Microsoft Launches Encarta Bee Challenge for the 21st-Century Student

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 3, 2000 — Get ready, get set … enter! Microsoft Corp. today kicked off the Encarta® Bee Challenge, a research skills tournament for students from age 13 to 18 that will award the winner a $50,000 scholarship and a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

The Encarta Bee Challenge was created to reward students for their ability to efficiently research, analyze and understand questions on history, geography, science and other topics. For a question such as
“What sort of an animal is an ibex, known for its huge, back-curving horns?”
the student’s goal is to research the answer swiftly and give the correct answer, in this case,
“a goat.”

“Students today are barraged with data at home and at school,”
said Merle Marsh, a teacher and administrator at Worchester Preparatory School in Berlin, Md.
“The Encarta Bee Challenge will reward students for locating, analyzing and using pertinent information — a skill that will be valuable throughout their lives.”

The Encarta Bee Challenge begins with students simply clicking on the Encarta Bee Challenge headline at and ends with a championship event in New York Dec. 2 hosted by teen celebrity and film star Frankie Muniz (
“Malcolm in the Middle,” “My Dog Skip”
). At the championship event, one grand-prize winner will be awarded the $50,000 (U.S.) college scholarship and a trip for two to his or her choice of one of five spectacular spots: Machu Picchu in Peru; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; the Great Wall in China; Stonehenge in England; or Rome, Italy. Each of these destinations is covered in detail on and featured as an engaging 360-degree tour, allowing Bee participants to research their trip options before deciding where to go.

The grand-prize winner is not the only one to benefit from the Encarta Bee Challenge. Besides the trip to New York, the four runners-up will receive a Microsoft® Digital Dream Package consisting of a Pocket PC, computer peripherals, educational and gaming software, and an online account valued at $1,000 from Teachers also will be rewarded for their role in the students’ achievements. The teacher of the grand-prize winner’s choice will receive a Microsoft prize package including a laptop PC, Pocket PC and educational software. The teachers chosen by the runners-up will win a prize package consisting of a Pocket PC and educational software.

How It Works

The Encarta Bee Challenge is open to legal residents of the United States who are 13 to 18 years old as of Oct. 3, 2000. It is an online single-elimination trivia question skill tournament. No purchase is necessary. Players will be given multiple-choice questions in various categories to be answered using information on or from any other resource in an allotted time. To advance to the next round, players must correctly answer five questions within the time limit in each round. When they have successfully completed eight rounds, players are entitled to participate in the playoff. Complete contest rules can be found at .

Playoffs and Finals Round

The final playoff round will be held online during the week of Nov. 13, 2000. Participants will be given 25 questions with three minutes to correctly answer as many as possible. The five students with the highest scores will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip, accompanied by a legal guardian, to New York City to compete in a live, face-to-face championship round hosted by Frankie Muniz.

Microsoft’s Learning Business Unit designs a line of award-winning interactive learning products that allow students to enhance learning through technology. Encarta Language Learning is the most recent addition to the Encarta line, which also includes the Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe, Encarta Interactive World Atlas, Encarta World English Dictionary and Encarta Africana (available individually and together in the Encarta Reference Suite).

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and Encarta are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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