Sounds easy enough, right? I can safely say that yes, I am smarter than a 5th grader. Most of the questions are laughably simple, but there are undoubtedly the 'wtf' questions.
For example, tonights episode had a question: "What stage is a butterfly in right before it becomes a butterfly (it was worded better, I promise):
Immediately, my mind said "PUPA!". I of course knew the answer was right, but that worried me a bit. I got to thinking... "wait, why did I know that so quickly?".
The answer, of course, is that extensive time in US elementary school is spent on learning things like this. I then started thinking "When the hell has this knowledge ever been useful to me?". Answer: never.
Next question: "When the hell will this knowledge ever be useful to me?"
Probable answer: never.
Next question: "What kind of careers are there where this kind of knowledge is needed?"
Answer: I guess entomology. I can't really think of any more than that.
How many entomologists are there in this world? Perhaps less than 100,000, would be my guess. I obviously can't say for sure, but there's got to be less than a million or so.
Regardless, this is some pretty specialized information that is really only useful to a limited subset of the population as a whole, so it's really confusing as to why it's even remotely important for an elementary school to teach.
That got me thinking though, why aren't the more important details of life taught in school. I'd love to see school exam questions like this:
Bob got married at 21 and has 3 kids. He has $30k in school loans, and he just bought a brand new Escalade at 7% interest for 5 years. He has an adjustable-rate 50-year mortgage on a $300k house, and last month he spent $10k on a new 50" plasma tv, Blu-ray player, PS3, and surround sound system. He put it all on a 21% APR credit card, which he pays off the minimum of each month. How fucked is Bob?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A) Astronaut (0.00000657142857% chance)
B) Pro Football Player (0.00002857142857% chance)
C) Rock Star (0.00007142857143% chance)
D) Corporate Desk Jockey (40% chance)
E) Wal*Mart Clerk (59% chance)