The best young spellers in the country have put Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s knowledge to the test with some tricky questions – and managed to catch him out a couple of times.
Theekshitha Karthik, 12, Arielle Wong, 10, and 13-year-old Evan Luc-Tran were named the inaugural* champs across three age groups in the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee earlier this year. Part of their prize, which also included iPads and books, was getting to meet the PM at Parliament House. On Monday, the visit finally happened after being rescheduled three times due to Covid.
“I hope they’re not going to get me to spell anything,” Mr Morrison joked before he sat down with the winner for a chat.
But his spelling knowledge was soon put to the test.
Evan, a year 8 student at The McDonald College in Sydney’s inner west, asked him to spell “leukocyte” – a white blood cell.
“I’ll give you the hardest word I had to experience,” he said.
The Prime Minister got two letters in before Evan jumped in to correct him.
Theekshitha asked Mr Morrison to spell “pariah”, which he got right.
Then Arielle asked him to spell “chortle” – a noisy laugh – which he also stumbled* on.
“Just as well I’ve got you guys here to help me,” Mr Morrison said.
The Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee is run by Kids News. Nearly 21,000 students from across 490 schools took part in the competition and the Spelling Bee will return in 2022.
- inaugural: the first time something has happened
- How many times did meeting the Prime Minister have to be rescheduled due to Covid?
- What is a leukocyte?
- What does “chortle” mean?
- How many schools participated in the inaugural Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee?
- How many students took part in the Bee?
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1. Design your own spelling test
Even our Prime Minister found some of the words from the Kids News Spelling Bee difficult to spell correctly, as the winners of the contest found out on Monday when they got to meet him.
Work with a partner and think of 10 of the hardest words you know (you must know their meaning and how to pronounce them and you can’t use a dictionary). Write these down and test some students and perhaps some of your teachers or principal to see if anyone can get a perfect score on your test!
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social
What makes a good speller? How can you improve your spelling skills? How do you study for a spelling test or competition such as the Kids News Spelling Bee?
Make a goal for yourself to improve your spelling skills by trying out some of your own ideas.
Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Critical and Creative Thinking
Write a letter of congratulations to one of the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee champs. Include five questions you would like to ask them about their experience in the competition, or preparing for it. Remember your questions must end with a question mark.
Re-read your work before sharing with a classmate and see if you can up-level any VCOP before you say you are done.