Fifth grade spelling bees across Michigan are being replaced by a Hand Cartography Bee that organizers say is an important update to an outdated tradition.
“In this age of spellcheck, what is a more useful skill for the children of Michigan?” said Phillip Manibus, the state’s former spelling bee czar and now hand cartography czar. “Spelling obsolete words or knowing your state? We think the answer is clear.”
Manibus further explained that, as with a spelling bee, the knowledge required would get more difficult as the rounds advance.
“Sure, everyone can find Detroit and Mackinaw City, but how many people, even adults, can find Mount Pleasant or even Lansing? It’s our state capitol and people can’t even point to it on their hand. It’s a disgrace.”
Should the contest go five rounds with no student pointing to the incorrect spot on his or her hand, judges will ask students to locate places in the Upper Peninsula on their left hand.
“That should get things moving pretty fast,” Manibus laughed.