Subject Introduction

Welcome to the 2014 World Scholar's Cup! We know many returning scholars have questions about the exciting new format; below are some FAQs that we hope can point you in the right direction. If you can't find the answer you need, please email us at [email protected].

What happened to the guides?

They were eaten by alpacas. More seriously, as the World Scholar’s Cup has grown, we have found that comprehensive guides limited, rather than enhanced, the exploration of the theme. This year, the outlines for each of the subjects are meant to serve as a starting point for a learning journey that has no single endpoint.

How will this new format impact the different events?

You’ll find the greatest impact to be on the Scholar’s Challenge and the Scholar’s Bowl, which will focus on big ideas and important details rather than on the specific text of any particular guide. The same sorts of discussions that have always helped you prepare for Writing and Debate will now benefit you even more in the Challenge and Bowl. For example, in looking at animal migration, you won't be expected to know how many geese fly south each winter, but you might be asked to consider the broader impacts of human development on animal migration.

How should I prepare?

Scholars should begin to ask themselves, and each other, questions that connect the theme to the outline for each subject. Why was the wheel so important? How are refugees different from nomads? Why are we watching Walt Disney Studio's Paperman? The answers could come from a number of sources. Some of you may start on Wikipedia and go from there. Others may watch a film such as An Inconvenient Truth. Some may begin with a textbook (how do airplanes fly, anyways?) or a BBC Special. While all roads may not lead to Rome, Athens was pretty interesting too.

What else do you recommend we do?

Some scholars may benefit from dividing up the subjects and then share their findings with teammates—as is already happening between schools on the WSC Facebook community! Whether you’re the only scholar in Manitoba or one of a hundred at the Winchester School, you’ll find your most important resources to be your fellow scholars all over the world.

Henry Ford once said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Of course, instead of faster horses he gave us the Model T. This year’s World Scholar’s Cup isn’t a faster horse, or even a faster alpaca. Instead, we like to think it's at least some sort of sweet hover-board or Vespa, and we can't wait for scholars everywhere to take it for a ride—all the way to Dubai, Yale, and beyond.