UIL EVENT DESCRIPTIONS

Calculator Applications:
The calculator applications contest is designed to stimulate the development of mathematical and calculator skills for students in grade 6, 7 and 8. 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.
Students may use any silent, hand-held calculator that does not require auxiliary electric power. The calculator data and program memory should be cleared prior to the contest; students may not use pre-recorded programs during the contest.
 
Mathematics:
Students begin taking math in elementary school and continue taking it in high school. 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. This 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, designed for students in grade 6, 7 and 8, consists of 50 multiple choice problems.
 
Number Sense:
Individuals are called upon every day to use their ability to make quick mental calculations to make decisions. The development of such abilities should be an integral part of the math curriculum. Concepts covered include, but are not limited to: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, proportions, and use of mathematic notation.
The contest, designed for students in grade 6, 7, and 8, consists of 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.
The handbook, Developing Middle School Number Sense Skills, is available. It is the same edition first published in 1996.
 
Editorial Writing:
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. This contest is designed for students in grade 6, 7 and 8 and will be administered at school the week before the tournament and scored the day of the tournament. Students have 45 minutes in which to complete their editorials.
 
Ready Writing:
Texas has put a great emphasis on writing skills at all levels of school and all levels of state-wide testing. Ready Writing, a contest for students in grades 6, 7 and 8, builds upon those skills and 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. The format may be, for example, a letter, an article for the newspaper or an essay for the principal. Various writing strategies may be stated or implied in the prompt. Some of these include:

1. description to inform -- describe the happening or person/object from imagination or
memory;
2. narration -- write a story;
3. persuasion -- describe and argue just one side of an issue; describe both sides of an issue
then argue only one side; write an editorial; write a letter to persuade, etc.

There is no minimum or maximum number of words the contestants must write. This contest will be administered at school before the tournament and scored prior to the tournament.

 

Dictionary Skills:
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. The subject matter of all tests is taken from the Merriam Webster's Intermediate Dictionary, 2004 and subsequent editions. Contestants may use other dictionaries in the contest, but the contest subject matter will be found in Webster's Intermediate.
Each test consists of 40 objective and short answer questions to be completed in 20 minutes. Contestants in grade 6, 7 and 8 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.
 
Oral Reading:
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. The oral reading competition should be an extension of the classroom literary and language arts activities in poetry, short stories and children's fiction. See the link below for frequently asked questions about oral reading.
ALL students in grade 6 read a selection of poetry. Each selection may be one poem, a cutting of a poem, or a combination of poems. 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.
Students in grades 7 and 8 read selections of prose or poetry according to the following schedule:
2021-2022- poetry
2022- 2023 - prose
2023-2024- poetry
Each 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. Prose readings may include sketches, fables, tales, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries and the like. The maximum time for each presentation is six minutes. The selection may be a cutting from a short story or novel of may be nonfiction.
 
Impromptu Speaking:
This contest provides opportunities for students in grades 6, 7 and 8 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.
The maximum time limit for each speech is five minutes. There is no minimum time limit. Students who exceed the allotted five minutes shall be penalized one rank.
 
Modern Oratory:
In Modern Oratory, students in grades 6, 7 and 8 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.

MODERN ORATORY TOPICS

 

Listening Skills:

The listening contest is designed to help students in grades 6,7 and 8 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. A variety of subject matter will be used for the listening tests.
 
Maps, Graphs & Charts:
The maps, graphs & charts contest is designed to help students in grade 6, 7, and 8 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.
There will be one additional transition year for atlases in 2008-09, so test writers will check all atlas questions against both the new 2008 edition and the previous 2003-05 edition of the Nystrom Desk Atlas. Beginning in 2009-10, only the 2008 edition will be use in test preparation. Students may also use any other atlas they choose, but the test questions are written using this source.
 
Social Studies:

The social studies contest is for contestants in grade 6, 7 and 8. It consists of 40 questions and contestants are given 30 minutes to complete the questions. The test topics are defined by a study guide, to be updated yearly, based on the TEKS for social studies. The test content is taken from state adopted text books and identified primary sources

 
Science:
Emphasis for the Science contest, for students in grades 6, 7 and 8, will be placed on 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. Such concepts include, but are 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. The contest will build upon the vast body of changing and increasing knowledge described by physical, mathematical, and conceptual models.
Each test will consist of approximately 50 multiple choice questions which will be taken from current state-adopted science textbooks and the curriculum.  There will be approximately 15 questions for each grade level and five wild card or general questions on the test.
 
Spelling:
The spelling contest is designed to give students in grades 6, 7 and 8 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. In addition to learning to spell proficiently, contestants will learn to write clearly and to capitalize words properly.
Students will write down words given by the pronouncer on their paper at a rate of approximately five words per minute.
(A) Grade 6: 80 words; tiebreaker, 30 words.
(B) Grades 7 and 8: 110 words; tiebreaker, 40 words.
The tiebreaker is given to all contestants immediately following the initial test.
Tests will be fully compatible with the Merriam Webster's Intermediate Dictionary 2004 and subsequent editions.

2021-2022 Spelling List

Art:
This contest involves the study of paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and paintings or pictures from selected Texas museums. The Art Smart Bulletin, published every other year, is the source for study of history and art elements relative to the 40 art selections and is the final authority in the spelling of artists' names and titles of art works. 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.The Art Contest is in the first year of a new two-year cycle. Prints and the Art Smart Bulletin are new for 2013-14. Both divisions (grade 6, grades 7-8) use the same prints and bulletin, but different tests are provided for each division.

 
Music Memory:
The focus of 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. In the course of preparing for the contest, students should be given the opportunity to describe and analyze the music, relate the music to history, to society and to culture, and to evaluate musical performance.
Students in grade 6, 7 & 8 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. Students in grade 7 & 8 will also take a 20-question multiple-choice test.
To receive full credit for an answer, all information about the music selection must be complete as shown on the official list. Spelling and punctuation are considered in the grading of this contest.
Chess Puzzle:
Chess Puzzle has been approved and adopted as an official UIL event for the 2013-14 school year!! The benefits of chess are well documented for players of all ages, and especially for young people. Chess teachers 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 grade 6, 7, and 8 receive a paper-and-pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. The contestant must then determine the fewest moves to checkmate given that particular board layout. Time is also a factor - contestants are scored based on the most puzzles solved in the least amount of time.
A chess puzzle event provides an avenue for chess participation that does not require the time and resources of actual tournament play. The fixed time limit makes it practical to include in a district meet schedule, and the availability of free resources allows any school (including those that do not currently have chess programs) to include chess puzzle in their slate of UIL events at minimal cost.