On Saturday, February 24, 2018, the Connecticut Regional Middle School Science Bowl event welcomed approximately 200 students and coaches—and their family members—to UConn for a day of learning and friendly competition. The Middle School Science Bowl is a fast-paced, question-and-answer-style event that emphasizes the importance of STEM education. This year, 32 teams from 24 different middle schools throughout Connecticut participated in the Science Bowl competition where they answered questions in the fields of Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science, Energy, and Mathematics. It is through the Science Bowl that students are able to engage in a challenging academic competition with peers that share a similar passion for science.
The Connecticut Middle School Science Bowl is hosted by the UConn Chemistry Department and organized by Assistant Professor in Residence Joe DePasquale, Adjunct Professor Niluka Wasalathanthri, and Chemistry staff Jillian Chambers and Ashley Orcutt. This event would not be possible without the assistance of approximately 95 volunteers who donate their time to prepare for and participate in this exciting competition. Among the volunteers are undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, and local high school students. Many of the volunteers are STEM-based majors who share the same affinity and aptitude for science as the young competitors.
In addition to the quiz aspect of the competition, the competitors and their families were invited to take part in various science demonstrations throughout the afternoon. These activities—ranging from "Fun with Liquid Nitrogen" to extracting DNA from a strawberry—exhibited principals of Chemistry and Engineering in a fun and interactive way. Science demo volunteers included Chemistry graduate students, Chemistry undergraduate students, members of the UConn Chem Club, and members of UConn iGEM.
Participants and their families also delighted in the appearance of special guest Jonathan the Husky, UConn's official mascot. Jonathan met with the teams and toured the event's Science Demos. Jonathan had a wonderful day meeting with the student participants, the Science Bowl volunteers, and learning more about science through the various fun activities!
The Department of Chemistry would like to thank the UConn Office of the Provost, the UConn College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the UConn Institute of Materials Science for their support. The Department would also like to thank the UConn School of Engineering Diversity & Outreach Center, Connecticut Science Center, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Subway Restaurant for their contributions to this event as well.
The top teams of the day were:
First Place: Irving A. Robbins Middle School (Farmington, CT)
Second Place: Whisconier Middle School (Brookfield, CT)
Semi-Finalist: Bedford Middle School (Westport, CT)
Semi-Finalist: Mansfield Middle School (Mansfield, CT)
Irving A. Robbins Middle School will represent Connecticut’s middle schools at the National Science Bowl competition in Washington, D.C. April 26 – 30.
The National Science Bowl is a nationwide academic competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. “The National Science Bowl® continues to be one of the premier academic competitions across the country and prepares America’s students for future successes in some of the world’s fastest growing fields in science, technology, and engineering,” said Dr. J. Stephen Binkley, Acting Director of the Department’s Office of Science, which sponsors the nationwide competition, now in its 27th year. “Each year the DOE Office of Science provides this unique opportunity, and I am honored to congratulate all the competitors who are advancing to the national finals, where they will continue to showcase their talents as top students in math and science.” More than 14,000 students compete in the NSB each year.