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GEOBEE 101

What is the National Geographic GeoBee?

The National Geographic GeoBee is an annual geography competition for students in fourth through eighth grades (4-8) who attend public schools, private schools, and homeschools in the United States and its territories, as well as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS).

Who can participate in the National Geographic GeoBee?

Registration is open to schools with students in grades four through eight (4-8). Students who have reached their 15th birthday before September 1, 2020 are ineligible to participate. Students are eligible to participate in the GeoBee for a period of five years total. Participating students may not be enrolled in more than three academic courses at the high school and/or college level during the school year. We reserve the right to disqualify a student if these rules have not been followed.

What is new with the National Geographic GeoBee this year?

Beginning in fall 2020, the National Geographic GeoBee is moving to a new model to streamline and modernize the competition to provide more flexibility, accessibility and engagement while also creating a more equitable opportunity for all students. These updates include:

  • New, flexible implementation options to conduct the school-level GeoBee competition via distance learning as schools across the country adapt to an evolving education landscape. 

  • All schoolwide Title I schools may register free of charge.

  • The state-level competition of the GeoBee will transition to an online format in 2020-2021. This online state competition will replace the previous qualifying test. All school-level champions will have the opportunity to participate in the online state-level GeoBee competition, which will take place during the testing window of February 1-12, 2021. State champions will advance to the GeoBee National Championship to be held in Spring 2021. Additional details about the national competition will be announced at a later date and provided to finalists in advance.

Our school is operating via distance learning. How can we participate in the National Geographic GeoBee?

We have updated the format of the school-level GeoBee competitions in order to provide more flexible and equitable solutions to various school operating procedures. We are now providing options for conducting your school GeoBee online! One suggested structure is to host your preliminary and final competitions on a video call with your students using the oral format. In this format, each student would answer a different question, getting called on when it is their turn. You’ll find more information in the downloadable school GeoBee materials in your Registration and Resource Center.

What is the timeline of the GeoBee competition?

Starting August 3, 2020, schools can register for the National Geographic GeoBee online.

  • Starting on October 1, 2020 schools that have paid their registration fee can download materials and conduct their school GeoBee competition.

  • On December 18, 2020, registration closes for those paying by check to allow time for processing and to ensure the school-level GeoBee is administered before the testing window for the online state-level GeoBee competition begins. On or after December 19, 2020, only credit card payments are accepted.

  • New this year: Schools will administer the online state-level GeoBee competition to the school champion during the testing window February 1-12, 2021. The test is proctored by the school GeoBee coordinator and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. ET on February 12, 2021. Schools should allow up to 90 minutes for the school-level champion to complete the test in one sitting. Test results will be announced in two stages:

    • Based on preliminary results, up to 100 of the top-ranked students in each state will be announced on NatGeoBee.org/results by March 5, 2021.

    • Based on final results, the first-, second-, and third-place students in each state will be announced on NatGeoBee.org/results by April 9, 2021.

  • The designated state champions are invited to attend the GeoBee National Championship in spring 2021. Additional details about the national competition will be announced at a later date and provided to finalists in advance.

What are the prizes for students who compete in the National Geographic GeoBee?

School-level champions receive a medal and a certificate and advance to the online state-level competition to compete for cash awards and other prizes. State-level champions will receive a medal; $1,000 in cash; and a trip to compete in the National Championship. The second- and third-place students at the state level will also receive cash awards of $300 and $100, respectively.

Each state-level champion will advance to the National Championship and compete for cash awards and college scholarships. The national champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society; second place will receive at $10,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash; third place will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash; and seven runners-up will receive $1,000 in cash each.

 

 

SCHOOL REGISTRATION

How do schools register for the GeoBee?

Beginning August 3, 2020, any paid school employee, at a public or private school, can register their school for the National Geographic GeoBee online.

In the case of homeschools, an individual affiliated with the homeschool group can register the school. In both cases, a “school GeoBee coordinator” must be identified, and that person may not be a relative or guardian of a student participating in the National Geographic GeoBee at their school or any other school.

The paid school employee will first be prompted to create an account with the National Geographic Society (if they do not yet have one), and will then be able to complete the GeoBee registration process for their school. Information needed to officially register a school includes the name, email address, and position of the designated school GeoBee coordinator, school phone and fax number, the principal’s name and email address, and estimated number of years the school has participated in the National Geographic GeoBee. The school GeoBee coordinator can return to the site to download materials and administer the online state-level GeoBee competition to the school-level champion.

How much does it cost to register for the National Geographic GeoBee?

To ensure an equitable opportunity for all students to participate in the National Geographic GeoBee, registration for the competition is free for schoolwide Title I schools. During the registration process, schoolwide Title I schools will see that the registration fee is automatically waived. 

The standard registration fee for schools is $120; however, we are offering early bird pricing of $100 if schools register before October 1, 2020. Checks and credit cards are accepted on the registration site through December 18, 2020. After December 18, 2020, only credit cards will be accepted through the remainder of registration, ending on January 22, 2021. The system will generate a printable invoice for schools paying by check to remit with their payment. Purchase orders are not accepted as payment for the National Geographic GeoBee, and registration is not complete until the check has been received. Registering by credit card ensures faster access to the downloadable materials. School competition materials will be ready for download beginning October 1, 2020, for all schools who have completed the registration process, including receipt and processing of payment. School GeoBee coordinators who have registered prior to October 1 will receive an email notifying them that materials are available for download.

What is an acceptable form of payment for a school to register for the National Geographic GeoBee?

Check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express). Paying by credit card ensures faster access to downloadable GeoBee materials.

If paying by check, please allow up to three weeks to access materials.  Please note, the option to pay for registration by check closes on December 18, 2020. If paying by check, please mail your check to:

National Geographic

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

PO Box 417123

Boston, MA 02241-7123

Do you accept purchase orders?

No. Credit cards and checks are the only acceptable forms of payment. If your school needs to create a PO prior to generating a check, that is acceptable, but GeoBee materials will not be available until we receive and process the check.

What materials are included in the registration fee (by download vs. in the mail)?

The downloadable materials (available in PDF) include instructions for the school GeoBee coordinator, the official contest questions, study resources for students and parents, and media relations material. The PDF also contains instructions for accessing the online state-level GeoBee competition during the testing window February 1-12, 2021. 

On October 1, 2020, or once payment is processed thereafter, school GeoBee coordinators can sign in to the Registration and Resource Center to download the materials.

The school GeoBee coordinator will receive certificates for the top three finishers and a school-level GeoBee champion medal by mail. These items will be mailed to any registered and paid school shortly after registration is complete.

I notice my school is already registered for the GeoBee. How can I find out who my school GeoBee coordinator is?

Please contact your school administration to find out about the current school GeoBee coordinator.

How can my child be registered for the GeoBee?

Individual students may not register. Only public schools, private schools, and home schools can register for the National Geographic GeoBee, and then eligible students at the registered school may participate.

I’m a parent. May I register my son/daughter’s school?

No. Only paid school employees may register a school for the National Geographic GeoBee, and then your child, if eligible, will participate through the school. However, parents can certainly assist the school in organizing the school’s GeoBee event and help students study for the competition. A Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) can also pay the school’s GeoBee registration fee.

How do homeschools register for the National Geographic GeoBee?

When registering for the first time, a homeschool representative can create a school GeoBee coordinator account here. Once the school GeoBee coordinator submits the homeschool information, it will be reviewed by National Geographic GeoBee staff. Once approved, the homeschool GeoBee coordinator will be able to complete the registration and payment process. If a homeschool was registered in 2020, the school name will still be in our system. When you register for 2021, select the school zip code used last year, then proceed to register the homeschool again for this year. If it is the same homeschool as last year, but the school has a new address, register under the school’s previous address and email us at ngbee@ngs.org so we can update the address in our database.

I registered my school for the National Geographic GeoBee last year. Do I keep my same username and password each year?

No, you will not be able to use your previous GeoBee account credentials to log in. For the 2020-2021 GeoBee competition, school GeoBee coordinators will need to create a user account with the National Geographic Society before registering their school for the GeoBee. Some coordinators may already have a National Geographic Society account due to participation in other Society programs. If so, you may use your existing Society account credentials to sign in. 

I missed the registration deadline for the National Geographic GeoBee. Can I still obtain materials to use at my school?

You can still purchase the school GeoBee materials, but your school-level champion cannot advance to the state level after registration has closed. Please email ngbee@ngs.org for more information.

 

ELIGIBILITY

How many eligible students must the school or homeschool association have in order to participate in the National Geographic GeoBee?

In order for the school to participate, there must be a minimum of six eligible students participating in the school GeoBee. No exceptions.

My child is in the third grade, but is very interested in geography. Can my child participate in the National Geographic GeoBee?

No. The GeoBee is open only to students in grades four through eight (4–8) who have not reached their 15th birthday on or before September 1, 2020. However, we encourage your child to compete next year when they’ve reached the fourth grade. Students are eligible to compete in any level of the GeoBee for a period of five years only. In the meantime, your child might enjoy checking out the GeoBee Study Corner and the Learn at Home Resources.

My child is interested in participating in the National Geographic GeoBee but my child’s school is not registered for the GeoBee. Can my child participate with another school in the area?

No. Students can only participate with the school they are enrolled in. Unfortunately, if a child's school doesn't register for the GeoBee, that child may not compete.

 

PARTICIPATION/FORMAT

How can students prepare for participation in the National Geographic GeoBee?

Each year, school GeoBee coordinators receive a study toolkit with their downloadable materials that can be sent home with students or used in the classroom. The Study Corner area of our website also includes geography activities, lessons, and other study tools. Students can:

  • Take the online GeoBee Quiz

  • Download the free GeoBee Challenge App

  • Play a Kahoot!

  • Try our Amazon Alexa skill called National Geographic Geo Quiz for six new questions each day 

Students can also explore our Learn at Home Resources curated collections of engaging activities, videos, maps, infographics, fun facts, and quizzes to implement with K-12 learners at home.

Does my child need a coach to participate in the National Geographic GeoBee?

Students do not need a coach to participate in the National Geographic GeoBee, and the National Geographic Society does not encourage or endorse “coaching for hire.” Many free and low-cost resources are available for students to study, including our online GeoBee Quiz, the free GeoBee Challenge app for iOS and Android devices, GeoBee Kahoots, Amazon Alexa skill, and the book How to Ace the National Geographic Bee, Official Study Guide, 5th Edition. Students can also explore our Learn at Home Resources curated collections of engaging activities, videos, maps, infographics, fun facts, and quizzes to implement with K-12 learners at home.

May I purchase a National Geographic GeoBee packet to use at the school level only?

Yes, your school may register and then only participate in the school-level GeoBee. However, the registration fee remains the same.

Can homeschools participate in the National Geographic GeoBee?

Yes. Please visit Homeschool Rules for details.

Homeschool groups and associations can register for the National Geographic GeoBee under the following conditions:

The school GeoBee coordinator for a homeschool group or association must not have any children participating in any National Geographic GeoBee. The homeschool GeoBee coordinator must be the individual who conducts the school GeoBee, administers the online state-level GeoBee competition, and communicates with National Geographic about the homeschool champion. A minimum of six students (in grades four through eight) must participate in the GeoBee. The homeschool must allow other homeschool students in their area to participate in their GeoBee. The students participating in a homeschool GeoBee must be registered as homeschool students and may only participate in one homeschool GeoBee per calendar year. For the purposes of the National Geographic GeoBee, our staff may assign a name for the homeschool group that reflects the area in which it is located.

What will the format be for the online state-level GeoBee competition?

NEW: The state-level GeoBee competition will transition to an online format in 2020-2021. The online state-level competition will be a test consisting of two parts. The school-level champion will complete the test in one sitting, and schools should allow up to 90 minutes for the competition. Prior to starting the online state-level GeoBee competition, the school-level champion must agree to abide by the GeoBee Student Honor Code. The school champion is to work independently on the test, using no outside help or materials. We reserve the right to disqualify a student if these rules have not been followed. 

How will the online state-level GeoBee competition be administered?

The online state competition will be administered in a secure system by the school to the school-level champion. The test will be proctored by the school GeoBee coordinator or a designated alternate who is a paid school employee. A relative or guardian of the school-level champion may not administer or proctor the test, nor have access to the online test. The online state-level GeoBee competition must be administered in-person in the school building or location designated by the school GeoBee coordinator.

What if the school building is closed during the online state-level GeoBee testing window February 1-12, 2021?

While it is preferred that the online state-level GeoBee competition be administered at the school, if the the school building is closed throughout the testing window of February 1-12, 2021 due to state or local restrictions or social distancing, the school GeoBee coordinator may work with the family of the student to designate an alternate location to administer the test as long as it is done in accordance with local public health guidelines. If local public health guidelines prevent the test from being administered in-person, the school GeoBee coordinator may apply for a waiver to administer the test virtually. More details will be provided to coordinators closer to the February testing window.

How and when will I be notified about the results of the online state-level GeoBee competition?

Registered schools will administer the online state-level GeoBee competition test to their school champion during the testing window February 1-12, 2021. The online test consists of two parts completed in one sitting: a multiple-choice section and a section that includes open answers which require manual scoring. The results will be announced in two phases:

  • By March 5, 2021, National Geographic will announce up to 100 of the top-ranking students in each state at NatGeoBee.org/Results, based on the preliminary results from the multiple choice portion of the test.

  • By April 9, 2021, National Geographic will announce the first-, second-, and third-place students in each state at NatGeoBee.org/Results, based on combined results from scoring of both portions of the online test. The first-, second- and third-place students in each state will receive prizes.

We will email school GeoBee coordinators to check the results once they are posted.

Am I required to use the School GeoBee materials exactly as outlined in the instructions, or may I adapt the materials to work for my school/students?

Schools have flexibility with regards to how they format and conduct their respective school GeoBees as long as fairness is maintained and there is no unfair advantage for any student. National Geographic provides suggested procedures, and the coordinator must take reasonable steps to ensure students are answering questions without using outside help or materials. There are many ways for schools to conduct the school GeoBee! Some ideas include, but are not limited to:

  • Conduct an oral preliminary competition in each classroom, determine each classroom’s winner (or top two if you have fewer than 10 classrooms), and then hold a final competition with up to 10 students.

  • For a smaller group of students, conduct an oral competition for the preliminary and final rounds at the same time. Remember the final round can only have up to 10 students.

  • Conduct a written preliminary competition using the written test provided in the GeoBee materials, and hold an oral final round competition with up to 10 students.

  • You may adjust the number of rounds or specific questions used to make the competition engaging and appropriate for the ages and skill level of your students.

  • If your school is operating via distance learning, try conducting both your preliminary and final competitions on a video call with your students using the oral competition format. This means each student would answer a different question, getting called on virtually when it is their turn.

 

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES 

Why is the GeoBee registration website not loading or not appearing correctly in my browser?

The National Geographic GeoBee registration website supports the most recent version of the following browsers: Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Firefox. If you are experiencing issues, please make sure that you are using the most recent version of the supported browsers.

You might also try using a different computer, possibly outside the school, as it is also possible that your school firewall won't allow you to connect to our website or to the registration page. If that is the problem, you may need to contact your network administrator.

 Is the National Geographic Society the sole vendor of the National Geographic GeoBee?

The National Geographic GeoBee is administered by the National Geographic Society, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is the sole source for the school-level contest materials. The school GeoBee packets are generated by the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. and are only available to schools/homeschool associations that have registered to participate in the National Geographic GeoBee. 

How do I get vendor information on the National Geographic GeoBee?

We do not complete vendor information forms. The federal tax identification number for the National Geographic Society is 53-0193519. You may request a copy of the National Geographic Society W9 by emailing ngbee@ngs.org. 

How do I contact the National Geographic GeoBee?

You may email the National Geographic GeoBee office at ngbee@ngs.org. The fax number is 202-466-1837.