St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Homeroom

We'll soon know if I'm smarter than a fifth-grader

By ELISABETH DYER
Published March 23, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT

How many sides does a rhombus have?

Not sure? You're not alone. Susan, a real estate agent and contestant on the Fox TV show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, guessed 10.

"Of course, a rhombus has four sides," said Cynthia Doyle, a fifth-grade teacher at Macfarlane Park School for International Studies.

Of course.

Another fifth-grade teacher I called guessed five and pleaded to remain anonymous. Just one of five of my pod mates at work got it right.

Kids in Doyle's fifth-grade class like the show so much they're planning a spoof at school.

They've invited me to be a contestant.

I've agreed. Albeit nervously.

Stay tuned to see if I will be humiliated by a bunch of 10-year-olds.

Doyle's students point out they know these answers because they've covered it in her class.

So it really is basic grammar school material and these whiz kids weren't scouted from gifted classes?

Maybe we just get dumber with age.

"I'd say I would be smarter than most adults, but not all of them," said Kyle, one of the show's fifth-graders.

Spencer, another of the show's smarty pants, says he just remembers better than adults.

Thanks, buddy.

I really didn't remember the second grade social studies whose-face-is-on-the-dime question. I see his profile in my mind with no name recognition.

Nor did I know how many pairs of ribs are in a typical human.

But fortunately the questions range into the hard-to-miss like these from past episodes:

"In astronomy, what star is closest to Earth?"

"What country is directly north of the United States?"

Surely, we all got that one - right?

Of course.

Or the ship the Pilgrims sailed from England to America in 1620 was the ...

"Who doesn't know that it was the Mayflower?" said Jocarolyn Llamas, a fifth-grade teacher at Anderson Elementary School, who after watching the first episode swore never to waste another half hour.

"I thought it was ridiculous," she said. "That they didn't know basic questions? I can't believe these people graduated from a university."

She anticipated harder questions, more like those on the FCAT, which she apparently believes could stump adults.

"Maybe it was a setup," she pondered.

Maybe the kids at Macfarlane Park will keep the questions in the easy range for me. I can hope.

In case you're wondering: Franklin Roosevelt's face is on the dime, the typical human body has a dozen pairs of ribs, the sun is the star closest to Earth, and Canada is the country directly north of the United States.

But you knew that, right?

Of course.

[Last modified March 22, 2007, 08:28:26]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT