Closed Circuit

​By Philip Reed

WAPA is a proud supporter of the National Science Bowl and hosts a number of regional events each year. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused those events to be reimagined with a newer, virtual format.

The virtual format debuted in the 2021 Science Bowl season and it continued through 2022. Holding events virtually allows for teams to meet and compete more safely in academic competition, and with a few tweaks to the traditional format, the Science Bowl events have proven to work well in a virtual environment.

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.

In their virtual incarnations, the format of these events sees the questions – as challenging as ever – being presented with an appropriately slower pace. This lessens the reliance on reflex, but it also increases the chance to think about the questions and respond with more consideration.

As a more unfortunate result of the pandemic, many of the events saw a reduction in participation by local schools. This is consistent with the 2021 Science Bowls, and participation will hopefully increase again when the inherent risk of gatherings is reduced in the future. As in 2021, due to reduced participation, WAPA did not host a Colorado Regional Middle School Science Bowl in 2022.

Victorious teams from this year’s five WAPA-hosted regional Science Bowl events advanced to the National Semi-Finals Virtual Tournaments on May 7 for middle schools and May 21 for high schools. The top eight teams will compete at the July 8-22 National Championship in Washington, D.C.

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. More than 325,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its 30-plus-year history, and it remains one of the nation’s largest science competitions.

Closed Circuit extends its congratulations to the winning teams and its appreciation to all of the participants and volunteers who helped this academic tradition to continue through unprecedented times. Best of luck at the finals! 

​Note: The author is a public affairs specialist.

Image of Science Bowl entrants on a computer monitor

Last modified on March 5th, 2024