HMK students quizzed on knowledge of U.S. gov’t

Constitution champs honored Sept. 17

These five students recently won a competition at HMK testing fifth graders’ knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. From left in the back row, Jennifer Lewis, Joley Phillips and Natalie Winn. From left in front, Jackson Edge and Kaci Hamilton. Photo by Carter Pape

In observation of Constitution Day, the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Helen M. Knight Elementary School teachers and local service group Moab Lions Club hosted a quiz bowl on Tuesday, Sept. 17, to recognize fifth grade students who have spent recent weeks studying the country’s founding document and memorizing some of its key contents.

One group from each of HMK’s five fifth grade classes competed, and the group of five students from teacher Jolynn Torgerson’s class won the Jeopardy!-style competition, which featured five categories, each with five questions of increasing point values, up to 500 points.

This student’s teammates celebrated after she successfully listed all five rights granted by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Photo by Carter Pape

Following the round of 25 questions, teachers put one final query to the kids who opted to participate in the competition: Where is the original copy of the U.S. Constitution located?

Although all groups correctly guessed that it is in Washington, D.C., some incorrectly guessed that the particular building where it is kept is the National Museum of American History. The document is, in fact, on public display at the National Archives Building, next to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

The Moab Lions Club, one of 47,000 chapters of Lions Club International, sponsored Tuesday’s special event. After the statewide Utah Lions Club won a $30,000 grant to provide all fifth graders in the state with a pocket-sized Constitution, the local chapter worked with fifth grade teachers at HMK to plan and hold the quiz bowl, providing the pocket Constitutions to each fifth grader.

Students check the score table during the Constitution quiz bowl. Jeopardy!-style scoring was used, giving students a choice of point values from which to choose. Photo by Carter Pape

HMK’s fifth grade social studies curriculum focuses on U.S. history, from colonization to present, including the Revolutionary War and the country’s founding documents. The Constitution Quiz Bowl fit nicely into that curriculum.

Additionally, educational programming related to the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day is a federal mandate. In 2004, Congress passed–and Former President George W. Bush later signed–a law that established the federal holiday. One requirement of that law is that schools receiving federal funding must, on Constitution Day, “hold an educational program on the United States Constitution” for its students.