Brain Buster Challenge!

The Tenth Annual event will be held at the school on
Saturday, 20 February 2016
12:30pm – 4:00pm


Brain Buster Challenge is an exciting, annual February event for 7th and 8th grade students living in Nevada County. The purpose of the event is to create a competition with community-wide appeal where teams of 7th and 8th grade students from local schools have an opportunity to showcase their skills, knowledge, and spirit.

Success at this event involves sportsmanship, teamwork, and knowledge in the areas of core 8th grade subjects (Mathematics, Science and History, including the U.S. Constitution).  Knowledge in various other subjects such as Geography, Current Events, Popular Culture, Problem Solving, Technology, Music and the Arts will also be important.

The event is organized and hosted by Bitney College Prep and sponsored by local businesses. The event brings together teams to compete in various categories for prizes, awards, and ultimately a trophy for the winning school, presented by Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen.

Brain Busters is ”Awesome”

But don’t take our word for it; read these testemonials from former participants:

Preparing Your Team for the Challenge

Here’s a rough timeline to help you prepare your team for the challenge:

  • November – Find a teacher at your school willing to facilitate, then complete your entry form and send it to Russ Jones, the Bitney Prep Principal, in order to secure your team’s spot. Everyone involved should immediately begin following the Brain Buster Challenge Facebook page. After Friday, 12 December 2014 we will begin registering second teams from the larger schools to fill any available space, so don’t delay!
  • December – Identify at least 6 enthusiastic and gifted students (5 active and one alternate) who would like to compete. Hold an initial meeting to explain the event and your preparation plans. Discuss and practice answering questions from the Sample Question sets (see below). Note that the alternate may attend the event as a spectator, but may participate only in the introductions (unless one of the active team members is unable to attend).
  • Early January – Discuss the Debate prompt as a group and then practice following the format at least once with your teacher acting as the moderator. Choose a name for your team and send this to Russ Jones. Discuss your introduction performance and potential costume ideas.
  • Late January – All team members should review the U.S. Constitution to study for the History challenge. Decide what team members will wear to the event and develop your introduction performance (including any props and/or musical accompaniment).
  • Early February – Finalize and practice your introduction performance and make final decisions about what to wear, etc.

For more details on how to focus your efforts, check out the Team Preparation Guide!

Sample Questions and Answers

The challenge questions and activities are arranged in several categories:

  • History (including U.S. Constitution)
  • Mathematics
  • Problem Solving
  • Physical Challenge
  • Science & Technology
  • Laughable Limerick
  • Debate
  • Art & Music
  • Geography

Here are some sample questions as well as the debate format to help teams prepare for the event:

The Physical Challenge involves working together on a physical activity. Here’s a brief description of the Tarp Flip Over we did in 2008: With a group standing on a tarp, challenge them to turn the tarp over without anyone touching the ground in the process.

For the Laughable Limerick category, each team will be asked to compose and perform a humorous limerick on a particular topic we will give you at the beginning of the round. Your score in this round will be based on the following: 1) basic limerick structure, 2) how well you address the topic, 3) how funny you are, 4) the quality of your rhymes and vocabulary and, of course, 5) your performance.

For the Art & Music category, a number of famous musical selections will be played, and pictures of famous artworks will be distributed. Teams will be asked to identify both the artists and the works.

(Note: the documents above are in PDF format, meaning that you need a copy of the FREE Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® in order to view or print them. Click here if you don’t already have a copy of the reader.)

2015 Results

Congratulations to The Filibusters from the Nevada City School of the Arts, who captured first place in the 2015 challenge, meaning that they hold the trophy for the year. If interested, you can download the complete scoreboard from the event.

Congratulations also to the Fire Breathing Kittens who brought the coveted Spirit Award home to Magnolia Intermediate School.