By Staff     4/27/2015

Think you’re as smart as a seventh- or eighth-grader? Have a look at a few of these sample questions from the latest California Catholic Schools Academic Junior High Decathlon. This is the sort of stuff that teams of 12- and 13-year-old kids from the upper grades of Catholic elementary schools throughout the diocese get to wrestle with when they compete each year in the statewide contest.


1) What is the literal meaning of trompe l’oeil?

  1. a) “Triumph of art”
  2. b) “Fooled the eye”
  3. c) “True to form”
  4. d) “Faux finish”
  5. e) “Triumph of love”


2) True or false: Saint Francis was successful in converting Sultan al-Kamil to Christianity, thus ending the 5th Christian Crusade to the Holy Land.

  1. a) True
  2. b) False


3) What is a societas iuvenum?

  1. a) A religious order
  2. b) An association of lay people who serve a religious order
  3. c) A social club for young boys
  4. d) The hymns and religious music used in a Mass
  5. e) A social class made up of tradespeople and merchants


4) A photovoltaic cell produces energy by:

  1. a) Using wind power to turn a turbine
  2. b) Converting light from the sun into electricity
  3. c) Converting hydroelectric power into electricity
  4. d) Using geothermal vents to create electricity
  5. e) Converting energy from radioactive materials into electricity


5) An ecosystem includes:

  1. a) The living organisms in an environment.
  2. b) The inorganic materials in an environment
  3. c) The non-living physical features in an environment
  4. d) All of the above
  5. e) None of the above


6) What contributed to the slowing of world population growth after 1970?

  1. a) An increase in worldwide pandemics
  2. b) An increase in drug-resistant diseases
  3. c) Methods for controlling fertility
  4. d) Crop failures
  5. e) Global warming


7) Who invented aerial photography?

  1. a) Timothy O’Sullivan
  2. b) Nadar
  3. c) Berenice Abbott
  4. d) Matthew Brady
  5. e) Henri Cartier-Bresson


8) What is an alternative name for the Gaia theory?

  1. a) Earth system science
  2. b) Geobiochemistry
  3. c) Biological diversity
  4. d) Natural selection
  5. e) Conservation biology


9) How do scientists measure the effects of global warming?

  1. a) Measurements of carbon dioxide levels in ice fields
  2. b) Satellite observations of glaciers
  3. c) Measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide
  4. d) Satellite measurements of sea levels
  5. e) All of the above


10) What civilization first developed the use of water wheels as a source of energy?

  1. a) Ancient China
  2. b) Ancient Sumerians
  3. c) Ancient Greeks
  4. d) Ancient Romans
  5. e) Ancient Mesopotamians


11) The Stations of the Cross begins with:

  1. a) The Praised Be
  2. b) The Act of Contrition
  3. c) The Sign of the Cross
  4. d) The Lord’s Prayer
  5. e) The First Station


12) What invention made the most social and environmental impact on the 20th century?

  1. a) The computer
  2. b) The automobile
  3. c) The telephone
  4. d) The electric light bulb
  5. e) The airplane


13) What is the largest city in Central America?

  1. a) Guatemala City
  2. b) Panama City
  3. c) San Salvador
  4. d) Mexico City
  5. e) Managua


14) When was the Fourth Lateran Council held?

  1. a) 1213
  2. b) 1215
  3. c) 1220
  4. d) 1225
  5. e) 1200


15) Where is symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria normally found?

  1. a) Root nodules of legumes
  2. b) Soil
  3. c) Primary consumers
  4. d) Primary producers
  5. e) Dead matter


16) Great Britain gained control of Hong Kong as a result of:

  1. a) The First Opium War against China
  2. b) Colonization of Macao and Hong Kong by the British
  3. c) The Malta Accord Peace Agreement
  4. d) A trade agreement between the European Union and China
  5. e) The Second Opium War against China



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