Volunteers needed to help with High- and Middle-School Science Bowls

Volunteers needed to help with High- and Middle-School Science Bowls being held at Jefferson Lab on Feb. 4 & March 4; Training & practice sessions planned

The 2017 National Science Bowl season is right around the corner, and Jefferson Lab's Science Education team is seeking volunteers to help with the two events. The Virginia Regional High School Science Bowl is set for Saturday, Feb. 4, and the Virginia Regional Middle School Science Bowl will follow on Saturday, March 4.

The National Science Bowl® competition, sponsored annually by the U.S. Department of Energy since 1991, is a highly visible series of academic competitions among teams of students.

"These events open doors of knowledge and opportunity for middle school and high school students," notes Christine Wheeler, Science Education administrator. "These events are a great way to promote academic excellence by encouraging students to study additional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) resources outside of the classroom. In addition, our wonderful JLab volunteers help raise students’ awareness regarding a variety of STEM career opportunities."

Volunteer support is essential to the success of both events, according to Wheeler. "We couldn't host these tournaments without our volunteers."

More than 50 volunteers will be needed to run each event. Most of the volunteers perform as competition moderators, rules and scientific judges, timekeepers and scorekeepers during the morning, round-robin sessions. A smaller number of volunteers are needed to run the afternoon double-elimination matches, be the on-site scientific judge who is called when a student challenges a question or answer during the competition and a few individuals to help with administrative tasks and the Stay All Day Contest held in the afternoon in the Support Service Center (Building 28) classrooms.

"We reach out to volunteers who have helped in the past, but are always looking for new volunteers,” Wheeler says. “If you have volunteered in the past or if you've never been to a Science Bowl, but want to be part of the excitement, please let me know!

"These events are great fun. We provide volunteers with optional training and practice sessions, a Science Bowl T-shirt, and lunch if you work morning and afternoon. We need you and your co-workers. Your spouse and children (over age 13) may also assist with the many activities required to conduct these tournaments," Wheeler says.

Most of the public areas and conference rooms of CEBAF Center will be taken over on each of the competition days. Sixteen teams are registered to compete in the High School Science Bowl; and 15 teams are already registered to take part in the middle school event.

The top three teams from each event will earn cash prizes for their respective schools. The top high school and middle school teams will also win expenses-paid trips to the DOE National Science Bowl Finals planned for April 27 – May 1 in Washington, D.C.

The Science Bowl is an academic competition among teams of students who compete in a verbal forum to solve technical problems and answer questions in all branches of science and math. Each team is made up of four or five students, and one or two teachers who serve as advisor and coach.

The regional and national events encourage student involvement and interest in math and science activities, improve awareness of careers in science and technology, and provide an avenue of enrichment and reward for academic science achievement, Wheeler notes.

Teams that don't advance to the afternoon rounds are invited to stay and compete in a series of design and engineering challenges dubbed the Stay All Day Contest. Teams are presented with activities or challenges where they have to analyze problems, develop working prototypes with specific materials and make projections based on a model's performance. The team with the best combined results for the activities wins the contest.

Helping with the Science Bowls is strictly a volunteer activity, Wheeler points out to aspiring helpers. Anyone interested in more information or in volunteering, may contact her at: wheelerc@jlab.org.  Morning shifts run from 8:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m., the entire day lasts from 8:15 a.m.-3 p.m.

Volunteers are asked to use this link below to sign up for one or both events: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfDWSgkMkzygYsPncFrLRZ4OzdENBbNkr4nKgYAUb_diuwaXw/viewform 

Check out the information and video clips on the following links for more information about the science bowl competition, how a match runs, and the duties of volunteers:

- https://science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/about/coordinators/coordinator-resou...

- View the 2016 DOE National Science Bowl High School Championship to see what a match looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzRDo14N4-o  

(The competition begins around the 25:00 minute mark. The regional event isn’t as elaborate as the national event.)

The afternoon semi-final and final rounds held in the CEBAF Center auditorium will be open to the public.

Science Bowl Training/Refresher and Practice Sessions
Training/Refresher Session
Thursday, Jan. 26: Bldg. 28, Support Service Center: Room 72 at 10 a.m.

Practice session for the high school science bowl:
Feb. 3 (Friday): CEBAF Center, Room F113 at 9 a.m.

Practice session for the middle school science bowl:
March 3 (Friday): CEBAF Center, Room F113 at 9 a.m.