By Philip Reed
For years, WAPA has hosted a number of regional Science Bowl events throughout its footprint. This year was no different in that regard, but was indeed different in many others.
Most obviously, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented students from being able to safely gather for the competition. This resulted in a unique format.
Previous years saw teams competing head to head in direct competition, testing both their speed on the buzzer and their knowledge of biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy and math. This year’s format featured questions that were as challenging as ever, but they were presented and answered virtually, with an appropriately slower pace.
Also due to the pandemic, a number of schools saw reduced participation, with several regional Science Bowl events being cancelled. Interested students in those areas were instead invited to participate in one-off virtual events for a chance to advance to the National Science Bowl.
For this reason, WAPA did not host a Colorado Regional Middle School Science Bowl in 2021.
Victorious teams from the five remaining WAPA-hosted regional Science Bowl events moved on to the virtual preliminary rounds for national finalists in April. The top 32 middle school teams and top 32 high school teams from that event will compete this month, virtually, in the National Science Bowl.
The winners of the WAPA-hosted events are:
• North Dakota Regional High School Science Bowl: Century High School
• South Dakota Regional High School Science Bowl: Brookings High School
• Sacramento Regional High School Science Bowl: Mira Loma High School
• Big Sky Regional Middle School Science Bowl: Belgrade Middle School
• Big Sky Regional High School Science Bowl: Capital High School
The Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields.
Each year, more than 9,000 high school students and 5,000 middle school students compete in around 65 high school and 50 middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments. Around 315,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its 30-year history, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions.
We congratulate the winning teams and appreciate all of the participants and volunteers who allowed this academic tradition to continue through unprecedented times. Reed is a public affairs specialist.
Brookings High School, winner of the South Dakota Regional High School Science
Bowl, was just one of many teams to participate in this year’s virtual events.