Before most students arrive on campus at SMS on Late Start Wednesdays, the Science Bowl Club is busy transforming Mrs. Weller’s science room into a miniature Science Bowl arena, where they practice answering rapid-fire science questions from parent volunteers for an hour straight, all before their regular school day starts.
Buzzers in hand, they answer questions ranging from life science and physical science to earth and space science, energy, and mathematics. The primary goal of the club is to compete in the Regional and National Science Bowl, a highly competitive science education and academic event among teams of high school and middle school students who compete in a fast-paced verbal forum to solve technical problems and answer questions in all branches of science and math.
The extra practice paid off because SMS finished second place in the regional competition on February 25 when they competed against 24 other teams, battling other middle school students from Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties. This was the first time they have gone so far in the competition since the club was formed three years ago. More than 4,500 middle school students competed in 50 middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments this year.
Each team is composed of four students, one alternate student, and a coach. SMS had two teams and went up against local teams including Harker Academy, Cupertino Middle, and Joaquin Miller Middle. SMS’s Team 1 was successful in beating each team until the final round before losing to Joaquin Miller Middle School.
“Several times we were down in score the first half and came back to win the match,” said SMS science teacher and club advisor Rose Weller. “One score was exceptionally close ending in a 134-132 victory for SMS!”
“It was a real nail-biter,” said parent Lakshmi Arunkumar. “But they persevered. We are very proud.”
Regional science bowl championship teams receive an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the national event. High school and middle school teams travel to Washington, D.C. in April. SMS hopes to accomplish this next year.
“A lot of hard work was put in by the students and their dedicated Parent Coaches: Carol Gao, Meemee Ferolito, and Yogita Parekular have been holding extra practice sessions on our late start Wednesdays, after school, and over our winter break,” Weller said. “They are outstanding examples of our SMS Parent Power!”
The club also meets Mondays at lunch and received help from the club’s original founder and current Homestead High student Gilbert Feng, who helped provide the students with strategies and inspired them with real his competition experience.
“This year was a record-breaking year in many respects,” said eighth grader Shishir Iyer. “For one thing, we won second place for the first time. Not only that, but a lot of the matches were very close races, especially in the later rounds. We were in the lower bracket and we made it all the way from the lower bracket to second place.”