Events

Honing the inquisitive mind

“I am speaking Tagalog, sitting in a cafe in Manila, where am I?” The question flashes on the projector. A bunch of hands go up in the air, the group of eight to 13-year-olds at Hippocampus clap in delight. They know the answer, but this question is for Team A. “Philippines,” they reply nonchalantly.

Next question: “You can hear Swahili while touring Masai Mara.” “Kenya,” shouts out a little boy. “And what is Masai Mara well known for?” asks Nirupama Kapil, the quizmaster for the session. “Grassland!” attempts a little boy, looking thoughtful. Sitting amidst the tiny brigade, I am tempted to answer — it sees the great migration of the wildebeest — which is the right answer, but I am a tad nervous about the repercussions. In this case, it’s the kids hurling a bunch of questions at me… and not being able to answer them would be, well, a bit embarrassing.

“At Scolympics, we encourage children to put their hands up and guess. We give them the confidence to do so,” smiles Hema Srinivas, who co-founded Scolympics along with well-known quizzer Gopal Kidao, one of the founders of Quiz Foundation of India, Chennai Chapter.

Scolympics started in 2012 when this mother and avid-quizzer duo got together. It has conducted nearly 20 quiz camps. On Day 5 of the camp, the kids are expected to take over as quiz masters and throw questions at their peers and teachers. Their greatest delight, of course, is when the teachers aren’t able to answer a question. Sometimes it’s the most obscure question or an interesting one: Which animal has the sharpest hearing ability? The moth.

“Quizzes have evolved. There are different formats — infinite bounce, pounce… the kids are familiar with all these,” adds Hema. The sessions cover a whole lot of topics from countries to flags to sports. Newspaper quiz introduces the young participants to the world of news and all it takes is one quick browse of the day’s paper to come up with answers. To develop lateral thinking, formats such as Double Jeopardy (where the answer is given and the child has to form the questions) too are included. Mythology, sports and books are favourites. More girls are clued in to books. As for sports, sometimes boys think they are good at it but there are girls who come out shining,” adds Hema.

Other than quizzes, Scolympics also specialises in vocabulary, story writing, debates, Sudoku. Other than summer camps during holidays, it also hosts regular sessions at a host of city schools. “We help them join the dots and see the bigger picture. Learning through fun game formats enables them to retain information for a longer time,” she says. And gauging by the popularity of the modules, the team at Scolympics is rolling out ‘Happy at Work,’ a corporate event that will be a combination of vocabulary and quiz-based sessions.

“Quizzing is not just for quizzers. Every child has questions and answers within them. We just want to get that out,” she says.

(Scolympics was part of The Hindu Summer Camp that concludes on Friday, May 15, 2015.)


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 3:13:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/events/honing-the-inquisitive-mind/article7205625.ece

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