Resources for Instructors
Catholic Knowledge is a quiz program designed to introduce students to new and interesting aspects of Christian culture while also reinforcing their existing knowledge. It is especially useful to those who have already been exposed to basic catechism and scriptures, but desire to expand their knowledge of Catholic history, culture, and tradition.
Catholic Knowledge is self-teaching and motivated players can direct their own studies or just play for entertainment. But the fact is, most students learn best with some instruction, guidance, or external motivation. For that reason we added several features that may be useful for catechists, parents, or youth leaders who might want to use the program for directed study. Some of the ways in which Catholic Knowledge may be helpful to parents and instructors are listed here with links to more information below.
- The Questions Bank of nearly 4000 questions is divided into five categories and subdivided into forty subtopics, so students can focus on one subject at a time.
- Study Aids are provided for each unit that include reference pages, glossaries, unit summaries, and recommended texts and videos.
- Worksheets intended to be completed while earning knowledge medals are available that can be printed and assigned as homework.
- Leaderboards are available for students to post their high scores. Students can compete on the basis of 'Catholic Quest' points or number of 'Knowledge medals' earned.
- The Progress Report feature allows students to email their program status, including medals won in all categories to their instructor.
- The Catholic Knowledge programs covering history and culture can provide background for many interesting Research Topics and student reports.
Engaging Student Interest
The Catholic Knowledge app was designed to add an engaging, competitive element to learning about Christian Civilization. Textbooks are an important form of instruction but an abstract subject like religion benefits from a more interactive approach. Catholic Knowledge uses competitive games to reinforce knowledge and allows students to adjust content and difficulty just enough to keep themselves challenged.
The key to holding student interest lies in the carefully managed multiple choice, quiz-game format of the program. We recommend that players review study materials before attempting to answer questions, but the questions themselves were written to help students learn as they play. The program was designed to be self-teaching.
Catholic Knowledge Questions are presented in groups of twelve and students must answer nine or more correctly in order to earn medals. At first students may have difficulty but questions are randomly selected from a limited question bank so after a few sessions players will begin to see familiar questions. With enough persistence, almost any student can master the material. And "strategic bribery" — that is, offering rewards for medals earned — is a proven motivator.
Conventional and Customized Religion Courses
The Catholic Knowledge quiz game can be used as a supplement to a conventional religion course or with a custom-designed program.
Conventional Religion Courses
Using Catholic Knowledge with a Conventional religion course might be as simple as offering credits for knowledge medals earned or using the App to generate questions for in-class quiz games. Conventional religion courses that correspond to Catholic Knowledge categories are as follows:
- The Truths of the Faith question bank is based on Fr. Laux's High School Religion Series, a text that is very popular with homeschoolers and curriculum providers. Mother of Divine Grace, Kolbe, and Seton all use the Fr. Laux series and offer religion courses based on them, including semester courses on the Sacraments, Morality, and Apologetics.
- The Holy Scriptures program can be used to supplement any Bible Study or high school Scripture course. However, it is a relatively "easy" course accessible to younger students.
- The Saints and Heroes program uses both Fr. Laux's Church History and Seton Witness to the Faith as sources but it can be used to supplement almost any high school Church History course.
- The Catholic Culture program is based largely on Dr. Thomas Wood's Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization book and video series. This is an excellent 'teen' curriculum for homeschool co-ops or parish based religion programs. The units on Art, Architecture, and Music can also be used as part of an Art appreciation course.
Unconventional programs that make use of Catholic Knowledge resources can be designed by homeschoolers or instructors who have the flexibility to customize study plans. Any degree of rigor is possible, ranging from a semester-length course to ad hoc use of the quiz program in a Catholic youth group meeting.
The Catholic Knowledge Quiz program was originally developed as a complete curriculum for a 'Catholic Civilization' course, taught weekly over four semesters (see syllabus here). The course covered several subtopics from each category every term so students were exposed to a mix of Catholic history, culture, doctrine, scripture, and tradition on a rotating basis. This is an unusual approach to religious instruction but the variety appealed to students and provided an engaging mix of review and exposure to new material.
On a less formal basis, the Catholic Knowledge Quiz game has also been used on an 'ad hoc' basis as an activity for a Catholic youth group. Hooking up a phone or tablet to a large screen allows an entire room of young people to play together. All of the videos listed as resources on the Study Aids pages are freely available on Youtube, and most are appropriate for a classroom or group study session.
Division of Questions
There are two ways to engage with Catholic Knowledge. Players who are already familiar with an entire category can play in Catholic Quest mode. In this mode players are presented with questions from the entire program category ranked by difficulty, and must answer at least 11 of 12 correctly to "level up". There are five levels of difficulty ranging from 'Postulant' to 'Abbot/Abbess'.
The Knowledge Medals mode is more suitable for directed study or for unfamiliar subjects because students can focus on one topic at a time. In Knowledge Medal mode players access 80 to 100 questions per unit, with two difficulty levels. When students are getting started in a new subtopic they are presented with only about 50 introductory questions which are repeated frequently. Once they have won six medals they have access to all questions including those designated as more difficult. This division helps novices gain mastery over introductory material while allowing advanced students to proceed quickly to greater challenges.
In Knowledge Medal mode, students can win bronze, silver, gold, and diamond medals. Diamond medals indicate a perfect score and are difficult to earn so they are worth significantly more than bronze or silver when calculating medal ranking on the Leaderboard. Students are limited to twelve medals per subtopic but they can upgrade lower-rated bronze and silver medals to gold or diamond, to improve their medal ranking.
Study Aids and Homework Questions
Each Catholic Knowledge subtopic has a Study Aids page associated with it. (see examples for Islam and Crusaders and Science). The Study Aids always include Information Pages and Homework Questions, and they may also contain Recommended Books and Videos.
The Information pages were created to provide students with summaries of the most important points and definitions covered in each unit. Some of the information pages were created from public domain sources, such as old catechisms, Children's Bibles, and Church histories. In other cases fact sheets were created by summarizing and condensing information provided by reliable copyrighted sources.
The Homework Worksheets are composed of about 24 questions taken directly from the Catholic Knowledge question bank. Students can answer homework questions using the quiz program while they earn medals, or they can research answers in other ways. In either case the exercise of writing down specific answers helps students remember information. The homework is also an important method of accountability for homeschoolers and classroom teachers.
Sone Study Aids pages link to recommended books or videos. These supplemental materials are suggested for gaining a more in depth of understanding, but for answering most of the Quiz Game questions, the information page summaries are usually sufficient.
Leaderboards and Progress Reports
Catholic Knowledge players can earn points in each of five program categories by playing Catholic Quest. They can also earn up to twelve knowledge medals in each of 40 subcategories. Once students have earned positive scores or knowledge medals in any category, they can post them in two ways. By 'enrolling' on a public Leaderboards, players can display their scores and compete with other students from their own study group or against all Catholic Knowledge players.
Players must have a unique identifier in order to post their scores or medals on the leaderboard, but they can withdraw, re-enroll, or change their identity at any time. Players can also define a unique group name in co-ordination with a class, school, parish, or set of friends. Defining a group name allows members of a predetermined selection of users to display their relative scores on a private board.
Another important manner of sharing scores is the Report Progress feature. This feature allows students to email their Catholic Knowledge scores, including medals earned across all categories, to an instructor or group leader. Leaderboards are generally anonymous and only post aggregate medals scores. Progress Report allows instructors to see exactly how many medals and which type have been earned by a particular student in every subcategory.
The Report Progress feature, along with homework assignments are the most important accountability tools provided by Catholic Knowledge for the benefit of instructors and their students.