Brain Brawl pits middle school students against each other in battle of wits

by Brendan O’Donnell ’16

The third annual Saint Ignatius Brain Brawl, a general-knowledge competition akin to academic challenge for junior-high students, took place on October 19. The winners came from Incarnate Word Academy.

There were 24 teams from different schools, split up into four divisions of six teams. The top two teams from each division made it to the playoffs, where an eight-team tournament was used to determine the winner. In their third final-round appearance, Incarnate Word Academy beat St. Christopher.

“It will go on until I die,” says co-creator Mr. Barker.
“It will go on until I die,” says co-creator Mr. Barker.

Each round of the Brawl is composed of three sections. According to Mr. Barker, the head moderator of the Brawl, “The first section of the Brawl contains team questions,where each team answers a question on a certain topic and then a toss-up question is asked. The second is a letter round, in which there are twenty questions and the answer to the questions all begin with the same letter. The last one is a buzzer round, with twenty toss-up questions which are all based on one topic.”

Although this is only the third time the Brawl has taken place, Mr. Barker has high hopes for the tournament’s staying power. “It will go on until I die,” he said, “and then others will pick it up.” With fourteen teachers having helped out, the Brawl certainly seems as though it’s here to stay. “Ultimately, my favorite part is that it’s fun to see seventh and eighth grade kids having fun with questions that we created.”

Do you think that you could win the Brawl? Try answering the sample questions below.



Are you smarter than a middle schooler? Brain Brawl Edition

See if you can handle these questions from October’s massive on campus junior high trivia competition. Answers are located below.

  1. US HISTORY Billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” this party took place on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in New York from August 15 to 18, 1969. Attendance topped 500,000. Jimi Hendrix played the Star-Spangled Banner on his guitar. It was a good party.
  2. SPORTS Three stumps, two bails, a bat, a ball, a sight screen, and the boundary rope. Players wear a polo shirt and white trousers, wicket keepers and batsmen wear gloves.
  3. PARKS Containing the tallest trees in the world (species sequoia sempervirens), this 133,000-acre forest is located along the coast of Northern California. By 1968, more than 90% of this forest’s original trees had been felled, and in 1980, the United Nations designated it a World Heritage Site.
  4. MOVIE CHARACTERS “Hello. My name is _____________ Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
  5. COLORS Deep blue-violet color, named after the plant from which it is derived.
  6. WORLD HISTORY First name Johannes, he was the first European to use moveable type printing and, thus, is credited for the invention of the printing press, in 1439.
  7. FORESTS Robin Hood called this forest his home, although in fact it is a real forest located in Nottinghamshire, England. The Major Oak is its most famous tree and Robin’s preferred hideout.
1. Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, 2. Cricket, 3. Redwood National Park, 4. Inigo, 5. Indigo, 6. Gutenberg, 7. Sherwood Forest