UIL A+ Academic Events
(For more information, visit www.uiltexas.org/aplus.)
Art (Grades 4-8)
The Art Contest involves the study of paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and paintings or pictures from selected Texas museums. As part of their study, students will demonstrate an understanding of art history and interpret ideas and moods in original artworks while making informed judgments about the artwork.
Part A of the contest requires the contestant to identify the names of 15 selected artists and titles of pictures selected randomly by the director from the official list of 40 pictures. Part B consists of 30 questions about art history and art elements characteristic of the 40 art selections.
Calculator Applications (Grades 6 - 8)
The Calculator Applications Contest is designed to stimulate the development of mathematical and calculator skills. Goals are both intellectual and practical: developing mathematical reasoning and knowledge and requiring the application of problem-solving skills toward realistic problems.
Students will take a test containing 80 problems in 30 minutes. The contest consists of problems which may include calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, roots, and powers. It also includes straight-forward calculation problems, and simple geometric and stated problems similar to those found in recently adopted textbooks.
Chess Puzzle (Grades 2 - 8)
The benefits of chess are well documented for players of all ages, and especially for young people. Chess teaches problem solving, hones concentration, and encourages analytical and strategic thinking. Chess can be a lifelong pursuit.
Chess puzzle competition is very different from tournament chess play. Contestants in a chess puzzle contest receive a paper-and-pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. Questions are based on analysis of material or possible moves in each given diagram.
Creative Writing (Grade 2)
The Creative Writing contest is designed to promote creativity in an academic format and to encourage writing skills at an early grade level.
Contestants will be given a prompt with several captioned pictures. From these pictures, the students will create an original story based on their selections in 30 minutes. The stories must contain at least one of the pictured items, but it is not required that all items on the page be included.
Dictionary Skills (Grades 5 - 8)
Thorough knowledge of the dictionary is a way to increase a student's ability to find the information that is needed for classwork as well as everyday living.
Each Dictionary Skills test consists of 40 objective and short answer questions to be completed in 20 minutes. Contestants use dictionaries during the competition, which may be tabbed. Contest questions cover word origins and histories, parts of speech, pronunciation, variant spellings, plurals, alphabetizing and other such elements. Test questions are also taken from charts, tables and lists contained in the dictionary.
Editorial Writing (Grades 6 - 8)
The Editorial Writing Contest is designed to develop the persuasive writing skills of the participants. Students must advocate a specific point-of-view in response to a prompt. Students have 45 minutes in which to complete their editorials.
Impromptu Speaking (Grades 6 - 8)
The Impromptu Speaking Contest provides opportunities for students to evaluate speeches given by others; to explore the use of the voice and body in speaking situations; to examine the different purposes for speaking; to organize ideas; to prepare and deliver various speeches; and to develop self-confidence.
Contestants will draw three topics and have three minutes to prepare a speech, which must be presented without any notes. The contest gives participants experience in thinking, organizing, formulating clear thoughts, and delivering those thoughts to an audience effectively.
Listening (Grades 5 - 8)
The Listening Contest is designed to help students recognize the importance of effective listening skills and to identify problems they may have in listening effectively. It also provides a challenging format to test the improvement of their listening abilities. Through preparation for the contest, participants will listen actively to a variety of material and learn to analyze and evaluate a speaker's message critically.
Tests will include, but not necessarily be limited to, language arts, fine arts, natural sciences, and social studies. The objective tests will measure skills such as identifying the main idea and supporting ideas, drawing conclusions, distinguishing fact from opinion, and mastering other listening and thinking skills.
Contestants will listen to a script ranging from seven to ten minutes in length, take notes as needed, and use their notes to answer 25 multiple choice, true/false and short answer test questions.
Maps, Graphs, & Charts (Grades 5 - 8)
The Maps, Graphs & Charts Contest is designed to help students learn to get information from a variety of maps, graphs and charts including world maps, pie charts, bar charts and local area maps. The objective test will measure skills such as using a reference book to locate information, making comparisons, estimating and approximating, using scale and interpreting grid systems, legends and keys.
Students will be given an objective test containing approximately 75 multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions which must be answered in 45 minutes.
Mathematics (Grades 6 - 8)
Learning to complete math problems quickly is a valuable skill in all facets of life including engineering, accounting, completing a tax return, and even grocery shopping.
The Mathematics Contest includes problems covering, but not limited to: numeration systems, arithmetic operations involving whole numbers, integers, fractions, decimals, exponents, order of operations, probability, statistics, number theory, simple interest, measurements and conversions. Geometry and algebra problems may be included as appropriate for the grade level. The contest consists of 50 multiple choice problems.
Modern Oratory (Grades 6 - 8)
In the Modern Oratory Contest, contestants will select one of the topics, determine the critical issues in the topic, and acknowledge both pro and con points citing support discovered in their research. Students will choose a side they will defend and support that side with additional evidence. Along with the skills of analysis, research, note-taking, documentation, evaluation and decision-making, come those of delivery and the skill of memorization.
Music Memory (Grades 3 - 6)
The Music Memory contest is an in-depth study of fine pieces of music literature taken from a wide spectrum of music genres to expose students to great composers, their lives and their music. A new list of selections is provided each school year.
Students will listen to approximately 20 seconds of up to 20 musical selections and identify the name of the major work, selection and the name of the composer.
Number Sense (Grades 4 - 8)
Individuals are called upon every day to use their ability to make quick mental calculations to make decisions. Concepts covered include, but are not limited to: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, proportions, and use of mathematic notation.
Number Sense contestants will be given a 10-minute, fill-in-the-blank test which they must complete without doing calculations on paper or on a calculator. Erasures and mark-outs are not permitted.
One-Act Play (Grades 6 - 8)
Students will have the opportunity to work in all aspects of the production of a 40-minute play.
Schools will produce a play in accordance to the rules and regulations in the current One-Act Play Handbook.
Oral Reading (Grades 4 - 9)
Reading literature out loud provides opportunities for students to analyze the text, to grow and to develop as a performer, to communicate a message to an audience and to perform an artistic creation.
Oral Reading contestants in grades 4, 5, and 6 read a selection of poetry. The same selection may be read in all rounds, but different selections are permissible. Selections must be published, although the poet may be unknown or anonymous.
Contestants in grades 7, 8, and 9 read selections of prose or poetry, alternating each year. This year, all contestants will read poetry. It may be a single reading, a cutting from a longer selection, or a combination of several selections. The same selection may be read in all rounds, but different selections are permissible. Selections must be published although the author may be unknown or anonymous. The maximum time for each presentation is six minutes.
Ready Writing (Grades 3 - 8)
The Ready Writing Contest helps students refine their writing abilities. In particular, this contest helps them to learn to write clearly and correctly a paper that is interesting and original. A standard dictionary or thesaurus may be used during the contest.
Contestants are given a choice between two prompts which defines the audience and provides the purpose for writing. Students should be encouraged to analyze the prompts for the purpose of writing, the format, the audience and the point of view.
Science (Grades 7 - 8)
The Science Contest emphasizes knowledge of scientific fact, understanding of scientific principles, and the ability to think through scientific problems. The contest was designed to test not only memory but the ability to critically think about science and scientific processes and concepts, including, but not limited to: matter and energy, equilibrium, force and motion, physical and chemical properties, the relationship between organisms and the environment, the components of our solar system, the composition of matter, and genetics.
Each test will consist of approximately 35 multiple choice questions which will be taken from current state-adopted science textbooks and the curriculum.
Social Studies (Grades 5 - 8)
Social Studies contestants take a 40-question test, with a time limit of 30 minutes. The test topics, which are based on the Social Studies TEKS, are defined by a study outline, which is updated yearly. The test content is taken from state-adopted textbooks and identified primary sources.
Spelling (Grades 3 - 8)
The Spelling Contest is designed to give students exposure to a wide variety of vocabulary words. It is not a contest of memorization. For the most educational value, preparation for this contest should include instruction in the rules of the English language, meanings and definitions, and root words.
Students in grades 3 & 4 will have 50 words; grades 5 & 6 will have 80 words; and grades 7 & 8 will have 110 words.
Storytelling - Grades 2 & 3
For the Storytelling Contest, participants must develop skills in listening, thinking and speaking. This contest also allows for the development of creative expression, something being given more attention in the professional world.
Contestants will listen to a storyteller read a brief story (between 600 and 1100 words long) only once, and then retell that story in their own words before a judge or judges.
(For more information, visit www.uiltexas.org/aplus.)