of them would have voted? That’s not many people at all!
In 2010, where did Texas rank compared to other U.S. States in terms of voter turnout (number 1 through 51)? 51st (last) If you live in Texas, and you were embarrassed to learn this, talk to people you know who are eligible to vote and start a conversation with them. Did they vote? Why or why not? What would motivate them to vote next time?
What percentage of Texans volunteer? 40% 1 in 4 people in Texas volunteer in their communities. If every one of those people brought a friend to their next volunteer project, we could make that percentage much higher!

Being Engaged and Socially Connected

Question Answer Explanation/Fun Fact
Which of these activities is a way to stay socially connected: eat meals with my family, talk on the phone with my best friend, tweet, help a neighbor? All of the above  
Which one of these is a form of political participation: staying informed about what’s happening in the legislature, sharing a political article on Facebook/Twitter, using art to make a political statement? All of the above Even if you can’t vote, you can still keep up with what’s going on in your community. You can also use this knowledge to write to local officials and talk to those who can vote about your thoughts on issues
Name one responsibility that is reserved only for U.S. citizens? Voting in a federal election, running for federal office, serving on a jury  
Are Texans more likely to trust their neighbors, or to exchange favors with their neighbors? Trust their neighbors 49.7% of Texans say that they trust their neighbors, while 15.4% exchange favors with their neighbors a few times a week or more
Where is Texas ranked among U.S. States in regards to residents discussing politics regularly? (looking for a number between 1 and 51) 44th Texans don’t seem to want to talk about politics as frequently as most Americans. Think about why that is and how you can change the conversation
What percentage of Texans trust most or all of the people in their neighborhoods? 50% That means that half of your neighbors don’t trust each other. Think about something your neighborhood can do to develop more trust and closer ties. A block party or community garage sale might be a good way to start.

School-Wide Civic Quiz Competition Questions

When is Election Day 2014?

  1. November 11, 2014
  2. November 25, 2014
  3. November 4, 2014

How often are Presidential elections held (every ____years)?

  1. Every six years
  2. Every four years
  3. Every two years

Who is the Governor of Texas?

  1. Rick James
  2. Rick Perry
  3. Ricky Bobby

Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States?

  1. Chief Justice John Roberts
  2. Chief Justice John Paul Stevens
  3. Chief Justice John Cena

Which Texas city had the highest percentage of its population engage in volunteering?

  1. Austin
  2. Dallas
  3. Houston
  4. San Antonio

Which of these three choices is the area in which most people volunteer?

  1. Educational
  2. Religious
  3. Social Services

Which group of Texans volunteered the most in 2012?

  1. 35-44 year olds
  2. 45-54 year olds
  3. 65-74 year olds

Name one of the candidates running to be the next Governor of Texas.
(Homeroom/team receive an extra point for naming the political part of the candidate. Teams receive double points if they can name all four major candidates)

  1. Greg Abbot (Republican)
  2. Wendy Davis (Democratic/Democrat)
  3. Brandon Parmer (Green)
  4. Kathie Glass (Libertarian)

Name one of the candidates running to be the next Lieutenant Governor of Texas.
(Homeroom/team receive an extra point for naming the political part of the candidate. Teams can receive double points if they can name the candidates for BOTH the Republican and Democratic Parties )

  1. Dan Patrick (Republican)
  2. Leticia Van de Putte (Democrat/Democratic)

What is the name of the former San Antonio mayor who was recently appointed to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ?

  1. Joaquin Castro
  2. Julian Castro
  3. Ivy Taylor

True or false: You always have to be part of an organization to be a volunteer

In 2010, where did Texas rank compared to other U.S. states in terms of voter turnout?

  1. 3rd
  2. 51st
  3. 42nd

Which of these activities is a way to stay socially connected?

  1. Eat meals with your family
  2. Talk on the phone with your best friend
  3. Tweet/post on Facebook
  4. All of the above

Which one of the following is a requirement needed in order to register to vote?

  1. Be 17 and 10 months years of age or older
  2. Have a high school diploma
  3. Paid taxes the previous year

What percentage of Texans volunteer?

  1. 75%
  2. 40%
  3. 50%

Name one place where you can volunteer
(Teams/homerooms can receive up to 3 extra points if they can name three different locations)

Name one way that you can volunteer (what activity)
(Teams/homerooms can receive up to 3 extra points if they can name three different locations)

What percentage of Texans trust most or all of the people in their neighborhood?

  1. 10%
  2. 60%
  3. 50%

Which of these is a form of political participation?

  1. Using art to make a political statement
  2. Sharing a political article on Facebook/Twitter
  3. Staying informed about what’s happening in the legislature
  4. All of the Above

What are the three branches of the U.S. Government?

  1. Executive, Congressional, Judicial
  2. Executive, Congressional, Court
  3. Executive, Legislative, Judicial

Bonus question: There is one person in each branch of government who is in the highest position. What is the title of each of those people? (a title for the top person in each branch of government)

  1. Executive: President or Commander in Chief (President Barack Obama)
  2. Legislative: Speaker of the House (John Boehner)
  3. Judicial: Chief Justice (John Roberts)