Governor's Cup (4th/5th Grade)

  • This program emphasizes the use of teamwork; higher-level thinking skills; creative and critical problem-solving skills; procurement of factual knowledge; and independent learning. Elementary academic competition involves, but is not limited to, district scrimmages, quick recall; and the KAAC District and Regional Governor’s Cup Academic Competition. The competitions are coordinated by the Kentucky Association for Academic Competition (KAAC). For schedules, scores, and info, visit them online at:


    One purpose of quick recall (and other academic competitions) is to deliver a message to our students - the message that our society values academic achievement and intellectual ability as much as it values athletic ability and achievement. Students are encouraged to try out for the academic team (typically first of September), just as they would an athletic team. There are several types of competition and all participating students are members of the team. All members of the team are winners when the “team” wins. These students will learn and use the rules set forth and agreed upon by all of the elementary schools involved in the competition.



    Governor’s Cup is an organized academic competition sponsored by the KAAC for elementary, middle, and high school students in the state of Kentucky. There are eight events including six individual written assessments (multiple choice tests or essay writing) and two team activities.

    • Language Arts Test (Multiple Choice Test – Individual)
    • Science Test (Multiple Choice Test – Individual)
    • Social Studies Test (Multiple Choice Test – Individual)
    • Mathematics Test (Multiple Choice Test – Individual)
    • Fine Arts/Humanities Test (Multiple Choice Test – Individual)
    • Written Composition (Essay Writing – Individual)
    • Future Problem Solving Team (Writing/Problem Solving – Team)
    • Quick Recall Team (Jeopardy Style – Team)


    Future Problem Solving in Competition

    The future problem solving component of Governor’s Cup is a team activity that helps children learn to think. It teaches children to examine their own problems and the problems of the world, both critically and creatively. It provides children with strategies for facing everyday problems, individually and collectively. It teaches children how to think about the world in constructive ways; how to analyze situations; and how to focus on and explore potential alternatives to problems.

    As members of a problem solving team, students learn to work together in an ever-changing environment. This activity gives them practice in compromise, in sharing, and in defining and refining ideas. It involves gathering and sharing information; brainstorming ideas; defining a specific problem that, if solved, may lead to the solution of other problems; brainstorming alternatives, defining criteria for evaluating the alternatives, selecting a solution and describing that solution so that others understand.

    The Future Problem Solving process helps students improve their research skills; improve their thinking skills, both creative and critical; and increase their communication skills, both verbal and written. It helps students learn to function more effectively as a member of a team. It also guides students to become more self-directed and responsible, not only as individuals, but as members of a group and as members of society.

    The Governor’s Cup Future Problem Solving competition has a combination of written pieces. Early in the year, students are given a broad topic. They do research on this broad topic. In the competition, students are given a more specific situation, called a scenario, which focuses on the broad topic.

    In the actual competition, students must determine the main problem, write a problem statement with a purpose, brainstorm alternatives, evaluate the alternatives, complete a criteria chart, determine the best solution, write a solution, and create a written presentation with a picture to be graded by a trained official.

    Future Problem Solving involves a team of four and the students have one hour-thirty minutes to complete their preparation and write the problem and solution in a creative way.

    While creativity and humor is encouraged, the purpose of this activity is to emphasize higher-level thinking skills. Students are judged on good content, good problem analysis (defining the problem), convincing solutions to the specific problem they have defined, and effective written presentation of the problem and solution.

    In preparation for problem solving competition, students must research the topic and be prepared to state research relevant to the problem. Research should be current. While the process for problem solving in the classroom may be used with past, present and future material, all competition prompts deal with current or futuristic subjects.


    Quick Recall

    Quick recall is a game similar to TV's "Jeopardy" in that students use buzzers to ring in and answer questions. However, the rules are somewhat different. For instance, in quick recall, students play as a team. It helps students learn “fact knowledge” in a fun and challenging way and promotes learning both in the classroom and in independent study. It requires thinking on your feet, a skill necessary in a fast-paced world.

    Quick recall helps students solve math problems quickly and efficiently. It helps them learn and define terms, label and match facts, and organize information sequentially and quickly when they have to make critical decisions. It promotes awareness of scientific data and gives students a better understanding of self and the physical world. Quick recall fosters knowledge of history, economics, geography and current events. It also helps students develop a greater appreciation for literature, fine arts, and their cultural and historical heritage.

    In addition to helping students learn facts, quick recall helps students develop the ability to articulate knowledge; work in groups; improve listening skills; and develop poise and self-confidence.

    Students are challenged to explore new material and investigate learning beyond the classroom, both as individuals, and as members of an academic team. Quick recall is a timed, team game with four students competing against another team of four students by responding to short-answer questions in social studies, mathematics, language arts, science, and fine arts/humanities. It promotes the learning of facts and is one of the team events of the academic competition program.

    To view quick recall rules, go to the KAAC website. You can choose to volunteer to help at quick recall practices as well. There are training sessions to learn the quick recall rules given early in the school year that you may attend if you would like to assist the coach. Those dates and times are also listed on the KAAC website.


    Written Assessments

    Another portion of Governor’s Cup is the written assessment testing in math, science, social studies, language arts, and fine arts/humanities. These are challenging multiple-choice tests that students prepare for throughout the quick recall season. It is an honor for your child to be selected as one of the three students to represent his/her school in a given subject area. These tests are scored, and the results are used to assign points to teams competing at Governor's Cup competition. Study materials are available in each discipline. Students from each school also participate in composition writing.