Last Friday, four Baltimore “big shots” had the opportunity to match wits with four fifth-graders from Baltimore Curriculum Project charter schools: Wolfe Street Academy, City Springs School and Hampstead Hill Academy.
The annual “Are You Smarter Than a BCP 5th Grader?” event, which includes a silent auction and is a fundraiser for the charter school operator, pits four BCP students against four Baltimore-area celebrities.
From the schools were Devin Bradford of City Springs, known for his ability to ask good questions and give thoughtful answers; Aryssa Reid of Hampstead Hill, a math whiz and sports enthusiast; Lucia Givens of Wolfe Street, another scholar-athlete; and Chase Hackett of Hampstead Hill, a bacon-munching math expert.
The big shots were 2nd District City Councilman Brandon Scott, Interim CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools Tisha Edwards, model and actor Megan Anderson (Jen Carcetti in “The Wire” and a resident actor at the Everyman Theatre), and WBAL-TV co-anchor Jason Newton.
Laura Doherty, president of Baltimore Curriculum Project, noted that while the 1,600 BCP students exhibit “all-around excellence,” the organization “is not as well-known as one might suspect.”
“I think it was Mark Twain–who our kids know pretty well, I might add–who said that bad news travels around the world while good news is still putting on its shoes,” Doherty said, adding that BCP is “an all-steak, hold the sizzle kind of operation.”
Doherty said that in past “Are You Smarter” competitions, BCP fifth-graders had won handily.
“We though maybe we should dial it down a bit,” she joked, “and make it, ‘Are You Smarter Than a BCP 3rd Grader?'”
However, this year’s four big shots were high-caliber contestants, and BCP decided to stick with fifth-graders, Doherty said.
The evening also included the presentation of the BCP Outstanding Business Volunteer Awards. Three businesspeople were honored for their work with BCP through Business Volunteers Maryland.
Carolyn Dorsey of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield was recognized for her role as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor at City Springs, as well as her work with Business Volunteers in inspiring City Springs students to attend school every day.
Mohannad Jishi of M & T Bank and Wilmington Trust was honored for partnering with Hampstead Hill Principal Matt Hornbeck to create a “dashboard” that allows Hornbeck to regularly monitor the school’s financial health, which in turn affords Hornbeck the opportunity to plan on a longer-term basis.
Trent Zivkovich of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Environmental Law led a team at Wolfe Street Academy which supported college and career readiness.
As for the quiz-show portion of the evening, the students won as expected, though the big shots gave them a run for their money. Read on for some sample questions, provided by BCP, to match your own wits with a BCP fifth-grader:
1. Which of the following is true about Jane Adams?
a. She founded Hull House.
b. She was a nurse in the Revolutionary War.
c. She leapt tall buildings in a single bound.
d. She won the Nobel Peace Prize.
2. What was the first animal to be domesticated?
3. Which of the following are three examples of renewable resources?
a. water, air, coal
b. trees, coal, crude oil
c. trees, wind, solar
d. solar, water, crude oil
4. Why do herbivores eyes point to the side?
a. for that wide-eyed model look
b. to watch out for carnivores
c. to watch out for pescatarians
d. to see the grass around them as they graze
5. When a warm gas like air hits a cool surface, what happens?
a. The gas expands.
b. the gas smells really, really bad.
c. The gas stays the same.
d. The gas condenses into a liquid.
6. If 50 students were surveyed, and 12 liked chocolate, what percentage of students liked chocolate?
a. 100 percent
b. 12 percent
c. 32 percent
d. 24 percent
7. Which is greater, 3/5 or 70 percent?
b. They are equal.
c. Who are we to judge?
d. 70 percent
8. What famous American author spent time as an oyster pirate on the West Coast?
a. John Steinbeck
b. Jack London
c. Jack Kerouac
d. Jack Black
e. Jack Sprat
f. Jack En-Jill
g. Ernest Hemingway
9. What was the name of Odysseus’s son?
c. May I phone a friend?
10. Order the following fractions from least to greatest: 4/7, 2/3, 1/2
a. 2/3, 1/2, 4/7
b. 1/2, 4/7, 2/3
c. 1/2, 2/3, 4/7
d. 4/7, 1/2, 2/3
1. a and d, students correct
2. c, big shots incorrect
3. c, big shots correct
4. b, big shots correct
5. d, students correct
6. d, students correct
7. d, big shots incorrect
8. b, big shots incorrect
9. d, students correct
10. b, big shots incorrect
by Erik Zygmont