The U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl® is a nationwide competition held annually to promote science and technology in education. High school students compete as teams in an action-packed quiz bowl format to answer questions on science, math, and engineering.
The West Virginia Regional Science Bowl® is one of many regional competitions held for high school teams across the country to select participants for the National Science Bowl held in Washington D.C. West Virginia students have represented the state admirably at the national competition in recent years. In 2012, the West Virginia Regional Science Bowl Winner, Morgantown High School finished in 4th place at the National Science Bowl, ranking as one of the elite high school science teams in the United States. In 2009, Woodrow Wilson High School from Beckley was one of the 16 double elimination finalists at the National Science Bowl, ranking them as one of the top 16 schools in the country.
To promote equal participation across the state, each of the eight West Virginia Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESA) are invited to select at least three teams to participate in the regional event. It is suggested that each RESA hold preliminary Science Bowl-style competitions at the local level to select these three teams. High schools in your RESA are encouraged to host this competition with your support. This approach fosters statewide student participation and is the fairest method of selection for all of the state’s teams interested in participating. By supporting preliminary Science Bowl tournaments throughout the state, the West Virginia educational system demonstrates its commitment to excellence in math and science and sets an example for recognition of the best and brightest students in the state.
The Regional Science Bowl competition lasts all day and happens at the WVU Mountainlair in Morgantown, WV. The morning consists of a round-robin format tournament where all teams compete. The top eight teams will advance to a double-elimination, tournament style competition in the afternoon to determine the winner and runner-up. During the afternoon session, other hands-on activities are planned for the teams that do not advance to the tournament.
Teams consist of four contestants and one alternate. Questions are multiple choice or short answer and come from the following categories: biology, chemistry, earth and space science, energy, mathematics, and physics. The competition consists of a 16-minute round of questioning, split into two halves. During questioning, both teams will have a chance to buzz-in to correctly answer a Toss-Up question, earning them 4 points and the chance at a follow-up Bonus question for 10 more points. Questioning continues until time or the list of questions runs out. There are more rules than those described here, so a more complete set of rules for the 2018 competition may be found online.