Three times a year, a forty minute assembly pits Greens against Whites in The Brain Game. Grades six through eight participate in a contest resembling the televised game It’s Academic, for which teachers submit questions (and answers) based on material from class. Each team comprises a third of the students in the class, so everyone participates once during the year.
Two tables are set up at the front of the Performing Arts Center. At one sits the Greens, at the other the Whites. The sixth grade teams compete first. Questions – although not always simple – are designed to elicit short answers. A minute is allowed for deliberation and response. Sample questions are as follows. Sixth grade English: “Correct and explain what is wrong with the following sentence: Just lay down over there until you feel better.” Eighth grade Math: “If the quantity a minus 1 over 2, plus the quantity a plus 2 over 3, equals 1, what is a?” Eighth grade Science: “Mrs. Rickard uses a compound machine in the lunchroom to open a soup can. What is it? And what are two simple machines on that compound machine?”
Should an incorrect answer be given, the opposing team has a chance to answer. This is called a “rebound.” Ten points are awarded for a correct first-time answer, five for the correct answer to a rebound. Cumulative scores are displayed on-stage by eighth graders working a flip-board. The winning team is awarded five points to be added to the year’s total.
Prompting, of course, is not permitted, but there is plenty of audience participation – breathless silences while answers are pondered, wild cheering when one’s team answers correctly.