The PSIA Contest Categories at a Glance
Except where otherwise noted, 3 contestants from each grade level from each school may be entered at the district level in each of the contests described below. The top 2 contestants at each grade level in each contest (except Creative Writing and Storytelling) advance to State if a minimum of 4 students compete from 2 or more schools. One advances if 3 compete.
Art Memory (4 & 5): This activity provides a panoramic picture of international cultural arts history through the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as well as Texas art history through museums located across the state. All prints are reproductions of paintings from these galleries. Students are challenged to identify the artist and the work and answer questions about the art and the artists found in the Art Smart Bulletin published every other year by TuneIn.
Calculator Applications (6 through 8): A thinker’s delight, this 30-minute contest develops mathematical reasoning and knowledge and requires application of problem solving skills toward realistic problems. Any calculator that the student has mastered may be used in competition.
Creative Writing (1 & 2): This event is designed to promote creativity and encourage writing skills at an early age. Using a prompt of several pictures, students have 30 minutes to create an original story based on the pictures. One student at each grade level advances to State.
Dictionary Skills (4 through 8): Students use all elements of the dictionary (Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition 2003 printing or newer) in the contest room, as they learn practical techniques for extracting and applying resource information.
Impromptu Speaking (7 & 8): Students in grades 7 and 8 combined are challenged to think quickly and communicate effectively. They organize their thoughts on a topic for three minutes, then speak for five or fewer minutes without notes.
Listening (4 through 8): Good listening skills enhance any academic area, and the study materials are useful for all students. Contestants may take notes as they listen to the contest script on tape, and then use these notes as they answer objective test questions in 10 minutes.
Maps, Graphs & Charts (4 through 8): This event is designed to provide students with experience in obtaining information from visual sources, a valuable life skill. Tests include maps, graphs & charts needed to answer multiple choice questions derived from the 2008 or newer edition of the Nystrom Desk Atlas, which students bring to the contest.
Mathematics (4 through 8): In a comprehensive, multiple choice, 30 minute math test, students are challenged beyond their grade levels in a variety of general math questions, including algebraic equations introduced in grades 6-8.
Modern Oratory (7 & 8): A challenge in writing and speaking, grade 7 and 8 students (combined) prepare a short original speech to examine the pros and cons of an issue (choice of 5) and defend their points of view, incorporating a variety of skills. Contestants take a convincing stand on only one side of the issue.
Music Memory (3 through 7): Students compete as individuals, awarded by grade level, to identify composers and selections from some of the world’s best known classics. Contestants have approximately 30 seconds to write answers as they hear 15-second segments of the music in competition. Students also take a 20-item multiple choice true/false test over concepts found in Arts Education IDEAS current year PSIA Music Memory Student Handbook Multiple teaching resources also accompany the handbook.
Number Sense (4 through 8): Contestants find high-speed solutions to math problems in this exciting and challenging 10-minute contest in mental mathematics.
On-Site Drawing (6 through 8): Using a display still life model consisting of 4to7 objects. Contestants produce a rendering on regular drawing paper using any drawing media. Contestants have 45 minutes at the contest site to produce their work of art to be judged by qualified artists and displayed in an art show during the remainder of the tournament day.
Prose/Poetry Interpretation (4 through 8): Students select, prepare and read a literary prose/poetry selection, with introduction, within a six-minute time limit. Presentations are evaluated on aspects of performance, such as appropriateness of selection, introduction, control of presentation, and overall effectiveness. (The selection of prose or poetry rotates each year)
Ready Writing (3 through 8): This event brings challenge for the gifted writer Students are given a choice between two prompts. Each prompt defines the audience and provides or implies the purpose for writing. Time limits vary by grade level.
Science (6 through 8): Earth, Life and Physical Science information found in current textbooks, plus items from current science publications list, are tested in this 30-minute, multiple choice contest, which usually consists of 50 test questions.
Spelling (2 through 8): As spelling words are pronounced at approximately five words per minute, contestants may either write or print each word. While 20% of the test words come from outside sources, 80% come from PSIA Spelling list. A different list is published annually for 3 grade groups.
Storytelling (1through 3): Contestants hear a story that they retell before an audience. This activity encourages the use of recall and also allows young. students to bring their own expression and insight to the story. Contestants will have approximately 6 minutes to retell the story in their own words. One student will advance to state from each grade level.
Vocabulary (5 through 8): SAT preparation skills, including word usage, reading comprehension, and analogies, are honed through this challenging multiple choice, 30-minute contest.