A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is a revival of the same-named game show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. This iteration gives the hosting honors to John Cena but has a similar premise, posing grade-school-level questions to adult contestants who wins increasing amounts of cash with each correct answer -- and can ask for help from actual fifth graders when they hit a road block. The contests are always friendly, and there's very little finger-pointing or teasing when either contestants or kids answer incorrectly, which keeps the focus on having fun and learning even from mistakes. This series is a fun pick for families, who can play along at home.
What's the story?
Hosted by John Cena, ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER? challenges adult contestants to answer questions from a grade school curriculum with potential winnings of up to $100,000. As they move through questions from first grade up through fifth and ranging in topics from science to literature, players have two opportunities to "cheat" from among five actual fifth graders onstage, either by peeking at or copying a classmate's answer when they get stumped. The final exam round involves rapid-fire questions and one more chance to get some help from a kid participant. The more questions the contestant answers correctly, the higher their cash prize becomes -- and the closer they get to making the claim that they really are smarter than a fifth grader.
Is it any good?
It's not every quiz show that turns the tables for families and gives kids an advantage in a trivia contest, which is what makes this one so much fun. Well, that and the gregarious host, who's not above getting tips on his pageant walk from a grade-schooler and finding other ways to keep the mood light and cut the tension to take the edge off the grown-ups' sometimes lackluster performances. Cena excels in this role, and rather than turning the show into a tease fest when the adults stumble on their recall of basic geography or Earth science, he emphasizes the value of learning something new regardless of the experience that teaches it.
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is conducive to viewers playing along at home and makes for entertaining family viewing with an educational slant. And with contestants from diverse walks of life and careers, it's easy to assume the results before the game even starts, but certainly not every grown-up gets to end the game by claiming to be smarter than a fifth grader.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how we define or label people. Do you make assumptions about the contestants' abilities before the game starts? How do factors like their career paths influence what you perceive to be their chances of winning? Are you ever surprised by their performances on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? If so, does that change your mind about making those kinds of judgments?
In what ways do the adults have an advantage in these knowledge tests? On the other hand, how are the scales tipped in the kids' favor? Do you find the same balance exists when you and your family play from home?
How does competition force us to do our very best? Do you like to pit your abilities against other people's in physical and/or mental contests? How does it feel to win? What lessons can we learn from losing? How do character strengths like perseverance affect your ability to compete well?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love game shows
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch