NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Despite snow, sleet and freezing rain all 14 schools registered to participate in the Virginia Regional Middle School Science Bowl made it to the event at Jefferson Lab on March 7.
At the end of the day Longfellow Middle School, Falls Church, prevailed and will represent Virginia at the National Science Bowl finals to be held in Washington, D.C., April 30-May 4.
The day kicked off with Jefferson Lab Director Hugh Montgomery welcoming the students, their coaches and many of the students’ family members in the CEBAF Center auditorium. “Math and science is both important and fun,” he commented. And that it helps us “understand how our world works makes it even more amazing.” He was delighted to see so many excited young faces, and he acknowledged the importance of the many parents in the audience as well as teachers and coaches for encouraging their students and providing that beginning spark of interest for science and math.
The teams spent the morning in a series of fast-paced round robin matches before all 14 teams progressed to the double-elimination finals. In Round 4, Longfellow fell to Nysmith School for the Gifted, Herndon. However, Longfellow went on to win its matches in the (single-loss) Challengers’ Bracket and at the end of the day faced off against Rachel Carson Middle School, Herndon, who made it undefeated through Round 6 in the No-Loss Bracket. While RCMS was leading at the half, Longfellow pulled ahead in the second half and won 92-68, and forcing the two teams into one final match for the day.
Questions covered topics ranging from mathematics and general science to physical science, Earth and space, life science and energy. Longfellow won its second match with RCMS, 104-92
The Longfellow team, coached by Jim Bradford, took home a $750 check for its school, a team trophy, individual medals and the regional banner that the team will carry to nationals, in addition to earning a place in the Washington, D.C., National Finals.
As runner-up, the RCMS team, coached by Rajani Kopparapu took home a $500 check for its school and a team trophy.
Finishing in third and fourth places respectively were Nysmith, coached by Venkata Allamsetty and Kilmer Middle School, Vienna, coached by Jeffrey Liu. Third place won a $300 check for its school and a team trophy and fourth place received a team trophy.
Several teams, eliminated from competition earlier in the day, stayed for the afternoon and participated in an event dubbed the Stay All Day Contest. Teams took part in three activities, each one presenting a different type of design or engineering challenge. Different challenges are presented each year. Individual prizes were presented to the individuals of the overall Stay All Day winning team, as well as to the team members earning the highest scores in each activity.
St. John the Apostle Catholic School, Virginia Beach, coached by Adam Ratte’, won the event with the highest combined score. The team earned a $300 check for its school.
At the awards presentations, Jan Tyler, Jefferson Lab's Science Education manager and Science Bowl coordinator, congratulated the teams – the students and their coaches. She acknowledged and applauded their hard work and tenacity in preparing for the competition. She also thanked lab management for its support in hosting the event and to the dozens of volunteers – lab staff, their family members, and friends of the Science Bowl program – who helped conduct the matches and run the event.
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. The National Science Bowl program is the nation's largest science competition. DOE's Office of Science manages the program and sponsors the NSB finals.