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ESSAY #20: The Quizz -- FACTS ARE FUN

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The Quizz™

20: The Quizz

100 Facts Every High School Graduate Should Know

Was your high school a FACT FREE ZONE?
Find out with this simple quiz.

These are not trick questions. The answers are easy. Guesses don’t count. If you don’t already know at least 80, consider suing your high school.

Commentary at end.

Paper is mainly made from what?

How many stars are on the US flag?

How many stripes are on the US flag?

9 times 9 equals what?

Clouds are made of what?

Shakespeare wrote in which language?

Diamonds and coal are made of what?

A hexagon has how many sides?

The Romans were famous for their aqueducts. True or false?

How many pounds in a ton?

Napoleon ruled what country?

Water boils at what temperature?

Australia is the same width as the United States--which is about 1000 miles, 2000 miles, or 3000 miles?

The average of 6, 10 and 14 is what?

Non-fiction means that it’s true or that it’s false?

What is the chemical composition of water?

Name an important event that occurred during the 19th century.

If it’s winter in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere it’s what season?

Ants and flies are examples of what?

The Amazon flows into what body of water?

Name a famous American novel written before 1990.

A constellation is what?

The body of water to the west of California is what?

The Pilgims came from what country?

The two sides in the American Civil War were called what?

Bats can see in the dark. True or false?

Which brothers invented the airplane?

Sharks are fish but whales are mammals. True or false?

2 to the third power equals 8, 10 or 12?

President Kennedy was killed in what city?

Name an “Old World” country.

Name a “New World” country.

A caterpillar becomes a what?

The US Supreme Court has how many justices?

An acre is roughly the size of a baseball diamond, a football field or a typical city block?

Rembrandt was famous for his what?

What’s the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?

The Taj Mahal is in what country?

The moon is one quarter, one half, or the same size as the Earth?

Name three planets besides the Earth.

Fish breathe with their what?

Abraham Lincoln was President in 1855, 1865, or 1875?

A camel can walk a long way without what?

The shortest distance between two points is called what?

Give an example of precipitation.

What is the Southern Cross?

Name a major desert.

The Great Pyramids are located in what country?

In New York City the shortest day of the year occurs around what date?

Washington, DC is located on what river?

The US national anthem is what?

Who ordered the German invasion of Russia in 1941?

Which countries border the USA?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is in what country?

The deepest spot in the ocean is about 3 miles, 7 miles or 11 miles?

How many days from one full moon to the next?

Roughly how much of the Earth is covered by water? 30%? 50%? 70%?

The tallest mountain on this planet is what?

Name three of the countries that make up Scandinavia.

Wall Street is located in what city?

Hollywood is located in what state?

How many quarts in a gallon?

The Eiffel Tower can be found where?

The pole vault record is approximately 15’, 20’ or 25’?

The most famous canal in the Western Hemisphere is where?

How many times zones in the USA?

Name six continents.

Which is bigger, a virus or a bacterium?

There’s more gravity on Jupiter than on Earth. Why?

Which country has the largest population?

Name three oceans.

How many days in a year?

In 1492 Columbus sailed in which direction?

A baseball game has how many innings?

In much of the world, soccer is called what?

What is the capital of Mexico?

E pluribus unum means what?

A spider web is made out of what?

Mussolini ruled what country?

The Great Wall is located where?

The Continental Divide is where?

Antarctica is primarily ice or land?

What is a syllable? Give an example.

Quote a line of American poetry.

Name something that Thomas Edison invented.

If the groundhog sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, what does this mean?

The Nile River is almost the same length as the Missouri/Mississippi River combination--about 2000 miles, 3000 miles, or 4000 miles?

USA stands for what?

CNN stands for what?

MPG stands for what?

Italy juts into what body of water?

1776 was a bad year in British history. Why?

The car and the airplane were made possible by a third invention. What was it?

Sci-fi stands for what?

The equator separates what from what?

The Roaring Twenties occurred between what two wars?

What leader was the biggest mass murderer in history? (Three names are arguably correct.)

Name four of the major religions.

A typical car engine has 4, 6 or 8 what?

Which Super Bowl was Super Bowl XXIV?

The emperor who fiddled while Rome burned was named what?

Fencing is a sport, criminal activity, or light construction? (Okay, that’s sort of a trick question.)


COMMENTARY: One of the bizarre aspects of modern educational jargon is that children can engage in critical thinking (or high level thinking, as it’s also called) without actually knowing any facts to think about. Sort of like playing tennis without a ball, swimming without water, or conducting chemistry experiments without chemicals. These activities are properly called make-believe.

Common sense suggests that first we learn, for example, historical facts. Then we can do what historians have always done--think critically about those facts.

What many educators like is a classroom of children discussing, for example, how they feel about math without knowing how to do any math. Such educators have the nerve to call this activity “critical thinking” and to demand higher budgets so that children can do even more of the same.

My thought is that children should be learning basic information from the first grade onward. There’s little in The Quizz that fourth graders couldn’t understand and absorb. So why not let them do it? Educators will counter, “They don’t need to memorize anything. They can look it up.” But will they? No, people usually muddle through with what they actually have in their heads.

Maybe there was a long-ago time when children had to memorize too much. But anyone who has watched Jay Leno go “Jaywalking” knows that many adults today, even ones who attended college, are remarkably unacquainted with even rudimentary knowledge. One week Leno asked this question: “What body of water lies to the west of California?’ Remember, the show is shot in California. But he found people who did not know! It’s clearly time to recover lost ground.

Here’s a not-so-easy question that today’s parents might want to ponder: when does 12,000 equal 0? From first grade to high school graduation, children receive about 12,000 hours of education (figuring 30+ hours of schooling per week and 30+ weeks per year). It might seem as if children could learn a great deal in all that time. Often they don’t. All too often 12,000 equals something all too close to 0.

“They can look it up” is a lazy slogan that allows teachers to create FACT FREE ZONES and call them schools. Here’s a much better slogan: “Facts are fun!”

The Quizz™ is provided by
© Bruce Deitrick Price 2006-2010

Editorial note: that’s actually 102 questions. For an even 100, drop last two. The Quizz will remain a work in progress for a while. Suggestions are welcome.

fact free zone

"A world with no facts at all,
why does it feel so small?"
Canto IV, Theoryland


"Facts are to Mind what bones are to Body."

Bruce Deitrick Price

Related articles include
26: How to Teach History, Etc.
28: Tips For Helping Your Child Do Better In School
45: The Crusade Against Knowledge 


Please feel free to use all or part of this material.
Here's a possible headline: Start Smart! (or Smart Start)

Possible lead: In the mood for some entry-level Jeopardy, some easy Trivial Pursuits?

Another possible lead: Ever watch Jay Leno's "Jaywalking?" Jay asks the simplest questions in the universe, but there's still people who don't know the answers. That's the game we're playing today: questions so easy that everybody over 16 should know all the answers.

Feeling confident? Let's see how you do on The Quizz--100 Questions Every High School Graduate Should Be Able To Answer!

....then use as many of the questions as space permits and send readers to 20: The Quizz for the rest.

Please credit, The Quizz, and Bruce Deitrick Price.


© Bruce Deitrick Price 2011