Ocean County 4-H runs a Jeopardy-style trivia competition, Animalology, once a year. There are several goals guiding this event: to challenge 4-Hers in reading comprehension, to make learning fun, and to build teamwork skills. We hope this event makes learning about animal science—and other areas of STEM—interactive and enjoyable.
Interested in running (or collaborating on) an animal science trivia event? Here are some elements to consider:
The Topics: Have the topics set ahead of time and adhere to the phrasing of the questions and a set answer. For the Animalology event, 4-H clubs create science fair boards with set topics—breeds of reptiles, the life cycle of Monarch butterflies, ways to care for poultry, and so on. Quiz questions and answers always come directly from these boards. This makes “cheating” especially undesirable; even if Google returns an answer to a question, if it is not delivered as stated on a display board, the answer is invalid.
Study Rooms: Pre-existing knowledge isn’t as useful as reading comprehension and teamwork are during this trivia event. Competing teams are brought to a room to study these topic display boards and given study guide questions. Each group is granted five minutes with each board to find the answers. The most successful groups divide up questions (alternatively: areas of the board) and fill in these specific parts of the study guide. During free study period, team members put their heads together and share answers for each topic. This way, participants need no previous knowledge to compete.
Volunteer Appreciation: Special events like a trivia competition are run with the support of 4-H staff, but would be impossible if not for the generosity of 4-H alumni and other adult volunteers. Board room moderators, concessions sales, judges, and scorekeepers are just some of the roles that volunteers can fill. Be sure to recognize and thank these people!
In our county, we see this event as an opportunity to ask volunteers if they would also be interested in judging Public Presentations, and eventually, County Fair submissions. In this way, our trivia event fits organically into the rest of the 4-H year. It also gives 4-H youth and families the chance to interact with caring adult volunteers outside of the regular club setting.
Contact Ocean County 4-H to learn more about our annual Animalology competition or to get ideas on running your own animal science trivia competition.
Written by Laura Eppinger, County 4-H Program Associate, Rutgers Cooperative Extension